I had just been rejected by two MBA programs I was told I was shoe-in for. I was 25 years old, jobless, single and living in my childhood bedroom at my parent’s house.
It was a heady time to be me, ladies and gentlemen. Ladies were beating down the door for dates, trust me.
I remember sitting at the kitchen table chatting with my Mom about what I was going to do next. “I think I’m going to start a consulting business.” I hadn’t really thought about it, but the words rolled out of my mouth. I had always wanted to start my own business, but hadn’t really taken it seriously. As a side project I had been coaching a few friends with small businesses and was enjoying it.
So I began. In my childhood bedroom. I called friends, went through my Linkedin contacts from A-Z asking who needed help.
Slowly jobs trickled in. I wrote marketing plans, business plans, did research for new products and coached entrepreneur’s on their vision. Wanting to be very transparent I logged all my hours and presented invoices with those exact breakdowns. A friend quietly told me I didn’t have to do that.
The first three months I made $2k, by the fourth I was making that per month. Slowly upping my hourly rate.
Conference fees, setting up accounting, and website design ate into my very meagre savings and cashflow. Seeing the speed in which I was growing I thought “Well, I’ll make it up next month so it’s okay to put that flight on my credit card.” Then the inevitable happened, a client delayed the start of a project. I owed more tax than I thought. Rent was due. It took me two years to pay off the five months where I sustained myself that way.
What I should have done? Gotten a “joe job” anything really - marketing manager at a small company, delivery guy - it doesn’t really matter. Just something to give me a couple of grand a month that didn’t take a lot of brain power so I could do consulting at night and in the morning. It would have saved me a lot sleepless nights.
My advice? Don’t quit your day job until you sustain the same level of income from consulting clients for 2-3 months.
Have any horror stories about starting your business on the wrong foot? Share them below!