Safe Bet or Test Your Wings?

Written by contributing blogger, Kellie Knapp.

Growing up “job security” was hammered into my head. You graduate high school, you go to college, you figure out which direction you want to go in life, you graduate college, then you accept a job and stick with it. You stay loyal, you work hard, and you climb your way up and focus on job security. Coming from my parents and grandparents, I never questioned it. That is what you do. Even my mother, a self-employed cosmetologist, suggested finding a job that was a “safe bet”.

Guess what year I graduated from college? 2009 – Right smack dab in the middle of the financial crisis. My only option was to go to graduate school and hope the economy would be less bleak in two years. It was still relatively volatile in 2011, but much better than in 2009. If there was one thing that was certain during this new economic environment it was there was not job security anymore.

I yearned for something more than just job security coming out of college. I yearned for excitement and challenges. I yearned to own my own company and be an entrepreneur. The exact opposite of job security. Even to this day, as I’ve chosen the safe bet over and over and over, I still hunger for the feeling of being my own boss and running a company that I can call mine.

While I still work in the “safe bet” job, I am following my heart on the side and testing my wings. I am starting a side business in my free time, ensuring that I have somewhat of safety net in case my wings can’t hold me. I’ve found a compromise that ensures my student loans and rent get paid every month while feeding the hunger of flying on my own. Of course I’d like to see my business take off, and who knows, I could end up creating my own job security one day.

Many question where I find this “time” to start a business on the side. Time is always the limiting factor (besides money), but where there is a will there is a way!

Here are a few ways, I’ve learned to balance my day job and starting my own business:

1) At the beginning of the week I plan out tasks that I can do during my lunch break and write them down in my planner. For example, if I need to order samples or schedule a call with a supplier, I make sure that I schedule that time during my lunch break.
2) While I drink my coffee and eat my breakfast I answer and send emails. If I need to follow up, I do so when I get home after work and before I leave for the gym.
3) If I know I have additional work that needs to be done, I schedule an hour before bed to tie up any loose strings.
4) Weekends are the best time to plan out a couple hours to work on your side business. Just make sure that you are giving yourself a little social time as well. Whether it is drinks with friends or dinner with your family, you have to give yourself a little play time, so you don’t burn out!

The question may still be lingering: Which direction should you go in? The direction everyone is insisting on or the direction that your heart tells you? I’d love you tell you to follow your heart and never look back, but I feel as if I would be leading you astray. I believe there is much to gain working for someone else and living the daily struggle of the 9-5. There is also much to learn from living the hustle and following your dreams. But the bills still have to get paid. Take the safe bet and test your wings on the side. You can do anything you set your mind and your time to. You may be surprised by the outcome.


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