I have definitely entered unchartered territory (for me, at least). While I had a few pending opportunities when I left my full-time job, now the real work was to begin. My plan (which has been working pretty well so far, in fact) was to put myself out there, say “YES!” to everything and see what stuck. My main goal was to replace my income entirely and find things to do that made me happy, inspired and challenged.
Key learning #1: When it comes to your own work style, take criticism and advice with a grain of salt. Only you truly know what you are capable of achieving.
While getting started, I really threw myself into everything. I signed up to be a dog walker, a babysitter, a TaskRabbit, a personal assistant, a language coach, a proposal writer, a marketing consultant, a researcher, an AirBnB co-host/manager and to participate in focus groups. While some people encourage me to slow down, I found the opposite plan to work best for me. I figured that basically I could try everything at least once and learn along the way.
I want to address that ^ comment specifically. I had more than one person tell me that I was trying to do too much. If I slowed down a little bit and focused on one or two things, I’d likely be more successful. Personally, I preferred a different path. I have a lot of energy, and pride myself on being really well organized and on top of my schedule.
Why can’t I do five or six jobs in one day? The answer is: I can. And, I actually find it very fun and motivating to jump from one task to the next. I also see how lucrative it can be to work from home and take on lots of task that others can’t because of their full-time engagements. For example, I can now simply do a few conference calls, walk a neighbor’s dog, welcome an AirBnB guest for a nearby client and send a proposal in one afternoon.
If I took on lots of different projects and created many sources of income, there was no way I could fail. And on top of that, I was creating tons of different networking opportunities and expanding my pool of job possibilities exponentially. And in the end, if it becomes too much, I have the option to simply drop one of the jobs. As long as you fulfill the commitments you’ve made to your clients/bosses/colleagues on time, then you are in charge of your schedule and your workload.