Did you hear about Mike the Headless Chicken? In 1945, a Colorado farmer named Olson was chopping the heads off chickens for the market. Though it appeared to be as lifeless as the rest, one bird leapt up and ran away when the farmer’s wife went to pick it up to clean. Now, that’s not unusual for a recently decapitated chicken, but this renegade bird kept on running … for another 18 months.
Word of the headless-though-very-much-alive fowl spread through the farmer’s town. A newspaper reporter arrived to do a story. The chicken was now known as Mike. Within two weeks, Mike found himself starring in a traveling side show. Before he finally expired, Mike’s appearances earned the farmer enough money to modernize his farm and buy a new Chevy pick-up.
Does This Sound Like You?
For someone who is starting an online business for the first time, this story may hit a bit close to home: you’re a bit like a chicken with its head cut off. (Look! There goes Mike!)
There is a lot to learn, a lot to know, and a lot to do. You may feel as if you are running around blind, not knowing what you need to read and what you can ignore, which tasks to do and which ones can wait.
Here are a few things you should start doing differently:
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
The dream of having your own business and creating your own destiny can be very compelling.
So can the hunger pains that come when you can’t afford groceries for the coming month. And so can the fear you may feel of running into your landlord when your rent is three months past due.
There are many entrepreneurial types who may say, “Jump now and sort out your parachute on the way down” or “Don’t have anything to fall back on, it’s fine.” If you’re well-funded or have a few years’ worth of living expenses in the bank, you can ignore this advice. But unfortunately, most people don’t. And can’t.
One entrepreneur’s income dropped to about one-third of what it had been. He had to move into his brother’s spare room because he couldn’t afford to pay the rent. For the next ten months, he spent his entire waking existence trying to find new clients and trying to figure out how to make more money.
What this entrepreneur should’ve done was laid a better foundation. If you’re still employed, there are plenty of things you could do in your spare time to prepare for your own business. These can include:
- Properly designing a website
- Creating killer copy for the site
- Working out your offer or call to action
- Building a customer list
- Learning about landing pages
- Learning about lead capture pages
- Learning how to use an autoresponder
- Learning about paid advertising
Each of these ‘to-dos’ is a time-consuming project in itself, requiring ample time to completely understand the concepts and also going through trial and error to really know what you’re doing. Trying to do all this while also trying to generate income? That’s an insanity-producing proposition.
Grab Hold of Something Stable
No matter how badly one wants to leave their job, they’ve got to be aware of the possibility that they might be a bit disoriented by the sudden change.
When you have a job, you more or less have stability. Consider this like the foundation of a house. You don’t think much about it, but it’s there. You rely on it. It’s what’s holding everything steady.
Then you quit your job to start a business. But what happens? For many, they lose a certain amount of their foundation. The loss of steady money can bring on a certain degree of confusion. Even if they hate it, the office routine and social interactions are also part of that foundation. Losing it can also bring on confusion.
The way to ease the confusion and disorientation is to select something new as your foundation. It could be a simple as “I am going to take a walk every morning at 8am before I do anything else.” So even if the rest of your day feels like a tornado of confusion, you’ve at least established one stable thing that hasn’t changed.
Prepare for a Bumpy Ride
We’ve been living in a state of economic stress for decades now. Inflation has grown to ridiculous proportions. Things cost more and your money buys less. Many people feel that they have no choice but to take their income into their own hands by starting a business and making it thrive.
Even people with steady jobs and decent income can have a rough time. But starting your own business is rarely a smooth ride. If you jump before you’re ready, you will likely multiply your stress and end up less financially secure. So do all you can to be ready before you jump in, lest you end up for the next 18 months with your head chopped off.