“It’s so frustrating! I want to follow my passion like you’ve always said but I’m not getting anywhere. I can’t afford it.”
My son is a highly talented musician who is also incredibly skilled in computers and techy stuff like that. We bought him his first drum kit for his second birthday after watching him in nappies, at one year of age, that he could hold a beat with perfect technique. Now, at 23 years of age, he makes electronic music and plays clubs and gigs in our home city of Melbourne. He doesn’t just love making music. It’s who he is. And like so many creatives out there, he is frustrated by lack of funding in the pursuit of his dream.
“You will need to get a job,” I replied. “Your dream is your responsibility, but so is funding it.”
This same philosophy applies to any heart-centred, soul driven business owner who started their business to make their dreams come true, but who keeps hitting cash flow roadblocks. The brutal realities of the marketplace make this pursuit like chasing a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You want to roll out your products and services far and wide, and you are driven by the deep conviction that this is your life mission. But you just can’t convert your prospects into profit, and your back is against the wall.
You might have a challenge with advertising, problems with your business model, a need for more leads, or a lack of clarity around how to package your offering. You might find it difficult to maintain consistency with your client care, struggle to manage your social media, or find yourself drowning in confusing, overwhelming admin. Whatever the problems you face behind closed doors, the simple reality is that if you had enough revenue you would be able to keep going. The breaking point for the businesses that don’t make it through their first three years is always in their cash flow. Businesses fail when there is not enough money to continue.
Finding employment doesn’t have to mean walking away from your business dreams altogether. On the contrary, it might be the very thing you need to keep up the chase. You could work after hours, part time, leaving just enough space to keep the flame of your business burning ever brighter. Here are five reasons why you might consider biting the bullet and getting a real job:
1. Pay your bills!! You don’t want to let things get so far behind as to default on overdue payments or lose accesses to essential services.
2. Fund your business growth. Whether you need business coaching, a new website, new equipment or more stock, growth money must come from somewhere. If it’s not coming from sales, why not bring it in from a reliable, predictable salary?
3. Get some sleep. A job could release the pressure valve just enough that you could catch some long overdue Zs. Take the time you need to rest your body.
4. Reset your mindset. The relief of having a little bit of money again might make you realise that you have worked yourself up into a frenzy trying to complete your life’s work overnight. This is not a sprint, but a marathon. Let time work its magic.
5. Build your infrastructure. When you are desperate for sales in your start up business, all you chase is sales. This is understandable and in many ways necessary, but it undermines your ability to build the management structures and systems you need to sustain your business growth. If you can earn enough money to just scrape by for a while, your future self will thank you for investing time, money and headspace into the big business you have always dreamed of.
Honestly, if it’s cash you need, consider getting a job. You heard me! If you’re building a business from scratch and you are not making enough money it’s time to admit that it’s not working just yet, and you need to meet your financial commitments. There are far too many great businesses that suffer unnecessary demise because the owner was too embarrassed or too naive to take the courageous step to rise to the responsibility of funding the creation of their opus. This is your legacy. Own it and nurture it through every season.