It’s one thing to decide to make a career jump. It’s another to have the means to fund that jump. Finances are one of the most important factors to consider before planning a career change. On my podcast When To Jump, I’ve talked with many entrepreneurs about how they financially managed to take the leap.
Here are three of the greatest lessons I’ve learned.
1. Utilize the resources available to you
Here’s a secret: other entrepreneurs want you to succeed! When they started the website creation tool Weebly, David Rusenko and Chris Fanini wanted to help others grow their own successful business by making it easy to create a website without previous coding and web design skills. In fact, the project was inspired by a friend of the founders who was attempting to create a website and struggling.
“When we got started, it wasn’t uncommon that you’d pay $5,000 to $10,000 to build a real website,” Rusenko mentions on the show. “There’s got to be a better way to use technology to make this easier and lower the bar for everyone.”
Setting out to help others make their dreams a reality, Rusenko and Fanini were driven to create a resource that would let others make the first leap (without burning a hole in their wallets).
2. Crowdsource and use your network
Before jumping into apparel, Kirrin Finch co-founders Laura and Kelly Moffat worked in marketing and teaching, respectively. So when they got into the fashion game, they needed to do a lot of market research for little cost. They began with “guerilla interviews” in public places to gather information.
“Try to think of creative ways to find out information that don’t cost thousands of dollars,” says Laura, adding that this could help a new small business decide a direction without spending a ton of money.
Furthermore, they emphasize how great crowdfunding resources, like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, can be. On When To Jump, they discuss how these platforms are a great way to first test the market when launching a business by letting you assess the demand for your product, market to your audience, and fund your first production run.
3. Appreciate learning experiences as something of value
Essence editor-in-chief Vanessa DeLuca left her job in retail to embark on the not-so-glamorous path to a magazine career. When her retail company relocated, she took it as an opportunity to think about what else she could—and really wanted—to do.
“I took a huge pay cut to start a job as an editorial assistant,” says DeLuca on When To Jump. “I used it as an opportunity to learn and get as much experience as I could.”
DeLuca moved home and went from working as a buyer in retail to making copies and going on coffee runs, but says she wouldn’t trade the experience for anything: “The coffee and the petty cash and all that doesn’t matter — what matters is I’m getting exposed to all these brilliant editors.”
Sometimes, taking a step down the rungs (even if it means taking a pay cut or having to move back home), can be the best choice for climbing the ladder.
Looking for more tips about changing your career? Check out the When To Jump podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you enjoy podcasts. Hosted by Mike Lewis, who left his comfortable job in finance to become a professional squash player, the podcast features advice from inspiring entrepreneurs and side hustlers who made the leap.