Always Have A Backup Plan

Since I began my time on this blog, I have (for the most part) always tried to take the optimistic view. And with good reason, as that’s how I feel. You are going to succeed. It is not a matter of if, it is simply a matter of when. But I like my optimism with a healthy dose of pragmatism, and that’s something we’ll touch on a bit today. After all, when is a pretty vague time frame. It can be a pretty long time.

Getting a business off the ground and making it successful is a time consuming endeavor. It doesn’t happen overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all. And what if circumstances don’t work out quite the way you intended and your first, second, or even fifth venture doesn’t succeed the way you want it to? What do you do in the meantime? After all, while you’re trying to get your business off the ground, life is still going on around you. The world doesn’t stop while you try and find your path. You have a life, bills to pay, you may even have a family to support. These are all things that cost money, and while you’re trying to establish your own source of Personal Independent Earnings, you’re still going to need it. So you need to be smart. You need to plan. And you need to have a fallback in case your plans don’t go the way you want them to.

Let’s start at the beginning. You want to take the first steps towards total financial independence. You’ve had enough of the 9-5 world, and you want to get out there and make it on your own. But you still need to support yourself along the way. It would be a mistake to cast off the proverbial shackles and strike out on your own without the financial security to do so. My advice? Resist the urge to take that first step, at least for a little while, and instead plan for your immediate future. Build up savings in order to support yourself during the critical start-up period. Your bills will still be coming in, and you’re going to have to spend money (potentially quite a lot) to get your business going. I recommend having enough savings in the bank to keep yourself afloat for at least a few months before deciding it’s time to quit your job and go it alone. This is of course in addition to any of the start-up costs you have budgeted to get your business going. Having a solid plan is key before you step out onto the path to PIE, or you may find yourself back where you started faster than any of us would like. Take

the time to figure out every possible financial hurdle you may encounter, and make sure you’re equipped to handle it beforehand. Do so, and your chances of staying afloat on your own will rise dramatically.

Now let’s move forward. Your business is up and running. You’re doing pretty well. But then things take a turn for the worse and you find yourself struggling to make ends meet. Your business isn’t supporting itself anymore, and your personal bills are starting to pile up. In short, you’re in trouble. You may have to face the fact that at this point in time, with this particular venture, success is not in the cards. You are all smart people, and I hope I’ve provided at least some good advice to help you on the way, but there are circumstances that can arise that you simply have no control over. So what do you do? You need a backup plan. A fallback. Something that you can go to while you regroup, lick your wounds, and prepare to try again. You don’t want to be caught with your proverbial pants down with a mountain of debt (both personal and professional), and no means to get back into the black so you can make your next attempt at financial freedom. This is obviously far from an ideal outcome, but it can (and does) happen, so you need to be prepared. Somewhere in your network there may be an opportunity you can take on, make a little money, get back on your feet, and get ready to go again, all the wiser for the experience. Find that opportunity well ahead of time. Think about what you’re going to do if your current venture fails, and be prepared to transition into that role if you have to. As much as saying this is anathema to my beliefs, and indeed most of what I’ve said on this blog, you may even be faced with having to return to selling your time to someone else, going back to the 9-5 world for a period of time. Don’t be disheartened. This is a temporary setback. Use this time to learn from your experiences, to make better plans, and be more prepared for anything that may come your way when it comes time to try again.

Smart planning is one of (if not the) most important aspects of starting a successful business. And a huge part of that planning, is making sure that you’re equipped with a sufficient backup in case things don’t go your way. Supporting your business is one thing, but you need to be able to support yourself as well. Make sure that you’re prepared to do this, regardless of where life may take you, and while you may not succeed at first, you’ll be well equipped to try again until your time to shine comes.