This is a guest contribution from Bryanna Royal.
You spend every day going to your 9 to 5 job, but you know there’s something more out there for you. Maybe it’s starting a blog – a travel blog, a lifestyle blog, a food blog. Whatever it may be, you know it isn’t the 9 to 5 you’re at currently.
When I was in my corporate job, I quickly learned that a cubicle was not where I wanted to be. I wanted to be in control of my own time. I hated that I had to be at the office even after my work was completed just because I hadn’t reached my 8 hours for the day.
Here’s your answer: start a Bridge Business. A Bridge Business is a business you start while still at your 9 to 5 to help you bridge between leaving there and starting your dream job.
You may ask: “why don’t I just start my dream job right away? Why do the bridge business at all?”
The reality is most dream jobs – especially blogs – take a lot of time to get started and get to the level where they can be your full-time income.
That’s why the Bridge Business is so key. It’s a business you can start in 30 days and quickly begin to see an income.
Sounds pretty good, right?! Seriously, it’s possible. I am proof it works. I started my Virtual Assistant business in September 2014 and less then a year later, in August 2015, my husband was able to put his notice in at his 9 to 5.
At the time I had no experience as a Virtual Assistant, but I knew that it was a great fit for me, my family, our full-time travel lifestyle, and our Dream Business – our Travel Blog. It meant I could do everything virtually, set my own hours, and work whenever and wherever I wanted.
How to Earn Money While You Get Your Dream Job off The Ground
Here are the steps to get your Bridge Business started:
Step 1: Choose Your Business
There really are a lot of opportunities out there. A Virtual Assistant business is a great option since there are so many different things that a VA can do.
Here is a link to 68 different jobs that a Virtual Assistant can do . However, it does not need to be limited to this list or any list. The door is wide open on tasks a VA can do.
Here are some other ways to determine what you can do as a VA:
- Think through the skills that you currently have.
- What do you currently do at your 9 to 5?
- What tasks do you enjoy doing?
- Do you know someone who owns a small business? Ask them what type of work they need help with.
- Research your dream business and figure out what skills you will want to have to make it successful and start to learn those so you can offer them as a solution through your bridge business.
Now take all of these things and evaluate them. Write them down and compare them. Do the Pros and Cons, and then make a decision. This can be a business blocker, so know that at some point you have to make a decision and go with it. You can always change it. My business ebbed and flowed and is still changing. But had I not started, it never would be where it is now.
As we built our Virtual Assistant business we also continued to focus on our Dream Business – our Travel Blog. The solutions I am offering for my Virtual Assistant business, where my clients are paying me, are helping me learn new skills and become an expert in these skills/solutions. These same skills/solutions are helpful for growing our Travel Blog. So be sure to keep that in mind as you work through the solutions you will offer.
Step 2: Business Startup
Now that you know the solutions that you want to provide, the next steps are:
1. Name your business.
I recommend making sure that the name you choose is one that could easily be sold to someone else someday. This seems far in the future, but it is definitely something to keep in mind as you grow your business, leave your 9 to 5 and begin to build your Dream Business.
Hopefully, there will be a time when you are ready to transition totally to your Dream Business, and at that time you may want to sell your Bridge Business. To keep this as a viable option, you may not want to use your name for your business. Instead, come up with something universal, which could easily be transitioned to someone else if they bought it from you.
Our business is called Virtual Powerhouse. It is a virtual business and we are helping our clients become an online powerhouse. So it works.
2. Define your solutions.
A website would be great, but you don’t need one. A PDF document will work fine when you are getting started. Use a tool like Canva and create a PDF that explains the solutions you are going to provide. If you want, you can include pricing – but I don’t think it’s necessary in the beginning.
Set up a system like Paypal, where you can easily create and send invoices to your clients. Again, nothing major, just keep it simple in the beginning.
Step 3: Finding Clients
All right, you have the business name and the solutions you will provide. Now it is time to find your clients.
My first client was a friend’s husband who has a small business. My friend said he was interested, so we set up a phone call to talk through the solutions I could provide.
I had talked to another friend before this who was not interested. So be prepared that not everyone will say yes. Have a list of people ready to go.
Here is a great way to start your list of people to reach out to:
- Think of 10 friends.
- Think of 10 acquaintances.
- Think of 10 parents of your kids’ friends. If you don’t have kids, then think of 10 parents of your friends.
- Think of 10 neighbors or colleagues.
- Think of 10 services you use: hair dresser, accountant, insurance agent, etc.
You now have 50 people you can reach out to who may be interested in the solutions you provide. Be prepared to hear NO more then once. But that is OK, each no you get is one step closer to a yes.
Another option is to search out clients that are in your Dream Job niche. You’ll get to build some amazing relationships and see behind the scenes of the business you hope to have some day, while making money.
Step 4: How to Approach your First Client
When I started, I offered a month of my services free for my first client. This was helpful for 2 reasons. 1 – working without the pressure of being paid allowed me more room to figure out what I was doing. 2 – it helped my client feel comfortable with my work before he started paying me (since he knew he was my first client!).
If you go this route, be VERY upfront with your client that it’s only free for the first month. Then present them with your pricing well before the end of the month so they can decide if they want to stay with you and pay.
It worked out well for me. That first client is still a client today and has also sent many referrals my way.
This isn’t an easy road to travel. Clients and money don’t just fall into your lap. But if you are willing to put the time in, do great work and build relationships, your referrals alone will help you take your business to that next level.
There you go! You have your business, your business name, your list of potential clients, and your first client!
Okay, it really isn’t that easy. Then again, if you stay focused on your end goal and keep making decisions to move your business forward, maybe it is.
There will be a lot of business blockers that pop up and the best way to get through them is to evaluate your options – then make a decision – within a day. Don’t give yourself too much time to dwell on it. Instead, make a choice and know you can always adjust and change as you go. This is YOUR business so the decisions are yours.
It has been a stressful road of ups and downs and not knowing what I was doing. But, I kept moving forward and making progress, and all of those things that felt so far out of my comfort zone in the beginning became easier and more comfortable!
The first step in making your dream a reality is starting. So go for it!
Bryanna, her husband Craig, their 4 kids and 2 dogs sold their house, everything in it, and bought an RV and are now traveling around the US. They maintain their lifestyle through their virtual assistant business Virtual Powerhouse and their blog Crazy Family Adventure. Their goal is to inspire families to start their own online businesses and get out and travel more! When they aren’t out hiking to the top of mountains you can find them on the beach or at the local donut shop searching for the best donut in the US! They post daily at: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and YouTube. You can learn more about their Bridge Business Coaching and Course here.