5 Big Lifestyle Change Mistakes You Should Avoid

Planning a lifestyle change? 5 big mistakes could hinder you on your new path

Management of Complexity

Management of Complexity (Photo credit: michael.heiss)

You  might be grappling with equal parts of excitement and fear approaching a lifestyle change that includes a change in your work. But, anticipation can certainly distract you from considering critical aspects. In the early stages of work and lifestyle change, there are 5 major mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

1. Choose work that will chain you. The job you want to leave already does! Don’t trade jails! A traditional brick-and-mortar business can be a ball and chain if you’re hoping for a more unfettered lifestyle. Somebody has to be there to open, conduct business, and close up again. Initially at least, that’ll be you. Examples: A retail operation with inventory, a bed-and-breakfast, a repair service, basically any place that requires equipment, inventory, and a location for customers to come.

This is probably the last thing you’re thinking about right now, but don’t ignore it: It may not be easy to vacation or move on from this type of business. If you don’t consider how you’re going to take a break from, or even totally exit, this business, you’re inviting overwork into your new life.

2. Over-educate yourself before you launch. Those of us who work online can be particularly guilty of lapsing into perpetual study. “Failure to act” can be the dirty truth behind agonizing lack of progress. How many more courses do you really need to take? Investigate business and individual licensure requirements. Know the testing and education you need.

Oh, so it’s about feeling like you’re not prepared! Accept that you’ll be frequently traveling outside your comfort zone. This can be both scary and exhilarating. Focus on the exhilarating.

3. Invest in unnecessary trappings. If your first inclination is to shop for new office furniture, you could be facade-focused. Unless you have unlimited funds, forget the facade and get real. You must know who your customers are, find them, sell them, and make sure every aspect of their experience is as flawless as you can make it.

Have you chosen a higher-profile field like real estate or corporate consulting, where you do need things like a late-model car and good clothes? Prioritize and allocate funds realistically. How much does it cost you to make a typical sale? How many sales before you can pay for your cashmere coat or a new office rug?

4. Ignore business fundamentals. Corporate specialists and cube farmers are great at details. Now you, as a new free-lancer or business owner, need to zoom out. Grasp the relationships between basic business functions. Creative people often say they’re “no good at selling,” marketers have difficulty with product creation. Rarely are all the skills a successful entrepreneur needs to succeed found in one person.

You can’t do it all to be sure, but what you cannot do you must hire out to be done. It’s funny how people forget (or don’t know? really?) that a business not only needs transactions, but that you then must keep track of those transactions, costs of selling, and expenses in order to know if you’re making money! Keep the books current, pay your taxes. Everything on the up and up.

5. Overshare your plans. Your excitement about your lifestyle change can turn around and bite you in the form of naysayers, backstabbers, and thieves. Poof! No wind in your sails. Rein in your outward enthusiasm and channel its positive energy into action. Every step you take, every objective you meet gets you closer to your goal, true. But not everybody needs to know every detail.

Discussing your plan to quit your job within earshot at work? Go ahead and laugh, I did this. And it got me fired. Sharing a business idea a little too freely? Confiding in friends or family who don’t really understand? Keep things a little closer to the vest than you normally might. This gives you the chance to score a few wins – confidence! Ensure that your idea isn’t “appropriated” into someone else’s business, and that you aren’t out of your day job before you’re ready.

Any other pitfalls you’re considering, or wish you’d avoided during your own lifestyle change?


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