Working on Your Dream Business? Get a Job!

May 06, 2014

DailyWorth Expert

Business coach and founder of Ignite!, a style and brand consultancy

There are five essential criteria for a bridge job:  

1. Your bridge job isn’t a career and it isn’t full time. Aim for 20-30 hours a week so you have the time and headspace to work on your own business.

2. It provides predictably consistent hours. This ensures you are free. You aren’t waiting around for someone to give you a schedule so you can then try and schedule your life and business growth activities. My clients who’ve had to wait around for schedules are troubled by the way they can’t really plan to leave town, go to conferences, network or schedule their own clients. In turn, their businesses grow much more slowly. 

3. It also provides a consistent and predictable paycheck. This paycheck should cover your basic needs to live every month. It should be the same amount every time so you have no surprises. And it should also come at the same intervals (monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) This way you can make plans and aren’t waiting around for money to use to invest in your business. 

4. It should allow you ownership of your mind and time when you leave. When you walk out of the building, you don’t want to drag your bridge job with you. This shouldn’t be the type of job where your boss calls you when you aren’t there, or where you’re expected to do work even when you aren’t in the office. That’s not a bridge job; that’s a career. If you’ve already got a career and dream of starting a business, you may want to consider a “demotion” to something less engaging so you can put more of your creativity and energy into building your business.

5. It isn’t another side business that requires you to find clients. If you have to go out and find people to pay you (e.g. freelance jobs or short-term contract work) then it’s not a bridge job, it’s another business. You want to keep your headspace free to start the business you’re actually passionate about. 

By default this rules out the majority of jobs in these categories: 

  • Retail jobs 
  • Waitressing, bartending and almost everything in the food and beverage industry 
  • Freelancing
  • Yoga teaching (or any other modality requiring you to chase hours and build a following) 

My clients’ best bridge jobs are those for which they’re overqualified for and may be bored doing. Why? Because in moments when they aren’t fully engaged, they can think about the business they’re passionate about and do some things to get it off the ground. Many of them had full-time jobs in one industry and switched to part-time jobs in a different industry because it met the criteria they needed. This bought them the time they needed to make sure their business was viable. 

The best kind of bridge job is one where you sit at a desk at an office and work with your strengths. If you are anything like me, your heart just sank a little bit. Office work?! That’s so not me! I want to do something I’m passionate about! 

I totally get it. But this is where you have to put your big girl business owner panties on and look at your life holistically and over the long term: 

Passions or not, if your bridge job works with your strengths the job will be easy for you, and that’s what’s important. Save your bandwidth and your money. You’ll need it for that dream business you’re building! 

Budding and existing entrepreneurs, let us know: Did you get a bridge job? Do you have a bridge job now? How has it helped?

Kristen Domingue is a member of the DailyWorth Experts program. Read more about the program here.

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