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Taking Risks Can Mean Reaping Rewards
When is the right time to make the move? Read on for one pro’s suggestions.

It took 10 years for me to go from working a full-time job to being a full-time entrepreneur. Were there bumps along the way? Sure. Are there still bumps? You bet. Many think it’s easy being an entrepreneur, but we know that’s far from the truth. It’s scary. It’s filled with happiness. It’s overwhelming. It’s also freeing, and it’s rewarding. However, life is about the bumps, the twists, and the turns.

Are you crazy?
In November 2014, I was laid off from my full-time job for the second time in a matter of three years and had two wedding clients to my name. That was enough. I took charge of my own life. You see, I took this really scary big risk called not getting a steady paycheck. Boy, was it nerve wracking. Everyday I woke up saying ,“Why the heck are you doing this Simone? You know you have two kids, no husband, a car payment, etc.… are you CRAZY?”

Yep, that was the conversation I had in my head every day. I consulted friends, family, my boyfriend-now-husband, colleagues, you name it. I asked if they thought I was making the right decision. The decision, however, was between the Universe and me, so I kept the faith and kept moving in the right direction. I wanted to do what I felt, in my heart, was right; I wanted to follow my passion and my gift.

Risks can pay off
By the third quarter of 2015, I booked 10 clients, started guest speaking for Lovegevity Wedding Planning Institute, and had one of my weddings published in Munaluchi Magazine. All of those things would not have happened, if I had not taken a risk. Many others know what that’s like. Lisa Zaro, owner and officiant at Personalized Ceremonies by Rev. Zaro in New York, says, “I did not return to my desk job after my twins, Joseph and Anthony, were born in 2011. Instead, I took the opportunity to do what I really loved—being a professional ceremony officiant. I set goals so I could work toward replacing my past income over time, educated myself further on weddings in my area, developed marketing strategies, elevated my website design and content, and networked like crazy. The payoff—more time with family and a job that never feels like work!”

Don’t let fear hold you back
You will go back and forth a million times questioning whether or not you are capable of owning your own business. Fear holds us back. But what will keep you grounded is faith in yourself. If you decide to take the plunge from part-time business owner to full-time, what steps should you take? Here are the steps I followed:

Get clear on why you want to be an entrepreneur, and come up with a plan to get there.
Start saving. Have at least six months worth of expenses saved to cover you for those rainy and slow days.
Get a support system. Whether this is your family, friends, or colleagues, choose someone to lean on during this crazy ride.
Tighten up your business marketing materials, website, and brand.
Hire a coach or find a dedicated and experienced mentor. There is nothing better then honest and fresh advice from someone who knows what it is to be an entrepreneur.
Dedicate at least two hours of work a night toward your business, and if you get a lunch period at your job, use it to work on your business!
Stop seeing your business as a hobby, because other people and clients will see it that way, too. It’s easy to get caught in this trap while working full time because you have an income to fall back on.
Network with wedding or event planning associations or local organizations when you have time off or on weekends.
Sign up for a free, online wedding advertising site and start to get your business name out there.
Partner with other business owners or vendors on special projects where you can showcase your work or set up a styled shoot.
Attend conferences and seminars to stay educated and up-to-date on the latest trends.
Believe, believe, and believe that you are awesome and that you will be successful!

Two years later, I am still going strong as a full-time entrepreneur. I get to stay home with my children, which was a dream of mine for a very long time. I also get to work toward what I am passionate about. Others know the feeling. “I was working full time, my wedding business was part time, and when the economy went south, I was laid off. All I can say about that is that it really was a blessing in disguise. By losing my full-time income, I was forced to treat my business like a business, not a hobby,” says Lisa Marie Blinn, PWP™, L. Marie Events in New York.

So if you’re going from part-time to full-time in your business, don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you. Give it your best shot—and keep lots of coffee around for those late working nights! WPM
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Simone Vega, CWP™, Coordinated to Perfection, Bayside, N.Y.