When I began caring for my grandma, I was working full time in a job I loved. I’d been there for 5 years, so at that point, I had already created my work family.
Early last year, due to a loved one going on hospice (and a few other factors), I decided that working full time while balancing my caregiving responsibilities. I quit my job to care for my loved one until he passed away and then launched my own graphic and web design business.
People quit their jobs due to caregiving. It’s a fact. If you’re in the same boat, you’re not alone. An estimated 1 in 3 family caregivers quits their job due to the demands of caregiving1.
Let me tell you: It hasn’t been the easiest ride.
I’ve learned a lot since then. There are a lot of things to consider before you quit a job, and even more when you start your own business.
Here are the top 10 lessons I’ve learned since I quit my job for caregiving.10Good luck getting credit.
Unless you are bringing in boku bucks from an online business or you blew up from a brilliant idea, it can be difficult to get credit. If you don’t have much money coming in, lenders will be hesitant to extend your credit because you have no track record.
The same goes for buying a house. If you are considering quitting your job and branching out on your own… and you are looking at purchasing a home, try to get the pre-approval and employment verification out of the way before you take the leap. Self-employed mortgage applicants must prove stability of employment and income, usually going back two years. This can be a bit tougher for you if you are self-employed, unless you’re the next overnight Instagram sensation. 9 If you don’t get health insurance, look forward to getting taxed.
Learn from my example. I shrugged it off and paid a huge penalty when I filed my taxes. The 2018 tax penalty for not having health insurance was $695 or 2% of your yearly income for adults, whichever amount is more. 8 YOU are responsible for putting away the money for your taxes and making sure they get paid.
It’s not like when you work at a job and they take the taxes and withholding. If you’re not diligent throughout the year, you can owe a huge chunk of money. I’ve made it a practice to put about 30% of the money I make from my self-employment away for taxes. 7 There’s nobody to throw under the bus when the job doesn’t get done.
At the end of the day, if you are self-employed, your neck is on the chopping block if your clients aren’t happy.6 You will spend more time than you ever expected grappling with the clock.
Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s law? Parkinson’s law says that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Take it from me, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in a project and then let it suck time away from your other responsibilities. It’s also easy to put things off until the last minute once you think you’ve figured out how long things take.
Staying on track is key. You have to create a system of time management that works for you.
There will be also times you find yourself with TOO MUCH time on your hands. Use down time for planning your next moves. What can you create that can generate income for you passively while you aren’t busy working on projects?5 Your personal experience can help you earn money.
You can leverage your caregiving journey to bring in money or build your empire and help others at the same time. As our grandparents and parents get older and begin needing care (and 70% of people will need some level of care)… the market for services catering to family caregivers is only going to keep booming. Find out how to convert your caregiving experience into a career.4 It’s not enough to be good at a thing, you have to find your niche.
When I quit my job, my ego was at an all time high. I figured that just having the skills of web and graphic design was enough for people to knock down my door. Having highly marketable skills is great, but if you don’t know who your target audience is, they’re basically null and void. Figure out who needs what you have and go after them!2 Most successful people don’t just do *one thing.*
As I look around at my role models and the people I know who are leading the kind of life I’d like to life, I see one thing. Multiple talents and income streams. Figure out *all of the ways* you can make money now that you’re on your own. I sat down and created what I lovingly called my “Escape Plan” and listed out all of the possibilities I could think of to generate an income for myself just in case one of my streams didn’t hash out.2Bedside manner is everything.
Get your mind out of the gutter 😉
How you interact with your clients and your communication with them can make or break you. Too much information, and they are overwhelmed. Not enough, and they feel like they’re in the dark. Try to map out all of the processes and communication points of your business so you have the right practices and tools in place to support a successful relationship. Throughout your relationships with your clients, show them how much you appreciate them. When you do a great job and people love how you work with them, they will tell their friends and the business will keep on coming!Stay positive.
Starting your own business can be hard. It is especially challenging if you walked away from a job that you truly cared about in the midst of a caregiving storm. You know that the decision you made was right for you. Keep your head up and believe that the Universe will provide. With the right efforts, you will see that things start falling into place.1 You’re the boss.
That means you can take a break when you want to. You can schedule work when you want to. You can build your whole life around your business. As time goes on, you’ll learn what works, what doesn’t work, and what you can get away with. You can go on long breaks (as long as you plan ahead and communicate with your clients). You can skip a day of work and not feel bad about it.
Have you started your own business to free up your life for caregiving?
I’d love to hear about it. What have you learned? Share your experience in the comments below 👇👇👇