Switching Gears

Earlier tonight I was reading an article in the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine about how people were bootstrapping a business while working a full-time corporate job. The interviewer focused on different aspects of bootstrapping a business, but the part that caught my interest is where the interviewee talked about switching gears – which is the part when you switch to focusing on your side business after you are leaving your job for the day.

It’s actually not so easy. I would venture to say that most people sort of shut down and turn to more leisurely or physically active activities after work. For instance, running and weightlifting at the gym is common after an eight-hour day at the office. Some will prefer a more leisurely activity such as coming home and eating dinner in front of the TV. Or given the bleak economic times, some will flock to happy hour to pick up the good deals on appetizers and drinks. The bigger picture is that these activities are not really conducive to a side business, these are more or less ways to de-stress and disconnect from work for the remainder of the evening.

So you can see why it’s not as easy as it sounds to just “switch gears” after you get off work. But it got me to reflect on what made it possible for me to switch gears and put on my business/investment cap once it was time to clock out. I can’t recall exactly what I was thinking at the time, but I can remember how I felt and acted.

The cap actually never came off. At work all I could think about was looking at new listings and submitting offers. I would get so excited when an email notification popped up. I didn’t see junk mail, what I saw was new opportunity. Granted, if you’re super busy at work it can be difficult to keep the cap on. I eventually became very good at my job, to the point where I could perform well without much effort. I am NOT AT ALL suggesting to slack off at work in order to do the side stuff.

It felt like an adventure. Whenever I saw an address in a neighborhood that I didn’t recognize, I wanted to tour the neighborhood at night right away. It also gave me an excuse to go on a food adventure because I always found a random cafe or restaurant in that neighborhood to eat at. Which then gave me an opportunity to ask questions because the workers most likely knew what the area was like. I drove around the neighborhood with a different mindset. I started noticing things I didn’t notice before. I paid attention to my emotional reactions. For example, how did I feel as I drove through the neighborhood? Did I feel safe to park my car and get out? Is it somewhere I would jog at night? How old are the people who walk out late at night? Are there Christmas decorations (if it happens to be close to December)? My brain started working in different ways and it acted as a stimulus for me. In other words, it became exciting.

I had business associates that were just as excited as I was. Granted they have their own businesses and are out to make money as well, their energy and enthusiasm kept fueling me. It definitely pays to be surrounded by the right kind of people. If it not for them, I may have eventually grown tired of the search since it would take about 50 tries before something actually went through.

There has to be something that will make you click. Find it, create a plan, and act on it! There’s no excuse!

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