5 ways to turn your secondary activity into a career
Let’s face it: we’re done talking about the pandemic. We are exhausted. The last 16 months or so have turned our entire worlds upside down. From quarantines to rapid tests, we want a break from the news and we want a little more joy in our lives. Part of the reason for the disdain over the past year has been the blurred lines between work and life. For most accountants, bringing your career to your home meant a laptop that was always plugged in and email notifications that always rang.
Naturally, a burn-out ensued. This year has been marked by a wave of unemployment, holidays and layoffs. Companies were trying to stay afloat and maintain a bottom line as workers were pushed to their real limits – both in the (virtual) office and in their personal lives. But, understand this: This year has also seen a flurry of people choosing happier career options, including side activities and alternative work from home options.
Bankrate’s Side Hustle survey found that nearly half (45%) of working Americans report earning extra income at the same time. As the motivation ranged from having to make ends meet to padding savings accounts, these side scammers were seizing an opportunity and pushing their financial situation forward. These secondary activities created joyful passions beyond their daily work. In fact, over a quarter (27%) said they were more passionate about their side business than their main job / career.
What if you wanted to make your hustle and bustle your only hustle? Many accounting firms are breaking the traditional mold and offering alternatives to the Big 4 grind. For example, remote accounting and consulting firms, like Breakaway Bookkeeping + Advising, offer flexibility in planning, a sustained network of other counselors (who also work on their own) and joy. Here are some steps to transform your secondary activity into your next career:
1. Find out what brings you joy. The first and arguably most important step is to find out what you like. Sure, you can calculate numbers at tax time, but does that bring you joy? Or do you feel love when you use these calculations to help a client plan a business move or invest in a five-year growth plan? Joy is a secret ingredient that is often overlooked in accounting. Passion fuels creativity and the desire to “work”. Our team likes to advise its clients. When you truly find happiness in the daily conversations that help you get to know your clients’ businesses, then you will never “work” another day.
2. Continue to expand your network. As human beings, we are social beings. It does not avoid the workplace. No amount of advertising, marketing technology, or promotional effort comes close to the impact of word of mouth recommendations on buying decisions, according to a Small Business Marketing report from QuickBooks and LinkedIn. The figures also prove it: often an entrepreneur or a company can only convert 20 to 30% of cold leads, but up to 60% of hot leads. Networking is so important and it takes time for those who check in to get back to the roost.
3. Find your community. Beyond a professional network, the success of the side activity is directly linked to having a community. This is a central group of mentors and colleagues who can be a resource and a fallback as you navigate, bringing your team to full blast. Peers can be confidants in knowledge sharing and pressure testing. At Breakaway, Advisors work for themselves, but are not “alone” as Advisors are fed by Breakaway’s advisor network. This includes Slack channels for continuous learning and ad hoc customer questions, as well as funny memes and dog pictures. While each advisor runs their own bookkeeping and advisory business, they are all connected and supported by Breakaway. Most of the side activities start at home as well and it can be an isolating work environment, but it doesn’t have to be if you’re ready to build on your community and treat a digital community like real life.
4. Be responsible for your schedule. More and more companies are ditching the strict 9am to 5pm clock and instead entrust their teams to do their jobs when they can perform at their best. In the case of working parents, maybe they can focus more on work while the kids are napping, or maybe a counselor is more of an early riser and can focus better when they go out. for a morning walk. Technology has enabled teams to work from anywhere, anytime – and deliver more profitable results. Just look at the recent experience in Iceland. The BBC reports that today 86% of the Icelandic workforce is shifted to shorter hours for the same pay, or will get the right to, and [they are reporting] less stressed and at risk of professional burnout, improved health and work-life balance, more time to devote to family, leisure and household tasks. As a full-time entrepreneurial financial advisor, you will be able to plan your time around what brings you the most joy and when you can be the best for your clients.
5. Choose clients who match your core values. A huge benefit of your side gig is that you determine who you work with. An important temperature control: the basic values. Aligning with like-minded clients helps create a better experience for the client and the accountant; not to mention the circles back to the principle of joy. The more you work with ideal clients, the more you find. This passion and joy will fuel the warmth of a secondary activity to a full-fledged career.
Ultimately, it’s crucial that you focus on what brings you the most joy. If your accounting activity is such, then I invite you to explore how you can make it a reality. Make sure to identify what brings you joy, then optimize your network and find a schedule that works for you.