When KJ of The Dreamy Giraffe was considering leaving her job to work full time on her crafts business, she was lucky enough to have a significant amount of money saved- originally intended for the purchase of a home- that could support her as she made the transition. But what if you want to take a similar step of leaving your job to devote more time to your passion but you don't have much saved up. What are your options, and what are some ways to quickly cut costs so that you can start saving?
* Get a part-time job. Just because you want to leave your current full-time gig to work on your projects, doesn't mean you have to leave the work world behind entirely. There are alot of benefits to maintaining a part-time job, key word: benefits. Some part time jobs (Starbucks and American Apparel, for example) offer their employees health insurance after a short introductory period. The same goes for most large temp agencies. For example, in Boston, temp agency PSG offers health insurance benefits to temps who have been on the job for over 30 days. In addition to health insurance, having a part-time job guarantees you income while freeing up more of your time for entrepreneurial pursuits. I recommend the part-time section of craigslist as a great resource for finding unorthodox jobs.
* Sell your unwanted and unused stuff.
There are alot of great outlets for selling stuff: the aforementioned Craigslist, Ebay and yard sales. I recently moved and as I packed up and moved boxes upon boxes of unworn clothes and un-used accessories, I cursed myself for not getting my act together and selling things off ahead of time. As a result, I ended up throwing a few things away, or giving things away for free (um, like a couch) just so people would take it away. A word of advice, if you're planning to sell things online, even though it may consist of old clothing and shoes, take the time to stage and light your photographs as if you were selling your handmade goods. It's great practice and will most likely result in a quicker sale. Below are some pieces from my own shoe collection that I'm just now getting around photographing for online sales.
* Keep the change. Start a change jar. This is a tradition my mom started when I was younger and now I always have a jar or two around my house filled with coins. You've seen them before in a couple of my product shots, they do double duty! Change jars are great because once you put the change in it, it's out of sight and out of mind. When you finally get around to cashing in that change, it's like free money. You'll be surprised how much you can accumulate from loose change over the course of a year. It may not be alot, but it will be significant, and every little bit helps. I find something therapeutic about getting a bunch of coin wrappers and sitting down and wrapping up all the change into nice, neat bundles.
* Ain't too proud to beg.
Finally, don't disregard one of your most important resources: family and friends. Asking your acquaintances for money can be tricky so proceed with caution. Make sure that the person you are asking is the right person for the gig. Your best friend may believe in your effort whole-heartedly but if they are not right to invest in your business, don't pursue them. Entrepreneur has a good article about the types of qualifications the right investor should have, including: trust in you, ability to afford the investment, business experience, and lack of emotional baggage. Receiving money from friends and family can be just the thing to get you motivated and focused. There's no better motivation than having a loan to pay back. Make your peeps proud and get your small business going!
If you have any other suggestions for ways to raise or save money, leave 'em in the comments.