For decades, the majority of people have been schlepping themselves to and from a cubicle, typically with long commutes to boot. When the pandemic hit and everyone went into lockdown–it was an eye opening experience for employees and employers alike. With a little space away from their offices, more time with their loved ones, and less time commuting – most people found that their 9-5 didn’t even match up with what they wanted for their life.
We are now in the middle of the “Great Resignation,” a term coined by Anthony Klotz, an organizational psychologist at Texas A&M University. People are leaving their jobs in droves for a lot of reasons, but mostly, because their lives simply can’t function effectively when they have to clock in and out at a job. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 74% of those surveyed indicated that the time spent at home, either during shut-downs or working remotely, during the pandemic had caused them to rethink their current work situation.
So what do you do if you’ve found yourself realizing that your 9-5 simply doesn’t align with the values and goals you’ve outlined for yourself or your family? Melody Pourmoradi, founder of GiRLiFE and author of “Empowered Women Empower Girls,” knows what it means to build a business around her life, instead of the other way around.
Pourmoradi has built a network of female entrepreneurs who build businesses that work around their life, schedules, and family, by giving them licensed girl empowerment materials to host their own workshops and build their own business. Working with all of these women, she’s seen entrepreneurship play a big role in taking back control of their time, and create the kind of impact these heart-centered women want for their working lives.
If this sounds like you, Pourmoradi has three tips to building a business that fits your life, instead of fitting your life in the off-hours of your 9-5.
1. Define How Your Business Needs To Fit Into Your Life
One of the slippery slopes we can find ourselves in when we start a business is turning it into another job. Being chained to a storefront, or having to cater on the weekends–while it may be something you love–you might find yourself shackled to a schedule that doesn’t work for you…again. “I’m a big fan of entrepreneurship, simply because it’s a more intentional way to design your life while creating income. However, you really have to get clear about how a business should behave in your life. Forget the business idea for a moment, and really define how your business will fit into the lifestyle you want,” says Pourmoradi. “I have twin girls, and they are super busy. I love going to their concerts and traveling with them. So when I created GiRLiFE, I knew it had to be a business that was online, that I could run with my laptop and my phone. I wanted to be there for my girls whenever I was needed, so I also wanted to make sure that my business didn’t have specific hours like a 9-5, it needed to be asynchronous so that I could define my schedule. Not only did I design my business this way, but I designed the GiRLiFE Certification Program the same way so that the women who decide to create their own GiRLiFE business have the same control over their life, schedule and income.”
If you are a parent, you may want to only work when the kids are at school. Maybe you have a spouse in the military and you move every six months, so you’d need to have a business that can run even if you aren’t in a specific location for long. You may have always dreamed of owning a restaurant, but know that you want to be home for dinner every night, so you decide to open a brunch spot that closes at 2pm every afternoon. Whatever circumstances you have, do your best to drill down on how your business needs to fit into the lifestyle you want.
2. Find Your Ikigai
The Japanese term Ikigai is said to be the framework for finding your purpose. There are four tenets of Ikigai and where they intersect is where you might find a business idea that is really fulfilling for you. “When I applied Ikigai to my life, I knew that I wanted to work with women in helping them get a business started that mattered to them. In addition, I am so passionate about our girls and their empowerment. That intersection was where I was able to really suss out what GiRLiFE could be. By giving women a ready made business that they could take to their own communities to empower the girls in their lives, was deeply important to me–and motivates me to this day. This exercise is crucial to creating a business that you are super passionate about. Once I figured out how I needed my business to fit into the design of my life, I was able to apply that to the Ikigai framework and GiRLiFE was the result.”
Now that you have defined how your business will need to behave in order to support the lifestyle you want, you can drill down into the four tenets of Ikigai to help you decide what kind of business will best suit and fulfill you. “Create a list in each category and start to play around with each until you’ve reached an intersection with all of them that gets you excited,” suggests Poumoradi.
Here are the four tenets of Ikigai:
- What you love
- What the world needs
- What you can be paid for
- What you’re good at
3. Define What Resources You Need To Make It Happen
Finally, create a list of the kinds of resources you will need to get started. It could be a laptop, some office space, a 3D printer, etc. Don’t forget to plan for financial resources as well. If you are leaving your job you need to have a cash reserve to help you through the leaner months.
“Once you’ve gone through the exercise of working through how a business can fit into your life, as well as finding your purpose through Ikigai, you might find out that you don’t need a whole lot to get started,” suggests Pourmoradi. “You might need a good podcast microphone, an online course, or a simple spreadsheet software. You don’t need to break the bank to get started. Figure out what you need to get started and then, get started!”
The bottom line is that you really can make an income doing something you are passionate about, as Pourmoradi proves with her own business and the businesses she helps other women start. If you are finding that your job (or current business) simply doesn’t fit into the lifestyle you want, try these steps to get back on track in building a life you love.