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Ask Dave

Just start doing something

Jill has a furniture restoration business on the side. She's thinking about expanding it to her full-time job, but has no idea where to start. Dave and his guest, Certified Business Coach Christy Wright, give her advice.

QUESTION: Jill has a good full-time job where she makes around $55,000 a year. She restores furniture on the side, and she has had great success over the last couple of years with the restoration business. Now, she’s thinking about taking her part-time job to the next level. She asks Dave and his guest, Certified Business Coach Christy Wright, for advice on taking the leap.

Christy: That’s where a lot of people get stuck. I’ve talked with Dave a lot about this, but really the key is to just start doing something. Do a little bit of research, and set your pricing. Calculate your costs, because you’ll want to know how much is going into a particular piece of furniture and how much time you’re spending on a project. See what else is out there in your area too.

On my website,, we have a business plan that’s a quick-start guide. It’s not a full plan, but it will give you the basics to get started. You know, it’s amazing how when you just start to put yourself out there you’ll gain momentum with every successful step. With every step that you check off your list — you set your pricing, you research the competition, come up with a name — it’s going to give you confidence and momentum to take the next step. It’s overwhelming having so much to do, but if you’ll just start with those initial baby steps, it will fuel the next steps.

Dave: And here’s the thing, Jill. In order to quit the full-time job and do this full-time, you would want to prove that you have profits somewhere close to what you’re making at your current full-time job. You wouldn’t want to quit and make $15,000 the next year doing furniture. You’d want to be making $25,000 to $30,000, or even $40,000, doing this part-time. Part-time is starting to sound like a lot of work right there, but then you’ve got the boat close enough to the dock to make the leap.

But you don’t want to just jump in and hope you don’t drown. You want to get the boat close enough that you land in the boat, income-wise. So you need to create a proving ground on the income side of the equation to do that as well.