At one point or another, most corporate professionals have dreamed of leaving their 9-to-5 behind in pursuit of entrepreneurship. The idea of running your own business is incredibly appealing, especially when stories of people who successfully quit their day jobs seem to be everywhere. But are you really ready to take the leap?
Like any other major decision, leaving behind a steady paycheck and benefits in favor of startup life is one that must be carefully considered. Impulsively quitting your job without a solid plan in place is financially and professionally irresponsible, and likely won’t turn out the way you expect.
1. Secure A Financial Runway
My advice is to have at least six to 12 months of living expenses saved. You’ll want to jump in and focus on getting it off the ground without stressing about how to pay your mortgage or rent. If it’s in the incubating stage, I would challenge the person to explore launching the business as a side hustle until it generates enough income for a full-time transition.
2. Learn From The Failures Of Others
Talk to an entrepreneur who has failed and then succeeded. What are the lessons learned? The mistakes did they make? What did they do differently when they found success? Starting a business is easy. Getting traction in a market that produces sustainable revenue with growth potential is tough. If you’re open to continuous learning from the experience of others, you will maximize your chances.
3. Ask Yourself What You’re Willing To Give Up
What in your life right now are you willing to give up? Starting a business means moving out of the comfort zone — financially, and with regards to time, family, relationships and so on. If you are willing to give some things up, then great. If you are not, what can you do now to start your business on the side or on a smaller scale first?
4. Know Your Target Market
It’s great to have an idea, but it’s even better to have an idea, product, or service that customers value. Conduct research trials and refine your pitch to gain momentum quickly. Resources tend to be limited as an entrepreneur, and it takes much more time to bounce back from a failed concept. Be able to clearly and concisely identify target customer group(s) and align important demographics.
5. Break Your Goals Into Small, Focused Steps
The definition of success can vary from person to person or business to business. If you are nervous about going all in too fast or feeling pressure to perform at a certain level right away, it’s OK to slow things down. Break down business goals into smaller, easier-to-achieve tasks. Take small, focused steps towards completing plans. What is right is what works for you.