I remember sitting at my desk, enclosed within four grey walls and looking at all of the activity outside. I wondered what would it be like to be on the road, doing my own thing every day, earning my own wage, having the flexibility to run a personal errand and not ask for time off, helping people while doing something I love or what it would be like to just have that "freedom". Then suddenly the office phone rings and brings me back into the four grey walls.
If any of that thought sounds familiar to you then I'm pretty sure you've been thinking of starting your own business and going through the dilemma of whether to leave or not.
This post is not to give you that answer but to give a guide with five (5) things to consider before making that leap.
- Business Plan/Model
- Market Testing
- Mindset & Discipline
Money isn't everything, but everything requires money - De La Soul
Ok so let’s get really real, really quick. You need to have money put aside! Every business needs funding, and even if you're in the development stages of building your business, gaining inventory, getting clients, training/certification, rent down payment, etc. you need money.
Entrepreneurs can have an overwhelming amount of optimism about how well the business will do but then reality hits and it turns into disappointment, fear, worry, depression, etc. Once you're certain that you're going to leave that full-time income then make sure you have enough capital to sustain yourself and your family as well.
My recommendation is to save at least 12 months of salary to make sure it takes care of your main expenses. Also, factor in some additional money as you still have a lifestyle, to consider, even if it will be a bit lower than your current.
Side note: If any debts are outstanding make sure you pay those off first or get them down to a manageable place within your 12 months saving. It's not worth messing up your credit, as that will make things harder in the long term.
Have A Plan
One thing that helped me focus after I made that leap, was the business plan I had written out two years before leaving. This is a pivotal step and I'm willing to assume that it’s also one of the most underdeveloped parts of many startups/entrepreneur‘s businesses.
I strongly recommend you sit with a business professional/coach to help you map out what your business should look like. This will help eliminate the nerves and confusion on what your day-to-day activities are supposed to be.
Don’t be surprised that based on what comes out of your plan or lack thereof, your business coach tells you that stepping out on your own isn’t the best thing at the time.
Ok so you’ve covered items one and two and you’re all systems go. The next recommended step is to start testing your market.
1. Is there really a need for your product or service?
2. Who other than you is doing this?
3. What's the level of the demand
4. What makes you different?
5. What's a driving factor in the industry?
6. How can I make it grow in a year?
These are just six (6) basic but very relevant questions to consider. One thing that built my confidence was my surveys. I did some short surveys and questionnaires to really get an understanding of what customers really wanted. This allowed me to plan my approach to market and stay focused on aligning my services specific to their needs. This approach gives clarity and peace of mind that you are making the right decision.
If you want to go fast go alone, want to go far go together - Keron Rose
Traditional business learnings have taught us to be competitive and that anyone else in our space is competitors.
Thankfully I’m here to share with you that, that’s not a reality. My first year in business was made a lot easier because there were other entrepreneurs I had the ability to speak to about my challenges, ideas, strategies, etc. one of the best examples is the work Jarrod Best-Mitchell and I have been able to do together in getting both of our brands out there while creating something for the larger community.
As much as you have to be careful with how and who you position yourself with it’s also of great benefit while easing yourself into your industry. Note: The person(s) of course must be on the same page and just as open-minded to the concept of collaboration as you are.
I don't know if I’m that disciplined to work for myself” - Friend
Mindset & Discipline
This is possibly the most important component as it relates to making that move on your own. If all the boxes are checked on the last four points but you're not disciplined enough to give your own business the same level of attention, discipline and serious approach to work the way you do as an employee then you’re not ready.
This is something no business coach can tell you, you know yourself. The only example I can give you here is my last day at the corporate office and my first day as an entrepreneur was approached the same way. I got up at the same time, prepared myself mentally for my new job and then started working. This really helped me get into a groove and built my consistency.
You're no less of an entrepreneur if you're building your business on the weekend, in the afternoons or all day. Entrepreneurship is all about taking that business idea and bringing it into reality, not what time of day you're doing it.
There are people I know that have built a business while having a full-time job all the way up to their retirement. It's not your location or time of day, but your idea, drive and the value you bring.
Want to chat more about your move, reach out to me and let’s see where you are and what your next move should be.
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