Gone to launch! You’ve been thinking of leaving that job and starting your own business for a while now. Or maybe that decision was made for you. In either case, the idea of starting your own business is enticing, the good old American Dream! The question is, are you ready? What’s next? Let’s review that.
How to Transition from Job to Startup
Are you ready? That’s the first question to ask yourself. As you read through the rest of this blog, keep asking yourself if you’re really ready to take the leap into a life of freedom, innovation, and stress and anxiety.
If you’re confident that you’re ready to make the transition to business ownership, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Research: Look at your options, the types of businesses that align with your skills and passions. A great resource to use is Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept, from his best-selling book, Good to Great (read this book!). A great business opportunity will be at the intersection of your passion, the ability to make money, and your skillset.
- OJT: Once you find some businesses that get you excited, reach out to some business owners. Have a lunch and talk to them, get the ins-and-outs, the ups-and-downs of running the business. Consider taking an internship to get to know the business.
- Scratch a Niche: Look for an opening in the market that you can fill. Can you do it faster, cheaper, better? Is there an underserved geographic region? You won’t want to start by competing directly with established businesses. Find yourself an open niche.
- Get a Business Plan: There are successful entrepreneurs with shelves filled with business plans for businesses they never launched. That’s what they learned from the business plan exercise — their great ideas weren’t so great after all. If you do the plan and see a great opportunity, then you’ll have a gameplan to work from, to keep you focused.
Reasons NOT to Quit Your Job for Entrepreneurship
But wait! Maybe this isn’t such a great idea after all. The American Dream is enticing. Being your own boss, setting your own schedule, unlimited income…are all great outcomes and worth the hard work it’ll take to achieve them. However, make sure you consider some of these reasons to stay in your job, at least for a while:
- Stress: You’ll be making all of the key decisions. You’ll need cash on hand to pay yourself, any employees and vendors. It’ll be stressful. If you have a family, talk it through with them and the impact this may have in the short-term.
- Loneliness: Many entrepreneurs miss the ‘team’ feeling, the water cooler time, and having somebody else to bounce ideas off of (of course, we have a solution for that).
- Unpredictable Income: Especially in the early days, your income will come in fits and spurts. Your customers may take longer to pay you than you expected. You’ll have unexpected expenses. This can be challenging to somebody used to a regular paycheck.
- Benefits: Jobs often come with great benefits, benefits that can be harder to come by for entrepreneurs: health insurance, gym and other memberships, retirement plans, and more.
- Failure: You need to consider the implications of failing, from financial to emotional fallout. Balance that with the spirit of going for your dreams.
Write out all the things you’ll miss once you leave your job. If there’s anything on that list that gives you pause to launch your startup, find a way to make sure you can bring that along with you. Otherwise, it might end up presenting a real challenge to your success and happiness.
The Gig Economy and Freelancing
There’s an alternative to a full-fledged startup: a gig, going freelance. The Gig Economy in America is strong and growing. Consider the following:
This is changing the face of entrepreneurship in America. Workers now have the ability to put their skills on the free market. You’ve developed a craft or skill all those years spent working a job. You can put those skills out there for companies to hire. You may be able to do this WHILE you have a job (check your contract), and make the transition smooth and even supplement your income with crowdsourced gigs, such as ridesharing (Lyft, Uber) and food delivery (GrubHub, DoorDash).
Benefits of Going Entrepreneur/Freelance: Take Charge of Your Life
You’re still here? Okay, you weren’t scared off by the potential challenges. There are great reasons to start your own business or freelance career, including:
- The Home Office: Many people tire of the morning and afternoon commutes and want to spend more time near or with the family. If you still need to get out of the house, you can find a nearby co-working space or executive office suite.
- Unlimited Income: If you build a scalable business, your earning potential is virtually unlimited.
- Control of Your Schedule: This is the most-often cited reason for going entrepreneur — freedom. You get to build your own calendar and won’t have to ask anybody for a day off.
- Pursuing Your Passion: This is the idea for working 12-16 hours because you can’t stop rather than having a boss driving you into the ground. When you find your passion, it won’t feel like work.
How to Get Started
Maybe you’re considering quitting your job or your job just quit you. In either case, if you’re considering launching a business or a freelance existence, you’ll want to put together a business plan, along with some goals and realistic expectations. Start talking to entrepreneurs, joining networking groups, and putting together your team of expert advisors. Start now by scheduling a no-cost consultation with ASCEND.