As tempting as it is to immediately quit your job and get started on building a business where your passion truly lies, you may want to wait a bit. One of the biggest mistakes beginner entrepreneurs can make is quitting their day job before their side business has gained footing. As romantic as the idea is, this isn’t a decision you want to rush.
Before taking a leap into the unknown, ask yourself these questions:
Have I Learned All I Can at my Current Job?
Life in the workplace can teach you valuable skills you often won’t learn better anywhere else. Keeping to a deadline, being a team player, effective time management, organization and other skills will only benefit you when running your future business.
In truth, most startups fail. The idea that entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas instantaneously become millionaires is more of a myth than fact. But this doesn’t mean that you are destined to fail, especially if you acquire the skills that make one more resilient.
What will set you apart from other business owners is your perseverance, one of the best traits you can learn while in your current job. You will have many days when the mechanics of a business won’t excite you, when running a business isn’t as glamorous as you thought it would be. Even when you are your own boss, you will still feel frustrated, overwhelmed and exhausted from time to time. Sound a bit like how you feel in your 9-to-5 job? Those emotions don’t always go away, especially as your business is just starting. If you can persevere through the hard days now, think about how much more prepared you’ll be to handle those days in the future.
Am I Burning Bridges?
Perhaps a better question to ask would be, “What lasting impact do I want to leave?” Having a flashy and dramatic exit from your current job can sound enticing, but may hurt you in the long run.
Duane Sauer, a recruiting expert and VP of Robert Half International, says when quitting your job to “do it in a positive and professional way.” He reasons that later on these people you once worked with could be the people you need in your network as you move forward with your career.
Be open with your employer about your business plans and give plenty notice of your departure. Should your business not go according to plan, if you’ve left your current job on good terms they will be more willing to take you back in. Don’t check out before you leave, but show your employer how productive you are. Leave a good impression for them. This is almost as important as your first impression in the office was.
Do I Know What I Want?
We like to believe the grass is greener on the other side, and in some ways it can be. But if you think that means you won’t have to put in as much work, meet deadlines or work with others, then get ready for the reality check that maybe the grass is just as green on both sides of the fence.
William Morrow of SEO POW LTD put it this way: “Most people begin to look for opportunities elsewhere the moment their current job begins to make them feel inadequate.” Are you wanting to leave your job because you see a viable opportunity that you are passionate about? Or are you just running away from frustrations you face?
Morrow also says that, “Finding out what you want in a job can help you stay focused in your new career and avoid coming across similar situations that made you dislike your previous job.” Before you take the plunge, evaluate your motives. Write out a list of reasons why you want to start your own business and reasons why you want to quit your job.
Do I Have an Adequate Financial Plan?
Even with a good amount of money saved away, immediately quitting your job isn’t usually the best option. Building up revenue from a new business takes time. Right now you can’t foresee how much time it will take to build enough revenue to support yourself, possibly a family and your budding business.
Jayson DeMers, CEO of AudienceBloom suggests saving enough money that could maintain your current lifestyle for a year or so. This may mean sticking with your job until your business begins to pick up. It’s hard to pass up on a regular income.
Is There is a Market for Your Business?
The top reason why startups fail is a lack of market value or need. Don’t be an entrepreneur who puts everything into a business enterprise before checking to see if their company will even have a market to work in. Go through a series of tests to see if your business idea is reasonably capable of success.
In all cases, think before you leap. Evaluate your situation and what is best for you and your business idea. No one path is the same, so don’t get discouraged if you have to stay in your day job for a time. In the long run, thinking out your decisions before you act will pay off.