Many of us have dreamt about quitting our 9-5 jobs and starting our own business. The attraction of becoming a business owner appeals to people for all different reasons; some dream of attaining financial freedom, some yearn for the autonomy and others crave the lifestyle flexibility, or even all three!
While all these dreams are attainable it’s important to keep in mind that it’s no walk in the park – if your main motivation for switching your 9-5 for your own business is because you don’t want to work as hard anymore then here is the best advice I can give you – DON’T DO IT! Stick to you daily grind, because whatever it is, I guarantee you it’s easier than starting and running your own business.
Now, as appealing as it might be to walk into your boss’s office and quit the day after you launch your business, it is not the smartest move. Unless you already have plenty of capital (which 99% of new small business owners don’t!), you need to stay in your day job to keep bringing in the income that will grow you start up (as well as support your family, depending on your situation).
The time will come when you are in the position to quit and go full time on your business, and you need to plan for this time, however until you get there, you need to stick it out at your full time job as well as give your business the love and attention it needs.
Launching a small business, especially while still juggling working in your job is hard work and requires more than just sheer will!
Here is a list of some crucial do’s and don’ts for those of you finding yourself in this position:
Make sure you consider your family when making any decisions; think about how much money you need to ensure your family still maintains their security and make sure you involve them in your decision.
Remember that family and close friends can be an informal ‘workforce’ for your business, enlist them to help you with basic admin, phone calls etc, if they have the time to help.
Embrace and utilize technology. With smartphones it possible to work anytime, anywhere. Stay on top of your correspondence for your business during the day at your job during your lunch breaks.
Work on perfecting your time management. You need to allow time to invest in your business but you also can’t neglect your full time job as that is paying the bills and also making the start up possible at this stage.
Here is a simple but important one – separate the two! Don’t try and sneakily work on your business during work hours, and try not to bring extra work home from your 9-5.
Be prepared to be tired and work harder than you ever have before. You will find out the true meaning of not enough hours in the day. You may put in 9 hours at your day job then come home and put in 6-7 more on the business. Be prepared for late nights and early mornings and sacrifices.
If it starts to become overwhelming, try keeping perspective and reminding yourself why you are doing this- nothing comes for free and the things worth having are not easy. To help you with keeping perspective, I suggest making a visual reminder by creating your own vision board.
Know how to delegate and outsource and do it cheaply (look at this months eBook on outsourcing for entrepreneurs). The Internet is an amazing resource for start-ups; You can outsource just about every job, and on a budget! You can hire web designers, admin people, researchers, copywriters, social media marketers even virtual personal assistants! Literally, just about everything you need! Many of these contractors are based overseas, so why not take advantage of the time difference and liaise with them in the evenings when you get home from work, when they are just starting their day!
Consider when and if you can transition into working full time in your business. The two biggest factors are funding and timing- as mentioned, as much as you want to, don’t just quit.
You need to plan and set yourself a tipping point or goal, for example, a goal can be a certain amount of money saved to get business running and to keep you comfortable when you leave your full time job.
When you business has picked up traction, is making some money and you need to invest more hours, think about asking your employer if you can go part time at your job, allowing you more time to work on the start up, but still keeping the security of a job, until you’re ready to make the big leap.
Whether or not you should tell your boss about your business really depends on the relationship you have with the boss and the business. In most cases I would err on the side of caution and not disclose it, because understandably, many bosses will see it as an early notice of your plans to leave, and they will already start to plan for your exit (even if it’s just subconsciously) and may send you off sooner than you think!
Likewise, don’t let it become water cooler talk; it’s disrespectful to your place of employment, as well as unprofessional.
This is an important one; if your business is in the same industry as your full time job – take note of your contract especially if there are any Intellectual Property clauses in it. If there are (and even if there aren’t maybe treat this one delicately!), DO NOT use intellectual property or poach clients while still working there! Not only will you get fired, it’s also terrible for your reputation, which is an asset you need in tact when launching a business!
Don’t do it just to ‘make some extra money’ – it’s much harder than you think and if you don’t have the right motivation, or if your only motivation is the lure of more money and being your own boss, you will burn out very soon.
Don’t take the leap into full time business until you’re ready. This means you’ve worked out your projections of how much your start up is making, that it can cover your living expenses and plan to put a considerable amount of profits back into the business for a while to keep growing it.