Should You Quit Your Job to Become an Entrepreneur?

I did recently.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I’ve been working in the financial industry while running my businesses part-time.  But earlier this year, I decided to take the leap and become a full-time entrepreneur.

The Growing Feeling

A few months before I left my career, I began to have a funny feeling that I would not be at the job for long-which was crazy.  It was crazy because the job that I was able to land was a dream job for me.  I had the opportunity to work with several different teams, learn under a very knowledgeable Advisor, and set myself up financially, if I succeeded.  Plus, the job offered me the freedom to create my own schedule and even work from home from time to time.  It was nice, but it wasn’t enough.

For me, the reason why I do something is more important that how I do it.  Even though I felt as if the job was great, I was not convinced that I was reaching my full potential there.  Plus, my side businesses began to grow and more and more people began to take notice.

Waking up at 3 a.m. to begin my day has been a part of my life for sometime.  But suddenly, I began to wake up earlier and earlier to do the work necessary to run my business.  Before I knew it, I was waking up at 2 a.m. just to get the work done.

My morning routine began to solely focus on my business.  It also began to consume my thoughts at work.  I fought it and told myself that I would seriously consider leaving my career for my business in 6 months.  Less than a month later, I called my boss and told her I was leaving.

Maybe you have been thinking about leaving your job to become an entrepreneur.  If you have been, hopefully this post will let you know what is needed in order to do it successfully.  I also hope that my experience will let you know if leaving your job for entrepreneurship is right for you.

How to Know if You Should Become an Entrepreneur

 

The Courage to Start

The internet and bookstores have no shortage of information on the topic of entrepreneurship and business.  There is a reason for this.  It is because everyone has an opinion and business is not an exact science.  That is the downside as well as the upside.

Because business is not an exact science, what it takes to succeed in business is hard to nail down.  It is also something that changes constantly.  If you are afraid of change and have no intention of fighting your fear, entrepreneurship may not be for you.

But, that change is also a wonderful thing.  To start a business 30 years ago was much harder than it is now.  Starting a business would require a bank loan, retail space, employees, and money for advertising.  Now, starting a business can be done by filling out the legal documents online, setting up a good looking small business website design, and building social media profiles to let people know about your business.  That is how to start, but succeeding in business is much more than the start.

But nothing happens without the start. Ideas that sit in your brain are wasted ideas.  Most people have no problem coming up with a good business idea or even a great business strategy.  But neither of those things create a successful business.  Starting, building and working your business idea is what makes the most difference.  If you really want to leave your job to become an entrepreneur, it all starts with less thinking and more action.

How Good Are You at Sacrificing?

If you had to give up your favorite thing in the world today, would you?  Could you?  Many habits tend to be difficult to break.  Especially those that we enjoy and have been doing for long periods of time.

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg wrote about how habits are formed and why they are so hard to break.  One of the things that he outlines in the book is what he calls the ‘habit loop’.  The habit loop stats that we sometimes do things because there is a trigger.  From that trigger, there is then a behavior.  That behavior is followed by a reward.  The longer that loop is in play, the harder it is to break that loop.

In order to be an entrepreneur, you must learn to break the loop and sacrifice those habits that are not beneficial.  There will be some things you must sacrifice in order to succeed as an entrepreneur.  What are those things in your life?  Is it binge watching The Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead.  Is it happy hour?  Weekends? 8 hours of sleep?  Identify the things that take up time and energy.  Select the things that are least beneficial to you and apply that time and energy to your business.

It could also mean sacrificing things that are not external.  You may need to sacrifice your fear of failure.  You will definitely need to sacrifice your desire to be comfortable and secure.

Here is another reason why your ability to “give something up” is going to benefit you as an entrepreneur.  As I mentioned before, entrepreneurship is not an exact science.  That means you may get the result you desire but not by the method you anticipated-or even wanted.

I worked years on a business that didn’t really take off the way I wanted it to.  It did well, but I did not feel comfortable leaving my job to run it full-time.  However, I had started a small project about 3 years after I launched my first business and it was the side project that grew so fast that I felt confident leaving my job to run it.

If you have a picture of exactly how things are going to turn out and you are unwilling to budge on that ideal situation, you may miss opportunities to succeed.  Being open to different ways of doing things enables you to tap into methods that you learn along the way.

Chase the Vision

 

Chase the Vision

Your business can not run or continue to run without money.  But chasing money is not the ideal way to run a successful business.  As an entrepreneur, you are the Chief Executive Officer.  As the CEO, there are a few things that you are responsible for:

Casting the vision-You are responsible for the direction of the company and you must own the vision you have for your business.

Making Good Decisions-You will be responsible for EVERYTHING.  Being able to make good decisions is absolutely necessary.

Leading-Even if you are the only person in your company, you are the leader of yourself!  You must learn discipline for yourself and establish good practices for your business.

As an entrepreneur, it is easy to get caught up in how much money the business is making.  But if you are going to succeed you must be good at chasing a vision, not money.  What do you want your life to look like?  What do you want your business to do?  How many people do you want to influence/reach with your business?

Ask yourself these important questions and you will soon begin to see how that vision can lead to financial success.  Chasing money can lead you down “get rich quick” roads but chasing the vision can lead to more income as well as greater personal satisfaction.

 

Test Your Ideas, Your Business, and Yourself

If you’re reading this then the whole thing about “sacrifice” didn’t scare you off.  If you’ve gotten this far, it is time to really see if you and your business have the potential to succeed enough to enable you to walk away from your 9-5.

My best advice to you is to not even think about leaving your job unless you have tested your idea, your business, and yourself.  Here is how to do it.

First, share your idea with as many people as possible.  Share it with friends, co-workers, and total strangers you meet while waiting in line at the grocery store.  See people’s reaction to your idea.  Pay close attention to the people who tell you that the idea will not work.  It may seem like they are being negative, but they could also (unknowingly) be giving you a warning of things that could go wrong that you may not have thought about.

The second step is to test your business.  There is only one way to do this and that is to jump!  You have to create a website, social media profiles, and start doing things that any other business would do.  Do not worry about your idea or product being perfect.  The most important thing is that you get it out there to see how total strangers respond to it.

The third step is to test yourself.  Pay close attention to how much you can get done in an hour.  How productive you are is hugely important during this testing phase.  If you are running your own business, you are not getting paid for just working.  You are paid on the results you create.  Test how well you can handle the small and large obstacles that you encounter.  Test your ability to stay motivated even when you feel discouraged.

The month before I left my job, I did this very thing.  I tested myself to the extreme.  I woke up even earlier than usually, worked extremely hard to recruit people who could be a part of my team,  drastically increased how much I marketed the business, and I practiced my ability to overcome the obstacles I faced.

After the testing period, I was very confident that I had what it took to run my businesses successfully.

Conclusion

When people think about starting a business, they often do it because they are unhappy working at their current job.  They often point to their bosses and co-workers as reasons why they should not be working a 9-5 job.  They often forget that there are a new set of challenges that they have to face if they decide to become an entrepreneur.  These challenges are not impossible to overcome if you know how to handle them.  I hope this article helps you make the right decision for you.

 

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    […] I announced in my recent post Should You Quit Your Job to Become an Entrepreneur, I have recently made the decision to run my part-time businesses full-time.  They have invited me […]