Many people have quite a romanticized view of entrepreneurship. You take the plunge, quit your job, toil away and then you’re the next success story. While this can happen for some, it’s usually the few success stories that are widely published and not the many failures.
Quitting your job is not always the first step you need to take before building a business. A 15-year study of over 5000 entrepreneurs found that those who kept their jobs were 33% more likely to succeed.
In addition to staying in your job while you start your business, you should also work in the same industry. An MIT study found that entrepreneurs were 125% more successful if they had been employed in the same sector they were starting their business in.
Here are five things you should consider before quitting your job.
1. Prove The Concept With A Side Hustle
You can start your business as a side hustle rather than going all in from the beginning. The best thing you can do at this stage is to prove your concept. Before you do anything else, get your first client or customer. For example, if you have an app idea, build the basic app first and see what the response is. Don’t spend thousands developing something that there is no market for.
Many people find it challenging to pursue something on the side while working in full-time employment. Working a job can be exhausting. If this is what you’re struggling with, try negotiating with your employer to work four-day weeks instead of five.
If that isn’t an option, have dedicated time blocked off in your diary that is exclusively for your side hustle. Commit to never rearranging that time regardless of what social activity comes up.
2. Build A Financial Safety Net
Start saving as much as you possibly can and create a runway for yourself. Naturally, this is easier the longer you are employed. Building a business can be expensive, and it may be a long time before you begin to see the results you’d like from your efforts.
By staying in employment, you will be better able to ride the bumps and unexpected costs that arise from startups. In my early days of starting a business, it was tricky to find a balance between my living expenses and investing in the business. By building a bigger nest egg before you take the plunge, you mitigate this situation and give yourself longer to make your business idea work.
3. Expand Your Skill Set
Take some time to acquaint yourself with what your responsibilities will be and what skills you’ll need to learn to grow your business. For example, accounting is one area that many new entrepreneurs struggle with and yet it is one of the most important.
Additionally, brush up on your interpersonal skills and soft skills, such as sales and negotiation. If you come from a sales background, you might be comfortable with the idea of selling already, but otherwise, you might balk at the thought.
For better or for worse, any business is built around selling. Whether it’s selling to customers, selling your vision to employees, selling your idea to investors, or negotiating with suppliers, it is an important skill you must nurture.
4. Set Goals And Develop A Plan
While it may seem brave to dive in headfirst, you shouldn’t start a business without knowing exactly what you’re trying to build. Set goals and milestones and develop a plan to achieve them. Take time to thoroughly research your market and create a business plan based on facts.
Be sure to set smaller goals and milestones for yourself so you don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed. Small victories can be motivating and help you to create momentum in your business.
5. Get Support
Don’t try to go it alone. The entrepreneurial path is laden with ups and downs. I can pinpoint many of my business successes to advice and support gained from mentors and fellow entrepreneurs.
Support can come in two forms. The first is a group, and there are plenty of them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Meetup. For example, the Female Digital Nomad group on Facebook has over 48,000 members and its goal is to unite female business owners all over the world. Use groups like this to find an accountability partner on the same journey as you.
A mentor can also provide support. In the UK, the government funded Mentorsme can help you find a mentor and in the US you can try using Score. You can also join communities like Fizzle or SuperFastBusiness to gain access to courses and mentorship from the likes of James Schramko.
Before taking the plunge into starting your own business, mitigate the risk by staying in employment a little longer. Make sure you are professionally and financially ready, and you’ll set yourself up for success.