With the Fourth of July just a couple of days away, it’s natural to think about fireworks. Beautiful and volatile things, those fireworks. But they’re quick to go off, which can be dangerous.
This analogy is headed toward those of you who are still working 9-to-5s but dream of starting your own businesses. Take it from me: the Firework Approach to leaving your job (jumping out of it sooner than you’re ready) is not one that will benefit you. Instead, use the Tortoise Approach: slow and steady wins the race.
1. Decide What You Want
If you’re sick of your boss, and spend your work hours daydreaming of the day you can bid him sayonara in favor of running your own business, dig deeper into that thought. Is business ownership really what you want, or is the fantasy of being able to be your own boss what’s pulling you toward it?
Running a small business is harder than anything that sadistic boss can throw your way. Trust me on that. Sure, you’ll be the one calling the shots, but you’ll also be the one responsible for paying the bills and employees, as well as finding new business constantly.
So question: do you really want to start a new business, or do you just want to get out of your current situation? It might be less painful to simply find a new job if it’s the latter.
2. Get a Plan
If becoming an entrepreneur is in your future, don’t go off like a bottle rocket. Instead, make a plan for how you’ll do it. Many entrepreneurs keep their day jobs while building their businesses to the point where they can afford to quit. Decide what kind of business you want to run, how you’ll market it and how much money it will cost to launch and operate for a year.
3. Save Your Pennies
Jobs are great for one main reason: they offer financial stability. Once you leave that (as well as the benefits like health insurance), the clock will be ticking on your finances. Make sure you have enough to cover your personal and professional expenses for one year. The revenue will come in, but until then, make sure you’re covered financially.
4. Don’t Burn Bridges
Fire’s a tricky thing. It can provide light and warmth, or it can wreak havoc on everything it comes into contact with. That being said, play with it carefully, especially when it comes to leaving a job. You never know how you might be able to work with your former company once you’re a small business owner, so avoid burning those bridges at all costs.
Don’t be in a hurry to start a business. It’s more work than you can imagine, as well as more rewarding than anything you’ve ever done. But it takes careful planning to do it successfully.
Photo: bayasaa on Flickr