Most people in employment and even the unemployed nurse the ambition, thought or even desire to own a business and work for no one. They get this urge to become entrepreneur at one point or another in their life, or just earn money without having to answer to a boss. Whatever the motivation, the urge strikes and even burns in the mind, but only a fraction of the people take the all-important next step of actually starting, let alone, building a business.
Why don’t more of people take that step?
Lets focus this conversation on those in paid employment, and we see most of the people who can’t quit their jobs smoothly or conveniently, and so they just continue working and wishing things were different, without pursuing their dreams.
Now it could sound exciting if you could start and even build a business without quitting your job. And it’s possible with the right approach.
Why not quit?
First, let’s take a look at why you’re not quitting your job in the first place. You believe that the monthly or recurrent bills can only be paid with the paychecks month-on-month. There are some valid reasons, but the reality is, you may not need your job as much as you think you do, once you are able to start your business right.
The teething stage dilemma
No matter how well you may start money or cash-flow is tight during the early stages of entrepreneurship no matter how good your idea is. However, if you can secure enough alternatives to cash outflow and endure initial tight sales flow you can scrape by without needing a supplementary job. Don’t forget the new business needs full incubating attention, time.
You’re afraid of plateauing in your career
You may worry that if you quit, you may be unable to return to the workforce in the future. This is somewhat illogical in most cases. First, be sure you are sure footed taking the start steps, not fidgeting over uncertainties. However, it is always wise to leave the exiting door nicely open in case you need to use it back again. Talk to a boss or supervisor you trust, and get their opinion on a potential return if your business doesn’t pan out. You can also build professional network beyond your place of work such that the come-back door is wider. Not forgetting that all the doors can be needed for the success of the new business.
You’re unsure about your idea
If you don’t have a good idea yet, you probably shouldn’t leave your job. While this is a valid reason, why not spend more time developing the idea?
You’re afraid of the risks
You may want to keep your job as a safety net, but safety nets don’t always lead to a better overall performance. Overall performance would require full time on both the paid job and the new business. No part-time commitment would lead to full performance.
If you’ve considered any of these reasons to hold onto your job, and you’re still convinced you can’t quit, follow these strategies to start a business successfully while still maintaining your daily responsibilities.
First, be realistic about what you can and cannot do while still maintaining your job. You can work on your ideas, build some infrastructure and maybe even manage your business during the early stages, but you can’t feasibly manage this forever. There are only so many hours in the day, and you’ll need to make a commitment to one side or the other eventually.
Focus on the idea
While you’re still working, focus on developing your business idea as much as possible. That is to say, keep your work conceptual during the early stages. This is the best time to flesh out the gritty details of your idea. Evaluate it for flaws, and fine-tune your idea to perfection. You won’t be under the gun with deadlines, and you won’t be strapped for cash, so make the most of this time by writing up the best possible business plan you can.
Unless you’re working in isolation, this is a great time to build connections you can use for your business later on (assuming you won’t be violating any non-compete agreements). Get to know as many people as possible. You never know when or where you’ll meet a potential partner, vendor, client or employee. The wider your range of professional contacts is, the more options you’ll have when it comes time to growing your business. This will also save you valuable time when you need to be managing your business instead of networking.
Start with baby steps
Don’t try to do everything with your business while you’re still working full-time, and don’t try to rush the process. Instead, take baby steps, when you can, to slowly advance your idea forward. Test the waters. Experiment! If you get in too deep, you’ll lose control over the situation, and your business will end up outpacing you.
You may think of yourself as quite capable, and maybe you are, but there’s still a hard limit to how much work you can do before your work starts to decline in quality on both sides or at least one side. If you spend too much time on your business, your professional work will suffer, and you may end up losing the career you tried so hard to protect. Spend too much time on your career, and your business won’t have a chance. Keep yourself in balance, delicate but doable.
If you follow these strategies, you can build a business while still maintaining your day job in the early stages. Just remember, there is no perfect time to start a business. So be sure you understand your own motivations before opting to delay getting started. Oftentimes, the best thing to do is throw yourself into something, and make adjustments along the way; otherwise, you may never start at all.