Not everyone is capable of being their own boss; even fewer are capable of being the boss of other people. Yes, being one’s own boss is a dream a lot of us have, and there is no reason why that cannot happen. However, it’s not an easy task.
If leaving your current job to be your own boss and running your own business is something you are interested in, here is what you need to do before putting in your two weeks notice.
Don’t Just Leap – Start with a plan of attack
Firstly, you will need to have a plan. A plan is vastly different than a dream or an aspiration. Lots of people dream of quitting their job and being their own boss, but few take the time to make a plan and actually prepare for the jump. A dream without a plan is a wish.
If being your boss is something you really want, something you feel you must do, then a plan is a mandatory step on your journey. And when I say plan, I’m not talking about creating a business plan or anything like that. I’m simply talking about taking the time to ask yourself, if you were to leave your job today, what would you do tomorrow? In six months from now, or what about five or ten years from now?
If you have an idea, start by making it your pet project or what I like to call a side hustle. Start the business while you are still in your current position and be transparent with your employer that you’ve started. It is possible that it will take longer to bring to life and, yes, it will probably take up more of your time but mitigating risk by doing it on the side is important and can help ensure that when you do leap, you’re leaping into a tried and tested business.
The next question is at what point you make the leap?
Leap Once You Can Focus 100% On The Business
If running your own business is your plan A, do not think of keeping your current job as a plan B. It is not a safety net; it is just a necessity for now before making the leap. Once you’ve proven that your business has the ability to work, you need to be committed to making it work.
If you are going to run your own business, you must get your mind right for the task ahead. When you are running your own business you must be proactive, not reactive. You have to take what is yours and even take what is not yours. You must live your business every day. The work will be harder and the hours will be longer but for now, the goal isn’t to work less. It’s to work for you, to have your own business. Don’t let anything get in your way.
Identify And Go to Market With Your MVP
In Silicon Valley, they use a practice of releasing their “Minimum Viable Product” also known as their MVP. This practice allows them to bring their base product to a market without being fully developed. By doing this they can assess whether there is a marketplace for said idea and if there is, they can grow that market by building on their product. If they discover the market is not there, they risk less both in time and capital is lower than if they brought it to market full formed. There is now time and money to regroup and re-assess. This is your potential business’ built in fail safe. There is still a drawing board to go back to, maybe the fix is easy, maybe it’s more complicated. Either way you will know what needs to be done without suffering a fatal hit.
If it works for Silicon Valley, it will work for you. Assess your market instead of jumping off without looking. If there’s one thing you don’t want to do spectacularly, it’s fail. Not while there are so many other options and fail safes, and failure is not forever unless you want it to be.
A “Minimum Viable Product” is not a lousy product or a half-developed product. It is a quality, well crafted, well developed idea or product at its simplest form. Building a product like this sounds easy or simple, but there is a fear in doing so. Some want the comfort of development without having to sell and have dreams of success upon product completion.
That’s just not gonna happen.
Consider & Research The Crowdfunding Approach
Everyone wanting to start their own business should research their idea and the potential existing competitors. If you have a product, you need to look into what is already being brought to the market. For example, the search engine field would not be a viable market, unless you have something that will blow everyone’s socks off.
The benefit of crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter is they can serve as research platforms to suss out similar products or ideas. If you want to bring out a multi-functional cooler, you may be too late. Search around, maybe your idea isn’t as innovative as you think it is, maybe there’s ten ideas out there just like it. Is your’s betters? Is it priced competitively? Does it appear viable? Be honest. You can save a lot of time and money by seeing what’s already out there and what is being developed. With sites like Kickstarter & even Google it’s all right there for you to see.
Establish Your Own Rules
Both of comedian Dave Chappelle’s parents were University Professors. When Dave Chappelle started out on his journey being a comedian, he told himself as long as he could make a teacher’s salary, he would be happy and he would like it a lot more than being a teacher. He didn’t have to become a multi-millionaire to consider himself a success. Doing the job he loved and making a living while doing it was enough for him.
You need to find what works for you both professionally and financially. Maybe it’s making more than you make now, maybe you are comfortable making less as long as you are happy. However, setting a solid salary or earning goal is important.
Leave Your Job on Good Terms
If you are ready to move on and have your plans in place, your product thought out and your business plan set, then you might be ready to quit your job. This is as important a step as any other on your journey. Leaving your current job on good terms is important not only for yourself but for the place you are leaving. Rather than go out in a blaze of glory, make sure that you have an amicable split. Firstly, you will have a group of established contacts for your new business. Secondly, it will help you practice navigating a challenging or potentially uncomfortable situation.
If you have been thinking of starting your own business, or growing your side project into a full time job, there are a number of factors to consider. Most importantly of which is what you want to do and the various tips highlighted above. You may need help or seek advice from others, but only you will be able to determine whether or not you are ready to take the leap. It won’t be easy, it will take time. The above steps will get you started; you need to take yourself the rest of the way.
Do you think you have what it takes to run your own business? I’d love to hear your ideas and what’s actually stopping you from making the leap or what pushed you to do it in the comments below.