Proudly handing in your notice to work full time in the business you have built on the side is a vision many entrepreneurs share. Why shouldn’t you be proud of that? Starting a business that generates enough profit to support yourself is a tremendous accomplishment.
The world has gone start-up crazy in the last 12 months. 2020 was a record year for start-up creation in the UK according to Companies House data. As an entrepreneur and champion of startups, this inspires me. However, many entrepreneurs will be questioning if they should quit their job and go all-in on their startups.
After you have done so much great work to start and grow your business to the point where you could leave your job, the last thing you want to do is throw that away with a hastily made decision.
No matter what industry your business is in, there is a time where you must decide whether to back yourself, leave your job and work full-time on your business.
Before you do, ensure you consider the following points.
Have you got enough savings in place? These are not funds for your business. These are savings for expenses that occur in everyday life- such as rent, mortgage, car payments, and groceries. Without at least six months of expenses covered, entrepreneurs make decisions that sacrifice the long-term profitability of their business in return for short-term gain – and that’s a best-case scenario.
Often what happens is that in the cash-strapped stage of most early start-ups, entrepreneurs without their basic expenses covered make poor decisions that contribute to the failure of the business. When starting a business the odds are not your favour, so give yourself every opportunity to succeed.
If you do not have any more time to work on your growing business, it is a sure-fire indication that you may need to leave your job. Time is finite. A regular nine to five leaves you with only a few hours each day or the weekend to work on your business. If your to-do list is backing up with high-priority tasks that you have no time for, then the time might be right for you to leave your full-time role.
Ask yourself if you have fully validated your business idea. Do you know with a high degree of certainty that the market is ready for your product or service? Can you prove the concept? Even on a small scale. Have you looked at what else is in the market and how you can solve a problem or enhance an experience?
Jumping into a business idea that you have not validated is the wrong thing to do, no matter how excited you are to leave your job. I’ve seen far too many entrepreneurs jump in without validating their ideas and conducting the research beforehand. They almost always fail. I’ve
learned to be as prepared as possible before entering the market.
I have one final piece of critical advice. Ensure you have a mentor in place before you leave your job.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in over 25 years of entrepreneurship, it’s that other people’s opinions are more important than my own. Mentorship was critical to the success of my businesses early in my career. It helped me learn one of the crucial lessons that I’ve carried with me in every business that I have started.
“WE” Is Smarter Than “ME”
There is huge value in having another experienced entrepreneur or business owner to turn to for advice and support.
Entrepreneurship can be lonely sometimes, and mentorship helps bridge the divide between your ideas and your reality. Mentors deeply relate to the situations you will find yourself in and the challenges of entrepreneurship. They understand the skills and personal characteristics required to thrive in entrepreneurship. Most importantly – they have direct experience in making the kind of decisions you will need to make as an entrepreneur.
A final point. It is imperative to leave your job with grace. No business is failure-proof. Despite your best efforts and intentions, it may not succeed. I advise any entrepreneur leaving their job to do so with grace and courtesy.
You never know what the future holds.