December 2, 2015

Should You Quit Your Job to Start a Business?

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Thinking of quitting your 9 to 5 job, and starting your own business? Not so fast. Taking the leap haphazardly can easily turn your dream into a nightmare. The challenges of a business startup can lead you to burn out. Furthermore, the investments you put into starting your venture can be too invaluable to lose. Once a startup fails, the investment dies with it as well. It is imperative that you reflect on your decision. Before you answer the question, take some time to discern while considering all aspects relevant to deciding if should you quit your job to start a business. Should you quit your job and start a business? Before you answer this question, CorpNet CEO, Nellie Akalp provides a list of questions that could help you arrive at a sound decision.

7 questions to ask yourself before you quit your job to start a business

1. What are your reasons for preferring self-employment?

People quit their job and start a business out of frustration. The rule of the thumb is to never start a business for the sole reason of escaping from your current job. You may not like your current job, but that should not be the motivator to start your own business. Perhaps searching for another line of work that interests you makes a better option. Avoid the bitter result of losing both – your job and your investments. Akalp writes:

“If you’re truly passionate about your business idea, that’s fantastic. But if you’re just mad at your employer, that’s not a good enough reason to become an entrepreneur.”

2. Are you disciplined?

Akalp tells us why discipline is important in leading a business:

“You need to be able to put in long hours in order to set up your website, marketing, blog, and more – and you’ll need to be able to put your nose to the grindstone even when there’s no boss to set your schedule.” (Read full story here.)

Business is more demanding than your boss. Just make sure that you can cope with the demands of your business especially during the startup phase.

3. How do you like variety?

The business world is fast and noisy, contrary to the monotony of your job. In business, you get to meet different people. Furthermore, the business world is very unpredictable. So, if you don’t want variety and unpredictability, then entrepreneurship is not for you. Akalp writes:

“When you run a small business, you’ve got to wear a virtually endless number of different hats…from sales to customer support and IT.”

4. “Can you be your own sales person?

Startup needs financing. One way to acquire the necessary financing is to approach lenders. But it requires guts and know-how to get them sign the check. If you are not comfortable asking for money, then having a business may not be a good option for you. Let me reiterate Akalp:

“You’ll have to deal with all the financial aspects of your business: negotiations, contracts, etc. If you’re not comfortable asking for money, you’ll have to get comfortable fast.”

5. Are you financially capable for the short-term?

Akalp advises:

“Be realistic about your financing and don’t try to extend yourself beyond your means. Ideally, you should be able to support yourself for at least 6 months to a year through other avenues – whether that’s your savings, a partner’s income, or a part-time job.”

Many startups die, because of the lack or insufficient capital. If you are not comfortable asking money from lenders and do not have the capital to sustain the business even in the short-term, stay away from business.

6. Are you willing to give up a steady lifestyle?

A steady paycheck, 4-weeks paid vacation, employer-paid health insurance are a few of the many things that an employed person enjoys. Are you willing to give up on these? As I have said earlier, the business world is unpredictable. Akalp stresses:

“You’ll need to be able to handle the uncertainty and lean times…both financially and mentally.”

7. Is business your passion?

Business is about passion. Business without passion is like a person without a soul. You must love what you do for it to be fruitful. It’s not all about the money. Business also includes the intangibles. Akalp relates:

“Customers spend money on products and services that fulfill their own needs and desires. To turn a profit, focus on how your passion can make a difference to others.”

Owning a business is an opportunity and a privilege, but not everybody is wired to become entrepreneurs. If you think that because business has worked for many, it would apply to you, too. I must warn you that too much optimism can cloud your judgment. You need to consider many aspects of running a business that may not offer the same sense of security as a regular job does. So before you even decide of quitting your job, think again.

What other pointers should someone consider before starting a business? Share us your thoughts. Leave your comment below.

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