Disclaimer: I have a day job and two businesses on the side.
Many people dream about starting their own businesses and quitting their day jobs. On paper, being a business owner sounds like the perfect career option. You get to work for yourself and the benefits of business ownership can be quite lucrative.
However, this is only one side of the story because starting your own business won’t magically fix your life or help you escape a daytime job you hate. The fact is, business ownership can involve even longer hours of work than a regular job (and when you need to make every tiny decision when you start, you easily suffer from decision fatigue, speaking from my experience).
Unless you have the passion and drive to keep your business running you won’t be successful or happy. In short, you may or may not be ready to start your own business. I’ll talk more about whether starting a business is the right move for you, here.
Again, business ownership isn’t for everyone. It involves a big commitment in terms of money and time. So, you want to make the best choice for yourself.
How Do You Know It’s Time to Quit Your Job and Start Your Business?
1. You Have A Valid Reason For Starting Your Business
If you know why you are starting your business and know that you have value to contribute to the world, then it might be time to quit your job and follow your passions. People who know the purposes of their business projects and have clear goals and aims will have the best shot at being successful as an entrepreneur.
On the other hand, if you are merely quitting your job and getting into business to run away from a career you hate, then this might not be the right choice for you.
Again, entrepreneurship is not your magic pill to fix your life.
In fact, one of the last traits we found in successful entrepreneurs is a lack of courage to face and fix his/her problems.
2. You Have the Financial Stability to Support Your Business and Yourself
It can be thrilling to do something you are truly passionate about. However, if you don’t have the financial means to support your business, and yourself, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
Success is not an event and entrepreneurship is not your “Get Rick Quick” scheme. But if you are persistent, success will eventually come. You should therefore give your business, and yourself, the time to grow and succeed. You need to make sure you have money to spend during such learning time, and that you have a backup plan if you fail.
If you have the financial backing to start your business, and enough money saved up, then you might be ready to quit your job. Otherwise, growing your business as a side hustle until you can better support yourself, seems like a wiser plan for an entrepreneur that takes calculated risks.
3. You Can’t Squeeze Any Time Out for Your Business
When you feel like you are stretched too thin, you might feel like quitting your day job and going all-in on your business.
And I will ask you to pause here because Hey! you can always outsource your tasks for a price lower than your current hourly wage and save yourself time for more meaningful tasks (and likely you will get better results than doing them by yourself since most freelancers are experienced people). After all, it’s just a matter of considering the costs of outsourcing work vs. the cost of quitting your job entirely. You should choose the option that gives you the best outcome.
I still think about quitting my day job in finance when I feel mentally and physically overwhelmed by my ventures. Lucky me, my job has provided me with a stable income so every time I have that thought, I start outsourcing more tasks to freelancers. The results? I have more time to think strategically for my businesses and more importantly, I get to keep the job that I still enjoy doing.
4. You Have The Skills and Experience to Make Successful Business Decisions
Another important component of business ownership is competence. You don’t have to be an expert in marketing and business to get your venture up and running. But having a decent understanding of the business world will help you immensely.
Even though I have worked with quite a number of listed companies for years in my finance career, I have also felt defeated quite a number of times through my entrepreneurial journey, and I know it takes time to develop business competence.
The irony is you won’t really develop key business skills unless you get doing. Your financial situation can be a consideration here about whether you should quit your job. Can you financially support yourself during this learning period?
Give yourself the time and space to fail and learn and be competent in business, because in that case, you also make less hasty decisions.
Can You Keep Your Job and Still Run Your Business?
The risk of quitting and not quitting your job can be equally high. After all, it is your life and all I hope is to give you some perspectives on the topic.
In my opinion, really, not every business requires a full-time commitment. And, if you can make time to grow your side hustle into something profitable while staying at your job, you can make more money and have extra resources to put into your business.
Surprisingly, I started appreciating my job so much more as I worked on growing my business on the side. Every time I received that unexpected bill for my business (and there were many), I was just thankful for my job.
My entrepreneurial spirit has also started showing up in my day job. Because I refuse to provide services I am not proud of to my clients, an increasing number of them have started reaching out to me and seeking my advice (on their corporate transactions), and I interpret that as my advice does have value.
As a business owner, you have to make things happen on your own. And the high you get from making things happen can come from your day job as well. You may end up finding yourself enjoying your job just as much as owning your business.
To me, entrepreneurship is the best self-development program I have signed up for and I strongly encourage you to start your venture if you haven’t done so already.
Still, I hope you only start your business from a place of wanting to contribute more value to the world, rather than of wanting to escape from your life.
Being a business owner isn’t a fantasy you can escape into. It takes hard work and dedication.