I’m pleased to post this guest article from Ideaspired.com, a place where I get inspiration to live the kind of life I want.
Today’s post has practical guidance on quitting your job and starting your own business. If this idea inspires you, read on!
There’s a lot to love about a 9-to-5 job: a predictable schedule, a stable paycheck, and a benefits package to boot. But have you ever stopped to ask what that financial security really costs? I spent years dreading each workday. I’d wake up a ball of anxiety, trudge through the workday, and go home mentally exhausted only to rinse and repeat the following day. My bank account was full, but inside I felt empty and unfulfilled.
Fast forward to today and I’m working for myself, doing what I love, and earning good money doing it. So how did I make the leap? It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight. However, quitting my day job and becoming an entrepreneur was the best decision I ever made for my career.
Things you should do:
Find a profitable business idea.
Does your dream business have a market? Market research is the first place to start with any business idea. Market research tells you:
- The size of your market
- Customer demographics
- What your competitors are doing
- What customers will pay for your product or service
Market research isn’t all focus groups and massive surveys. Low-cost tactics like researching on Facebook and Reddit are surprisingly effective. If research reveals that your business idea doesn’t have legs, don’t despair. The point of market research is to challenge your assumptions so you end up with a more refined, profitable business plan. Look for information that helps you improve your product or narrow your niche to better meet the market’s needs.
Run your business like a business.
This may sound like common sense, but tons of first-time entrepreneurs treat their business like a hobby. What does it mean to treat a business like a hobby?
- Profit isn’t a priority
- Not planning for growth
- Emphasis on your wants vs. customer needs
- Not making time for marketing, accounting, and other business fundamentals
- Treating personal and business finances as one
Serious business owners, on the other hand:
Establish a legal business entity.
While a sole proprietorship or general partnership is technically a business entity, it doesn’t confer any benefits to the owner and may pose a risk. Entrepreneurs who want the liability protections of a corporation without the taxes and paperwork can form a limited liability company. Learn more about LLC formation and whether it makes sense for you.
Develop a business plan.
Not every business requires a formal business plan. However, you still need a guiding document for your business’s growth. At minimum, an internal working plan should include a description of your business and its products and services, a sales and marketing plan, and a financial plan.
Closely monitor finances.
Capital is the lifeblood of any business but it’s easy to run out if you don’t set and follow a budget, keep up with bookkeeping, manage accounts receivable and payable, and plan ahead for tax season. Business owners should also maintain an emergency fund to keep them afloat through slowdowns.
Have a transition plan.
Will you save up before starting a business, start your business on the side, or work part-time while building your business? It takes time for businesses to turn a profit. In the meantime, you still need to pay your bills. Planning ahead for financial security keeps your business sustainable long-term.
Your transition plan should also include developing skills as an entrepreneur. You don’t need to be an expert in business management to run a small business. However, these skills will make you a better business owner:
- Time management
- Financial literacy
- Project management
- Marketing and sales
Upskilling is very accessible for entrepreneurs. From free online courses to local resources from your Small Business Development Center or SCORE office, there are tons of resources to help you succeed.
You don’t need to be the next Steve Jobs to start a great business. Even if you don’t know the first thing about entrepreneurship, it’s possible to build a business from the ground up with the right resources, a strong business plan, and dedication. While you might not go from office drone to full-time business owner overnight, this advice will put you on the path toward achieving your dreams.