Often these new business owners find they do really well. They quickly find a market and make money. But at other times, they stumble. They fail to make money and can’t return to a job they liked as much as the one they left.
So … what are the guidelines?
(1) Know your own risk profile.
Some people sleep well when they owe hundreds of thousands of dollars. Others can’t sleep when their income drops below hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Some people soar when they cut all ties.
“I deliberately made myself unemployable,” said one brilliantly successful entrepreneur. “That was my motivation.”
Some people freeze like deer in the headlights when they lose their anchoring income. They feel more comfortable when there’s a safety net, the way drivers can go faster when there’s a guard rail to protect them from falling down the side of the road.
(2) If you are starting a business, get some traction and solid evidence that you have a market for what you offer before you quit your job.
It’s better to have $300 a month coming in steadily than $3000 one month and nothing the next. You can build on a foundation of consistent income, even if you totally change your business model.
Don’t let anyone tell you, “You can always go back to a job.” Terrific jobs don’t come along every day.
A field can change overnight. When I got my Ph.D., we had 5 or 6 jobs for every graduate. Five years later, the situation was reversed: we had 5 or 6 graduates for every job.
(3) Make sure you have at least 6 months earnings saved (a year is better). You will need money to get started. I’ve had people tell me they can’t afford a $97 course even though they know that course contains information they need. If you’re in that situation, you can’t be in business.
(4) Review your own background. In my experience, if you’ve done any kind of selling you have a greater chance of entrepreneurial success than if you do anything else. If you have strong people skills, you’re also in great shape (even if you work on the Internet). Corporate executives and military officers often do well because they have discipline and know how to function in a system.
(5) Test your entrepreneurial mindset. For instance:
— You pay for everything, from postage stamps to mentoring Barter usually backfires.
— You make things happen; you don’t get assignments.
— You have to be persistent; it’s no accident that some business owners are described as “driven.”
(6) Take everyone’s success story with a big grain of salt. I love stories like, “I didn’t have any money so I maxed out my credit card to get into a $10,000 training program. Now I’m becoming a millionaire.” Maybe they did, but there’s probably an X factor they’re not telling you.
(7) Spend prudently and know where to invest your dollars.
You don’t need a big, expensive website to get started (although you do need a website). You don’t need a lot of fancy furniture. But if you have people coming to you, you’ll need a clean, pleasant office where they can feel safe. I once knew someone who quit to start her lifelong dream of owning a restaurant, but couldn’t afford a prime location.
If you’d like to talk about your own next step, I’d be happy to work with you. Please visit