According to a report by Intouch Accounting, around 40% of Britains contemplate quitting their job and heading out on their entrepreneurial adventure but are held back by financial concerns - lack of funding to get off the ground, the absence of a secure monthly salary; fear of responsibility and additional stress were also factors.
Now you may be thinking that you have the best job in the world, with the most caring boss, and you couldn't be happier. In which case, congratulations! But if you have yearnings to sack the boss and are already imagining your daily commute to the spare bedroom, you may want to keep reading.
Many employees don't realise that they could be doing things very differently. We are encouraged from our early childhood to work hard at school, go to college, get a degree, find a job, so we become programmed to accept that this is the norm. Free-thinking is often discouraged, creativity squashed. I will always remember my high school Careers Advisor telling me that my future most definitely lay in retail management, despite my life-long passion for science!
So what are the warning signs that it may be time to quit your job? Some are obvious - sleepless nights, stress, anxiety, lack of appetite, dreading the commute to work, deterioration in physical health. Others may be less so; they may seem innocuous, "normal", they may have crept in over a long period of time, almost without being noticed. These may include lack of personal development or promotion opportunities; boredom brought on by routine or not learning anything new. There may have been a gradual change in mood or temperament; an inability to focus, a lack of passion for the job; feelings of not fitting in anymore. A constantly "revolving door" of staff joining and leaving the company can be a sure sign that things are not as they should be. Perhaps something is telling you that it's time to move on.
For me, it was chest pains and a trip to A&E that made me realise it was time to go, although I suspect I had chosen to ignore many of the other warning signs way before then!!
So is it time to quit your job and work for yourself?
There are many schools of thought around this, depending on who you ask (and how successfully they made their own transition). Some will tell you to plan everything out, to the minutest detail, before you even consider quitting your job. Others will take the gung ho approach and tell you "just do it and worry about the 'how' later". Jeff Steinmann* offers a more balanced approach and some great advice in his article "12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Quit Your Job and Start Your Own Business". Among these are:
- Are you willing to give up some things in the short-term?
- Are you ready to accept feedback?
- Are you confident enough to IGNORE feedback?!!
- Are you cool with failure?
- Are you willing to take full responsibility for whatever happens?
and, in my opinion, the most important one - are you willing to do whatever it takes?!
If you've experienced any of the warning signs mentioned previously, and you can answer all of these questions confidently "YES" and with 100% conviction, then it may just be the right time to quit your job and go it alone.
What's the secret to success if I work for myself?
I won't profess to knowing the definitive formula that will ensure success. But there are some key elements to address before you make the move. You must know what you're going to do, for a start! It may seem obvious, but many small businesses fail because the new business owner chose the wrong idea or marketplace. There are infinite options available to the budding entrepreneur (just Google "Small Business Ideas" and you'll return over 76 million search results!). You may want to become an Affiliate Marketer and build an online business, open a coffee shop, be a web designer, a dog-walker. Whatever it is, you should already have your niche clear in your mind way before you quit your job!
One no-compromise factor of your business idea is that you MUST be passionate about it - there's no boss, no deadlines, no "Time & Attendance" system to force you to get out of bed! It's down to you and how much you love it.
Don't rush into it - make sure that it's financially doable. If your household finances can't afford to take a hit when the monthly salary disappears, for at least the next 12 months (and you don't have a string of willing investors lined up), then be prepared to start your business part-time to begin with around your current commitments. If you're looking to stay within your current niche (and you have an understanding boss!), start by reducing your hours at work and try freelancing - it's a good stepping stone to setting up on your own. You'll learn how to manage your own finances, working hours, marketing, etc, whilst maintaining the stability that comes from your part-time salary.
Discipline!!! YOU are the boss now! Be disciplined with your time. When you're scheduled to work, then work. If you start out working from home, then let others in the house know when you are "at the office". It's all too easy to get distracted by kids, pets, the TV, the weather; household chores will suddenly seem more urgent when you have a lengthy business proposal to write.
Be absolutely clear on your goals, your purpose, your mission. And remember to focus on others - be a problem-solver, a life-changer. Build relationships everywhere you go. Only then will people want what you're offering. And only then will you be successful.
You must become the best student you can be. Study yourself, your marketplace, your competition; be prepared to retrain and become an expert; the right skills are essential (and not just hard skills; you must also learn the "soft" skills of resilience, resourcefulness and flexibility!).
Team up with the best people to help you succeed. That might be your business partner, your accountant, your spouse, or your Yoga instructor! If you need to retrain, make sure you find the best training provider to ensure you have all the skills you need - and don't forget to work on your mindset! For me, because my husband and I wanted to build a business online, I chose to work with the Six Figure Mentors - not only the best educators in this marketplace, with the most cutting-edge training platforms to help its members earn while they learn, but the best support network and community of like-minded people who I can share ideas and challenges with. They are an invaluable and integral part of our business plan.
The beauty of doing this now is that there are vast opportunities available to us that didn't exist 20 or even 10 years ago. The explosion of the digital economy, for instance, presents us with an ever-changing landscape, with more opportunities than ever to quit our job and work for ourselves, not just for the tech-savvy Millennials, but for all of us (see my recent blog on this topic).
Entrepreurship isn't for everyone - some like the structure, discipline and the stability (to some extent) that a salaried job can bring. Remember, working for yourself will cost you - in time AND in money! If you can't invest both into your new venture, on some level, then perhaps now is not the right time.
It's OK to be afraid. This is, for many, a huge step into the unknown. Just be sure before you take the leap that your desire to succeed is greater than your fear of failing. Believe in yourself. If you're not already in your dream job, don't wait around for someone else to give it to you. Go create your own. It's the best decision I ever made, and it could be yours too.
To learn more about our training mentors and what they could offer you, click here to watch a short video with SFM Co-Founders Stuart Ross and Jay Kubassek.
*You can read Jeff Steinmann's full article here
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