When you have a job that gives you a regular paycheque and a certain amount of stability, it can be hard to consider giving that up to go out on your own.
But when the startup desire grows greater and greater within you, it's time to get serious about how you can make the personal pivot from employee to entrepreneur.
So many aspiring entrepreneurs don’t ever get started as their fears of failure, losing security and lack of 9-5 structure is greater than the pull of more ownership, more autonomy, and potentially more money if the start-up goes well.
Running a start-up is an adventure, if that adventure spirit is burning inside you, here is how to overcome some of the key hurdles that come up when quitting your job and embarking on the startup journey.
1. Knowing when to quit the day job
Glide rather than leap by starting your business on the side first. Keep your risk low by testing out your idea, gaining confidence in your proposition and see if you like being entrepreneurial after all. Set aside dedicated time each week to work on your business. Take it seriously and start giving yourself structure from the very beginning. Once you get momentum and have good energy with your idea, then you’ll know when the time is right.
2. Financial panic
Get clear on both your personal financial situation and your business model. Know your numbers. What and where do you spend your money? What do you need to earn? What would you like to earn? How can you get more money savvy? Do the same with your business model. Knowing your numbers is how you can grow a good business rather than nurturing a hobby. You will then see whether you want a “cash cow” style job to tide you over during the early stages.
3. Leaving with nothing
The world is a small place and your network is gold. When you are ready to quit, resign with grace and maintain your relationships with co-workers, suppliers and your network. Keep them informed of what you are planning to do, stay interested in them by connecting with them outside of your work email using LinkedIn or other social media. You never know you who may help you and your plans in the future.
4. Not having a clear vision
If you start out with a vague vision, you are leaving your outcome to chance. Spend time thinking about where you want this business to take you and why? If you were to time travel forward into a future space where your startup is going really well, what do you see, hear and feel? Have you just sold your company? Got your product on the shelf of X store? Hit a number? Turn this vision into a poster and look at it every day. This will keep you focused and motivated.
5. Fear of failure
Fearing the “F” word drives perfectionism. Overplanning, over thinking and procrastination, are all because we fear negative feedback and looking silly. Sadly, the more you plan and perfect, the more time and money you risk losing. The most successful entrepreneurs embrace a lean mindset, they test ideas quickly and imperfectly, gather raw feedback and then tweak. They treat the feedback as a gift. To overcome your fears, take imperfect action. Work in 90 day pilot periods where you create a speedy version of your idea and then test, learn & iterate.
6. Marketing overwhelm
From social media to SEO, marketing is a hugely complex business to learn. It’s tempting to try to run five social media channels, write weekly blogs and learn to podcast, but this is a recipe for burnout. Find the beauty in mastering one marketing channel that will drive traffic into your sales funnel. Choose the channel which will bring you the most joy to learn, become an expert in that one channel, track everything and see how each tiny tweak and pivot affects your business results.
7. Hearing no
Not everyone is going to love your startup idea. This is OK. People will tell you no. People will say it is not for them. Don’t let them stop you in your tracks. They are not your target audience. Instead, get super clear about the people your product/service does help and find that market. Focus on understanding your consumer inside out, who are they, where are they, what are their needs. When you create something truly useful for your actual target consumer and let them know about it, you will start hearing yes.