I Quit My Office Job To Start A Business: Here's My Advice
Ever wondered “is this it”?
Waking up at 7 am to catch a crowded morning train. Sitting at the office from 9am to 5pm, getting home tired and exhausted and doing it all over again the next day. And the next. And the next. Until… retirement.
But there's another path where you're the boss of your life. You decide your hours and where and how you work.
Make no mistake: Entrepreneurship is hard. It requires sacrifice, hard work, and persistence.
I should know. Leaving a cushy life as a lawyer to work online – sometimes I wonder how I ever had the courage to pull the plug.
If I can do it, you can, too. You can overcome your insecurities and objections, start a business and create a lifestyle that you love.
But, there are things you should know that will help you get ahead.
Here's specifically what I wish someone had told me before I quit my job and started a business...
1. "Eat a frog" (lots of them!).
As an entrepreneur, there are many fears holding you back: Will you make any or enough money? What if you mess up your career? What if you fail?
Woah, no wonder you feel overwhelmed!
But still, you need to face your fears and overcome them.
Mark Twain said: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
What this means is that when you've done one scary or unpleasant thing, everything else feels easy and effortless.
From now on, start every day by addressing your fears.
For example, in his book “The 4-Hour Work Week”, Timothy Ferriss challenges his readers to reach out to people who are way beyond their reach (think: Google's CEO).
Why? Most people are extremely scared of reaching out to people they don't know, let alone authoritative people.
But at the same time, you might be surprised by how many people get back to you if you ask in a nice way.
So, from now on, I challenge you to start every day by doing something that feels scary and completely out of your comfort zone.
Will it pay off? More than you can imagine.
2. Embrace failure.
Here's the thing: Failure is inevitable. You will probably fail, even if it's in a small way.
But there's a silver lining: If you fail once, twice, even three times, that doesn't mean that you won't eventually succeed.
In fact, you WILL succeed. Why wouldn't you?
The majority of some of the most successful entrepreneurs failed at least once.
Sara Blakely failed the LSAT and sold fax machines door-to-door in her late twenties. Today, she's the billionaire founder of Spanx.
Mark Cuban got fired from jobs and opened and closed a lot of businesses before he founded his first successful business, Microsolutions (which later sold for billions).
Even Travis Kalanick went through bankruptcy before founding a million-dollar business and later, Uber.
Now that you've realized that failure is going to happen and you will overcome it, you can move on. That's right – you're now much better equipped to face failure.
After all, failure is only failure if you call it that. In the end, it's all about learning and growing.
Which brings us to our next point...
3. Keep learning.
As an entrepreneur, you overcome obstacles and challenge yourself all the time.
You need to because there's no one else who'll do it for you.
But how do you prepare for this? You keep learning.
Start reading blogs, articles, and books and listen to podcasts. There's tons of information out there and by constantly consuming it, you take steps to achieve your goal.
Make sure you set aside time each and every day to learn.
4. Shrug off doubters.
They're everywhere: Your parents, siblings, friends, partners, uncles and even your grandma. No one seems to believe in your idea or your potential to make it on your own.
And you know what? They might be right… at times.
Your idea might not take off right away, and you might be working long hours.
Want to know a secret, though?
You should be grateful. They probably do this because they care. They want what's best for you and entrepreneurship certainly isn't the securest option out there.
At the same time, you need to let what they say go in one ear and out the other.
Only you know what you're capable of, so it doesn't matter what other people say or do. In the end, you're the one who determines if you'll make it or not.
5. Save up!
It doesn't come as a surprise: Entrepreneurship is risky.
Initially, you might be making less money. And sometimes, you take one step forward and two steps back.
Financial stress can be pretty rough. It affects your self-esteem, cognitive functioning and causes emotional and physical pain.
Plus, you'll be much more vulnerable to bad deals and setbacks. You might even end up agreeing to some pretty bad terms because you're in dire need of the money.
To spare yourself from unnecessary worries, you should start saving up.
Put aside some money every month. If you're not currently working, there are tons of ways in which you can make extra money without skills or lots of experience, like driving cars, delivering food or babysitting.
How much you save depends on your expenses and the business you intend to build. However, a good rule of thumb is to save at least six months of living expenses before you start your business.
That way, you give yourself space and time to build a healthy and successful business from the start.
6. Start right now.
As Virgin Airlines founder and CEO Richard Branson puts it: "Successful people start before they feel ready."
That doesn't mean you have to dive in head first.
In fact, it might be better if you start small. As humans, we easily become overwhelmed and stop in our tracks if we are presented with too big a challenge and feel intimidated.
That said, you do need to start. How else will you ever move forward and start your business?
Entrepreneurship is a long journey. By getting started and taking the first step, you're already one step closer to reaching your goal.
An excellent way to start right now without overwhelming yourself is to start a side gig while you still work your nine-to-five.
You can sell a specific skill and start freelancing. Or, you can try out your business idea on a smaller scale to see if it works.
Whatever you do, take that first step and see where the road leads you.
Remember, starting a business is within your reach.
Your big dream is within your immediate reach.
Sure, it takes determination, tenacity, and courage. But being able to live your life the way you want to live it? I'll all be worth it and more.