Have you had enough of someone telling you what to do? Do you have great ideas that your boss won’t pay attention to? Are you fed up with working long hours but not earning more no matter how hard you work? There are many reasons why you want to quit your job to start a businesses. However, there are massive hazards that can damage the early years.
There are 31.7 million small businesses in America, making up 99.9% of all U.S. businesses.
With 3.96 billion total social media users across all platforms, if you think setting up a website or social media page will deliver business, you’re likely wrong. More than 90% of web pages receive zero organic traffic from Google.
So, how to quit your job to start a business successfully?
How (And When) to Quit Your Job And Start a Business
The hardest lesson people won’t tell you about is that first step on your own — when to quit your job?
I can’t tell you to quit your job and just go for it because you could be the kind of person that likes stability and certainty (something often lacking in business, so learn to get more comfortable with that!) and may need a level of funding that means it’s not an option.
On the other hand, you could already have a few lucrative customers lined up and feel you’ve got enough of the above in place to jump in with both feet. I’d advise you to complete the 13 strategies (that I’ll talk about below) and create a start date that’s three to nine months in the future with clearly defined goals and actions for every month.
It could be a start date to quit and start full time in your own business:
- If so, how much money will you need to bring in every month to cover your existing bills?
- How many customers would that equate to?
- Are you going to be content to match your current salary or can you take a decrease in salary to get you going?
- Do you need a level of savings in place to take the pressure off?
- Do you thrive on pressure, or does it make you shut down?
The alternative is if your employer allows a side business (remember if you’re at risk of running off with their customers, it may be outside the remit of your employment contract, so check what is allowed), what time can you dedicate to starting part-time?
- When will you be full-time?
- Do you like structure? If so, what date will that be?
- What marketing strategy and business model will you need to employ to achieve part-time status, salary, and customer levels?
When I do this with clients, we often explore the process of quitting day. What actions and goals will see you reaching that “quit day”?
Ultimately, it is scary going it alone. You often move from an organization that has someone to do everything from accounts and legal matters to data protection and marketing. Now, it is all going to be down to you.
Don’t go alone—you could easily find yourself outside of the law and operating illegally.
For instance, in the UK, all businesses must be registered with the ICO because businesses have access to data. You can face an instant £400 (approximately USD500) fine if you aren’t registered.
What are the laws on this in your country? What other laws and insurances do you need to consider? You will need to research about these.
If you’re still wondering if you should quit your job or not, you may want to check with these signs first.
How to Ensure Success If You Want to Quit Your Job to Start a Business
Below are 13 key strategies that you should know to ensure your success if you want to quit your job and start a business.
1. Get Your Confidence in Check
I can write you the best marketing strategy, business model, products, and services, but without the right level of confidence, you will damage what you achieve.
- How will you pick up the phone and ask for the contract/business/feedback/reviews?
- How will you have faith that people will come to you instead of the competition?
- How will you have the guts to put yourself out there to win awards? Get in the media? Or attend networking events?
- How will you stop hiding and go live on social media so you can create an interested audience ready to buy your product?
I’ve helped thousands to rocket their confidence. Don’t scrimp on this action. You need to understand and monitor your confidence. On my website, there are tons of resources to get your confidence in check.
2. Do Research Before Deciding on Your Products
Just because your Mum/Brother/Best mate said it’s a great idea, it doesn’t make it a business. (I will talk more about friends and family later.)
Find out what’s available. Do your research now to help you determine your products and services, price points, customers, opportunities and threats, and even your brand and marketing.
3. Dedicate Enough Time
How you will make yourself available to build a business? Because that ensures its sustainability, too. On average, you want about 25% of your time available to start your own business.
However you manage your time, you must communicate your decision and ensure those around you adhere to those boundaries. It’s one of the biggest sources of stress I see in business owners—not making enough time to create the business they want.
4. Understand What Motivates You
People won’t tell you that, at times, you’ll work ridiculously hard and have nothing to show for it. That can be soul-destroying.
To combat this, know why you want to quit your job and go it alone. It’s not enough to say it’s because you want to make money and work when you want. You have to understand what motivates you.
Ideally, create a thorough list of things that will make you motivated no matter what the task—on a dreary Monday when you’ve got a stinky cold and just want to crawl back into bed. This list is crucial.
5. Identify Your Values
What values matter to you most? Often, I see business owners who aren’t satisfied despite making fairly good profits and enjoying most aspects of business because they aren’t running a business aligned to their values.
In Fight the Fear, there’s a strategy to help you understand what motivates you. It can be surprising how it differs from what you think and the impact it has on your business.
6. Look at the Big Picture
If you had the perfect business, what would it look like?
When answering this, if you don’t want to work Thursdays because you want to go to an art class, then write it. The big picture needs to address all areas of your life.
There are too many business owners who have cracked excelling at business but failed to grasp how to win at life, too, so they still aren’t happy!
7. Mind Your Pricing
Before you go out looking for your first sale if you were at capacity, would your prices give you the profit you want?
Don’t start with low prices and think you can put them up later. You risk having to find a whole new set of customers if you do this, so get the pricing right at the start. Can you see why confidence is so important?
8. Create 2 Business Plans
Most business plans take days to craft and then rarely see the light of day. You need to create a traditional, detailed business plan that you will use to get funding and a one-page document that is visual every day of the year.
In this, you want to include the following
- Goals – What will your business look like in one, five, and ten years?
- Action – What actions have you planned to achieve your goals?
- “Now” goals – These refer to the short-term things you need and long-term achievements you want.
- Strategy – What is the strategy to achieve these goals?
- Vision – What’s the vision that your business will fulfill? Look at this from two perspectives—what you want it to do for you and what you want it to do for your customers. You could include communities, awareness, environment, etc., too.
- Timing – When will you be able to quit that job? How many customers/sales will give you the profit margin you need? Get as specific as you can. It will make you accountable for the outcome.
- Profit – Of all the things to keep an eye on, few know their numbers as well as they should: What are your basic profit requirements (i.e., what can you survive on?), good level of profit (business is sustainably profitable), and exceptional profit (money is available for investment in the business, rainy days—they do happen—or tax bills)?
- SWOT – It’s a well-trusted strategy to consider your Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats. But I would add “R n R” – Review and Reflect. Clients that see me once a month get the best results. If you want this, you must review and reflect regularly. It’s the first question I ask clients when we meet in the next session: What have you noticed? What has changed?
9. Shiny Does Not Make Brilliant
Of all the advice I can give you, this could save you thousands of dollars/yen/euros/pounds. Did you know anyone can set up a business that says it can help you grow your business?
They need no qualifications, they can just read some books, google some info, and set up programs and training for business.
Last year, I saw new clients who had spent over £175,000 (about USD219,000) investing in their business and achieved nothing. If the person that you are working with says it’s you and not them, then stop working with them.
If someone started working with me and didn’t achieve something after their first session, I’d ask:
“For what reason did you not take action? Do we need to look at your procrastination or are you not ready to work on your business?”
I’ve heard clients advised to put further payments on their credit cards! If your investment is not making you money, then stop and evaluate.
Things like Canva and Lumen 5 can make you look sleek and professional online (for free), but it also means you’ve easily duped into believing a pretty sales page or social media account.
To avoid this, ask to speak to customers, not look at reviews. Anyone can write those, and the unscrupulous write them for themselves!
10. Find the Best Way to Communicate
Communication is one of the defining issues for your new business.
- How will you communicate when you are unavailable so you can get on with working on your business?
- What boundaries will you set? If you were with a customer, you wouldn’t answer the phone. People will easily drain your time if you let them, so set boundaries and communicate their existence. Can you see how this strategy links to key strategy #3?
You need a strong powerful marketing message. Once you know what you are selling, to whom, at what price, and with what desired outcome, then you need to hone your understanding of your perfect customers. See strategy #11 for more on this.
Running a business you want to get to know, like, and trust people can make it awkward to have difficult conversations where you need to tell someone they aren’t delivering as promised or you need to increase your prices. Learning how to be comfortable with difficult conversations will help.
11. Understand Your Perfect Customers
I mentioned that family and friends are not your customers. Many make the mistake of listening to loved ones, “what a great idea, I’d buy that” and assume that’s a sale. It rarely is a sustainable route to market.
Ensure you’re not reliant on your mates to spread the word. Define your market—your customers. I coach clients to understand where their perfect customer shops, how they feel about the environment, how often they get their hair cut, and even what kind of car they drive. The more you define your customer, the more you know them.
Then, ask what language they use and ensure that features in your marketing strategy. This is essential for the next key strategy.
12. Social Media Is Not a Marketing Strategy
Social media can be a marketing strategy, but for the person looking to quit their full-time job, it rarely sits alone. Ideally, you will have eight to ten routes to market, such as the following:
- Hold events.
- Encourage online connection through social media, email campaigns, newsletters, and blogs.
- Networking – definitely network!
- Get in the local newspaper—for free, not paid!
- Get on the local radio or a relevant podcast.
- Google My business – ask every customer to post a review to GMB because it’s great for logistical businesses without spending any money on advertising.
- Publish your articles on relevant sites like Medium or industry-relevant sites. At The Business Women’s Network, we publish all of our member’s articles to help them with a wider reach.
13. Always Make Assumptions
Question your thoughts, actions, and beliefs at all times. It’s often where I find missed opportunities with clients.
- Are you following up as effectively as you could?
- Are you assuming it’s too early to enter an award? It’s not!
- Are you assuming that person has your best intentions at heart?
- Are you assuming yes is the right answer? Go back to these key strategies and your business plan—does it really fit?
Don’t Let the Fear Get You!
Reading these strategies to quitting your job, it can be all too easy to shut down to the idea—please don’t.
Get the right support around you (not friends and family), get the right business model and marketing strategy, and ask for help.
It’s scary to say “I don’t know the answer to this.” That’s why business (even self-employment) is better together—there are over 400 million small businesses globally, so please do join us.
If you follow these 13 strategies, you could be quitting your job within months. How exciting is that? And if you do, get in touch and tell me how it’s going.
Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com
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