Just over a year ago, I quit my job to try my hand at being an entrepreneur—before I knew what that really meant. What I wanted to do was create something that matters, do work that is meaningful in some way.
This isn’t one of those success stories about quitting the corporate world to instant happiness and wealth. Far from it.
My path was up and down, up and down.
- I got great clients, and then hit roadblocks when I lacked clear communication.
- I hired a staff, and then downsized 100%.
- I hated dealing with finances but then took on all accounting tasks myself.
- I loathed standing in long lines at government offices but then learned how to do all of that online.
Hindsight is 20/20, and there are some things I just wish I had known before quitting my job.
Here are the three questions I wish I had asked myself before quitting my job, if only to make the transition smoother:
1. Is the market ready for my idea?
The first fear I faced when contemplating a job move was this:
What if I don’t make any money?
Leaving a job’s security is scary, but very worthwhile if done right. If you truly want to go out on your own, consider the market carefully and consistently. Chances are you have great skills you can offer clients, but you may also want to develop some kind of product offering (like an eBook), too.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about whether or not the market is ready for you:
- Is there a need for my service or product?
- How much are my competitors charging for similar offerings?
- Can I do what I want to (write eBooks or become a painter) while maintaining the lifestyle I dream of?
- Who are my potential customers: big businesses, small businesses, individuals, athletes, moms? (The more specific you get, the better your results will be.)
Being clear on how well your ideas and plan fit into the market will help you avoid so many headaches in the future.
2. Is my idea ready for the market?
Brainstorming a new project or idea can be so much fun. It’s the creative process that feels freeing and light—it’s a direct manifestation of the purpose that drives us.
To make any idea work, however, there are some things that go past brainstorming. For example:
- How will you price your product to achieve your goals?
- How will you reach your potential customers?
- Will you make money off your idea forever or just one-off sales?
- If your customers have questions, how will you handle servicing them?
- How will you manage expectations when you gain a new customer or project?
These are just a few issues I struggled with starting out. There are many more questions to answer in preparing your idea for the market.
The only real way is to read, read, read and study, study, study what is out there.
3. Who can help launch my new project?
This is probably the question I missed the most in the beginning of my quest to living an awesome life out on my own. I can’t even imagine all the mistakes I could have skipped and all the connections I could have made if I had given this question the thought it deserves.
A community of peers gives an idea superpowers, launching it to success.
Once I discovered this amazing superpower, it became the most used tool in my toolset.
When I have an idea or a doubt in my mind, I turn to my small tribe of peers. I probably call on them way too much! Their input, though, is invaluable. Without their final touches, I could never have reached sustainability, freedom, and happiness.
To enlist the help of awesome people, I reach out online just as much as in person. I’ve made great friends through Twitter, but my favorite way of connecting and collaborating with people is through events like conferences. By combining the physical and digital world, I find relationships truly thrive.
What This Means For You
If you are desiring a change in career or a new way to do meaningful work, I applaud your courage—but I also urge you to plan for the ups and downs to come.
Like everything in life, there is a learning curve. I hope these three questions keep your learning curve from becoming too steep.
If you have any questions or comments, please share them below.