Cubicles. Endless meetings. Pointy haired bosses. Executives without a clue. Tedious PowerPoints. There's a lot not to like in the typical 9-5 job. Then there's the lure of starting your own business. Being your own boss. Creating something that you really like -- and perhaps making it big, if it resonates with the market. If those Instagram guys could do it, why not you? After all your idea is so much better.
There are just so many reasons for becoming an entrepreneur, that, if you have the itch, it starts to seem foolish not to.
As entrepreneurs ourselves, we couldn't agree more. But have you thought this through, or are you just blindly following your dream? In this post, we'll go through a list of things you should be aware of before you quit your job.
#1 Do you really have to quit your job?
A lot of startup ideas can be pursued on the side -- while you are still working on your day job. Of course if your day job requires frequent overtime or constant "death marches" to meet impossible deadlines that might not be an option. If not, though, why not start out with your startup dream while still having the safety of a day job? It's a myth that being an entrepreneur is "all or nothing". You can always quit your job later. However, if you really want to quit your job, do it properly.
#2 Do you have enough money saved?
While your new business takes off and/or gets bought by Google, you're gonna still need to be able to pay the rent, feed yourself, etc. And you're also gonna need to pay salaries to your startup employees, pay for office space, rent servers, and all that jazz. Unless you have enough saved to last you at least a year (startups take time to take off, or to even start attracting investors) you're not really ready to quit your day job. In which case, see advice 1.
#3 Do you have an understanding spouse?
Running a startup is a very hard and stressful venture. It's an emotional (and financial) roller coaster that can put strain on even the best of relationships. Before you make the jump, make sure that your spouse/significant other is fully supporting of your decision and shares your dream -- and even more so, that they will be there for you even if that dream fails (which startups frequently do).
#4 Gauging interest in your idea
You might have a grand vision for what your end product will be, but unless you have secured the funding and are 100% certain it will work in the market, don't try to build it. Build an MVP instead.
MVP, or "Minimal Viable Product" is the simplest and most cost effective version of your product that could possibly sell. You will use it to gauge interest, both in the general public and in investors, without "breaking the bank". Most succesful startups started with an MVP and moved to to add more features and build their final vision only after they got big.
#5 Do you have a plan B?
When startups succeed it is a wonderful thing. They have literally created something new -- even if it's just a social website for cats. When startups fail though, it can be ugly, especially financially. Your savings, your kids college fund, and sometimes even your house, might go down with them. Make sure you only invest what you can afford to invest -- and not more. In general, prefer investing other people's money. If other people are not that willing to invest in your startup, perhaps that's a sign that there's something wrong with either the idea or the execution.
In any case, you should have a fallback plan, a "plan B" so to speak. You could perhaps go back to your old job (so don't burn bridges there when quitting). Or you could start doing some freelancing gigs. It's not admitting defeat -- it's just losing a battle. You can always try again.
Go for it
I don't know who said it, but it's true. The main regrets you have in life is for things you haven't done. So if you really believe in your startup vision, our list is by no means meant to discourage you -- just to let you know that you should go after it carefully. But still -- go for it. And good luck.