How to ditch your job and become an entrepreneur? How do you make the leap from working a job for someone else to becoming an entrepreneur, and founder of your own business?
This is a transition that many more individuals are not only desiring to make, but in many cases, must make. There is nothing like it. It’s not always easy, but it is worth it.
The biggest thing that most people struggle with is not building the business itself, but making the step to leave their job and get going. So, how do you do it?
Realize How Important It Is
Really owning how important making this move is will give you the courage to do it, and momentum to follow through.
While money typically is not the driver for repeat entrepreneurs, becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business is often the only choice for achieving financial freedom and taking control of your own destiny.
Going to work at a big named company isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Even at the biggest multi-billion dollar businesses, it can mean no bathroom breaks, working over 100 hours a week, seven days a week, and ultimately barely making minimum wage.
Even if you stick it out, and work your way up the food chain over the next 20 years, and don’t get restructured and made redundant, and are able to save up a million or two in your retirement account, it probably won’t give you the freedom you expect.
More than this it is about living a full life, and not ending up full of regrets. It is about living your potential and having the impact you want to.
No one regrets becoming an entrepreneur.
No one ever wants to go back to a job for someone else after they’ve tasted it.
Even if it doesn’t go as planned. Yet, you’ll meet plenty of people who are riddled and eaten up with regret because they kept on putting it off, and life got away from them.
If you want to inspire and help others, or even your own kids, you have to ask yourself what example you want to lead by. Those people will copy what you do, not what you say.
Do you want them working like their entire lives, just for the hope of maybe one day enjoying a vacation or a couple of rounds of golf in Florida? Or do you want to inspire them more?
And if you do, how to ditch your job and become an entrepreneur?
Know Your Why
Building on the above, get real clarity on your why. Not only why you want to go the route of starting your own business instead of working for someone else, but this specific industry or type of business.
Why are you so passionate about solving this particular problem for these people?
Getting extreme clarity on this is what will keep you going when you doubt yourself, get discouraged or scared, and through all the challenges ahead.
This will also help you really make sure you are leaving to start on the right business idea.
If you need help with understanding how to evaluate a business idea, check out this video I have put together. It has some valuable directions that can help.
Just Get Started
Learning is good. You should never stop. You should equip yourself with all the knowledge that you can. Yet, that doesn’t mean that you should put off leaving your job to start a business.
The truth is that you can never know everything. Even once you think you are almost there, everything will change.
Going to a great college can do wonders for expanding your network. Getting an MBA can teach you a lot about how others have done it well or not in the past.
Yet, there are now many alternatives, that cost a lot less and deliver the content much faster too. You can absorb podcasts, books on M&A deals and fundraising, recruit advisors, and join intensive startup accelerators.
The latter of which can actually give you money to do your business, rather than charging you to learn.
Experienced entrepreneurs will tell you that the best and fastest way to learn startups and make real progress is to just get started. It will teach you far more in less time.
Just getting started now, is important so that you don’t get too comfortable. The longer you wait the scarier it will be, and the more excuses you will think up not to do it. Why wait? There are really no benefits to waiting.
So, how to ditch your job and become an entrepreneur?
Embrace Making Mistakes
Many would-be entrepreneurs and startup founders use the crutch of fear of not wanting to make mistakes as their excuse not to get started.
Veteran entrepreneurs will tell you that there is no use in worrying. You are going to make mistakes anyway. No matter how much more time you spend learning or honing it, you will make mistakes.
You can only get through them by making them. The faster you make the mistakes, the faster you’ll get it right, and get onto the successes.
Besides, this is about embarking on a journey. Embrace the journey.
Get A Business Coach
Business coaches have many benefits. All top performers of every type have coaches. They can help you avoid those mistakes, and speed up your success. They may be able to make powerful introductions for you too.
In this context, a business coach can be extremely valuable as an accountability partner. Someone you will feel compelled to keep making progress with before your next session. They can keep you focused and on track to making the leap.
Set A Deadline
If you aren’t willing to make the leap to an entrepreneur today, then set a hard timeline and deadline for doing it.
A year is a bit long, but if you until the end of this year, another three months, or four, then make that your deadline. Put it in big letters above your door, or on a countdown on your laptop screensaver and phone.
Make all the progress you say you need to before then. Though if you don’t, commit to making the leap no matter what. That will give you the positive pressure to make those things happen before then.
So now is the time to figure out how to ditch your job and become an entrepreneur.
Set A Milestone Goal
If you are still feeling held back by something then set a hard milestone for when you’ll make the switch.
Maybe it is saving six months of expenses of raising $150,000 in capital to get started.
Or perhaps it is starting to sell now, and then quitting your job once you have X customers or $Y dollars in sales.
Don’t keep stretching that. Don’t use it as an excuse to keep delaying your move.
Send Your Resignation Email
If you have been struggling with procrastination, and may have even missed opportunities to launch your own business before, just quit the job.
It’s what is holding you back. Many successful entrepreneurs have just quit their jobs and spent several months thinking about what business they will start and testing different ideas.
Write your resignation email and hit send.
You can make it polite. Or not if you really want to burn your boats and leave no way to back out of your plan.
Ask Your Boss For Some Time Off
If you are afraid and uncertain and still want to test the waters before really giving up your job permanently, then ask for some time off.
You don’t have to tell them your plan. You can ask for some paid personal time off. Or you can ask for some extended vacation time.
Or your boss may be willing to specifically give you some time off to pursue this project. Who knows, maybe they’ll invest in you or become a customer. You don’t know if you don’t ask.
This way they may also keep a position open for you if you wish to come back.
Raise The Money So That You Can Afford To Go All In Now
If money is your perceived roadblock to shifting to becoming an entrepreneur, then make that your number one focus and task now.
Study all you can about the art of startup fundraising and dealmaking. Get a great fundraising advisor. Put all of your focus and energy into raising that money so that you can move forward.
You probably don’t need that much to get going, get setup and even cover the first year of runway for your own business. But, it’s certainly the first step in working out how to ditch your job and become an entrepreneur.
Start Testing Your Idea
If you knew your startup was going to work then you would probably immediately quit your job for entrepreneurship, right?
So, get started. You can start part-time around your current schedule. Start working on your business an hour before work, on your lunch breaks, after work, and on the weekends. Recruit some outsourced help to be working on it while you are punching the clock for someone else.
Get your confidence up, prove your concept, polish it, make sales and get traction, before everything is riding on it.
Then make the switch and surround yourself with the right founding team as well as investors that will give you the capital to get things in motion.
Keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Apply For A Grant To Start Exploring It
There are many initiatives and programs that can give you the money you need to explore your idea further and make some progress without as much financial pressure or the distraction of working a job at the same time.
There are federal, state, and local government grants, private foundations offering grants, and other programs providing funds to startups that will create jobs or have a positive impact.
Few take advantage of this free money. Though it could be a great way to break free from your job, and even gain funding without taking on debt or giving up ownership in your venture so early.
Use this slack to really get clarity and hone your idea before you take it to the next level.
Bringing in partners can have many benefits. It can help you get over the doubt and fear of going it alone and help you stick with the shift.
It can also help you bring in the other skills and expertise you may feel you are lacking to really make the most of this opportunity and idea.
These partners can also bring a lot of new connections and help expand your network to achieve more and fill in any perceived gaps.
Partners can bring in the capital too. Cofounders may contribute startup capital and time. Financial partners can bring advice and funding so that you can afford to and achieve faster while derisking this move.
Spin Out A Business From Your Employer
With the right employer, they may let you start testing your idea under their own roof as a project. That can be risky for you as they may own the work you are doing while punched in on the clock for them.
Yet, it also makes it pretty much zero risks when you are using all of their time, money, and other resources.
If it works out tremendously well with you leading the project then they may let your head up spinning out that venture as its own separate business entity.
You may own a lot less of the pie, but it could be the path of least resistance and lowest risk.
Thinking about how to ditch your job and become an entrepreneur?? You probably should. You’ll never want to go back. It will likely be the best thing you ever do.
There are many ways to make this leap and transition. Some are fast and hard, others slower. You can find one of these options that fits you and really own it. Don’t let any more time pass you by.
You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.