Are you stifling your dream of owning your own company just because you are too scared to give up the security of a job? You are one of at least 10 million other people, working 9 to 5 jobs, who are driven by the fear of plunging into the unknown world of startups. And in most of these cases, once you do manage to muster the courage to quit your job, you will be driven by the “right now” syndrome.
This is something we have seen in men and women of almost all age group who have quit their day jobs to start their own business. While making the transition most of these people forget that success comes slow and steady. In most of the cases, people want to see change and fast. A very common attitude among entrepreneurs these days is “if a goal hasn’t been achieved yesterday, it’s as good as unachievable”.
This the kind of pressure brought on by mainstream media who try to propagate startups as some magical way to gain instant money and fame. Capre Diem is an amazing motto for a tattoo, but it is one of the worst things you can say to a struggling entrepreneur. If you are thinking that we are discouraging all the “seize the day” mantras, you are absolutely right!
It’s fear that fuels haste
You may find it hard to believe but most of the entrepreneurs who hope to get done with a month’s work in a day are largely driven by the fear of failure. If you are at a similar juncture where you find yourself pushing your limits every day then you should stop and ask yourself what exactly you are afraid of.
We have all faced failure in the past. Be it school science projects or college debates, we have all been acquainted with failure in some form or the other. If you find yourself being driven by fear, consider these three questions first.
Will I go broke?
Yes. And we don’t like to beat around the bush with this question. Potentially, if you are quitting your job to take a plunge into freelancing or getting your own business venture started, you will be broke even if for a small window of time.
You will find your credit cards maxed out and your life savings at risk at some point of your entrepreneurial trysts. But you can easily manage that with a debt consolidation loan. These are easy, low rate loans that can pool all your debts, bills and loans together under one lump sum amount that can be used to pay all your loans at one go. You can pay your credit union or bank later in small, fixed installments over the next few years once your business kick starts.
Being broke isn’t something new. We have all been broke before. Remember the days after spring break or that trip to the tropics with your friends? A depleted bank account should be seen as a temporary situation and definitely not a setback.
Will I be out of work?
You have already quit your day job and with that you have already answered this question. If you managed to get a job once, it should not be as difficult to land another job in the future. But in the meantime, you should make most of this opportunity to drive your budding business venture to success.
If nothing else works out you can always include your business venture in your resume. Head hunters are always looking for people with diverse set of skills for lucrative jobs. This is even easier if you have a college degree and a couple of years of work ex.
What will happen to my social life?
The moment you decided to become a startup founder you kind of signed the decree to renounce your social life. Don’t worry! You will still have your immediate family and your true friends to stand by your side during the hard times. Honestly, we all have an acquaintance or a few who we’d love to get rid of and this is the perfect opportunity to bid farewell to them.
You may need to cut corners a little. You may need to hang around in your apartment with the girls and order some pizza instead of going out to the grand opening of the nightclub uptown. But at the end of the day, every penny you save goes into feeding your brainchild.
Once you have found the answers to all of these pressing questions, it is time for some real action. This is what we recommend for our first-timers:
Check your personal expenses
You may have to forego Starbucks and go for homemade coffee and shop at Target for a while when you set out on your entrepreneurial journey. Cash will be the lifeblood of your business and you cannot expect to find sponsors and investors during the first leg of this journey unless you are one of the rare lucky ones.
Save all your paychecks
Definitely not glamorous, but absolutely essential! This should be started the moment you even think of starting your own venture. You should bank each and every paycheck, if possible, in a new savings account, before moving onto the new phase of your life. This will help channelize cash flow in the future when your business is nascent.
List down your weaknesses
Just as we mentioned before, one of the major vices entrepreneurs deal with every waking moment is impatience. You cannot wake up one fine morning and expect to become the owner of a successful, thriving business. You need to build it from scratch and that takes time.
If you are a spendthrift, get a cashier who will take care of the finances. If you are hot-headed get legal aid that can make sound decisions for you. If you lack social skills, hire a marketer who can speak about your venture on your behalf.
Getting to know your weaknesses from beforehand gives you an upper hand during the exponential growth phase of your business. For this, you can take feedback from your current colleagues, your friends and family. Weigh their opinions and jot down the alleged shortcomings on a piece of paper to get a better perspective of entrepreneurial abilities and turn them into your greatest strengths.
Set clear goals after you have the spark
It all starts with a small idea that breathes fire into the zeal to achieve. Every businessman has to be a good dreamer in order to foresee the potential of success. Once a dream is coupled with the power of imagination, it becomes indomitable. History of business and marketing shows us that, a businessman’s ability to dream is the most powerful tool. But you should always know that someone else might be thinking of the very same idea at this very moment. The moment you get the spark of genius, write it down.
That is just the preliminary step. Next, you need to take immediate action. Do not be mistaken, we are not contradicting our previous declaration of taking it slow and steady, we are simply telling you to pave the way for making your dream come true. Make calls, set up client meets and training sessions for your new team to make sure that your idea sees the light of day.
While dreaming, the entire business goal may have seemed very simple and easily attainable but every business goal is made up of several small steps. Each small step should be seen as an achievement. You should only set goals that you and your team can achieve. Include instructions, be as specific as possible and make them short-term. Attribute timelines for each of these goals and maintain an “achievement board” in your office to boost morale.
Most of us have grown up hearing how it is good to set one goal and achieve it and how it is terrible to be indecisive. Those are absolutely true, but being orthodox about your goals and how to achieve them can cost you dearly in the initial years of your business.
You have already taken the biggest leap of faith by quitting your job and opting for self-employment. This is already a blazing example of out-of-the-box thinking that we are trying to propagate. Now, in the same manner, you may have to think out of the box for achieving many of your business goals and modify the priorities of tasks at hands to suit the convenience of your investors and your customers.
Entrepreneurship is only for the chosen few who love to challenge themselves with new tasks every day. It is for those who have the courage to leave all the security of 9 to 5 jobs behind in search for something new. You should only take a plunge into it if you are a dreamer and have the courage to embrace failure in the process.