Have you thought about leaving your job in the corporate sector? If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve given some thought to that. It’s totally okay if you’re thinking about leaving even though you may be making some good money there.
In fact, if you feel like you need to quit, you may be experiencing at least one of the following five signs that you should do it (source: Forbes):
- You’re unhappy most of every day working in your current position
- You feel that your working environment is toxic, and the source of the toxicity is your boss or colleague
- You feel like the skills you’re using at your job aren’t the ones that you truly enjoy doing
- You believe that you could accomplish much more
- You feel like your current goals at your job are meaningless or even negative.
Does anything from this list sound familiar? If so, then you should leave your current career to start a business. After all, you decide what to do with your life and how to work.
Before you go to your boss’s office and announce your decision, you should also understand that entrepreneurship is hard. To succeed, you need to work hard, be ready to make sacrifices, and be as persistent as you possibly can.
Besides, leaving your job also means disrupting your routine and changing your life forever, because you’ll have to overcome your objections and insecurities. Not to mention having the courage to finally pull the plug and quit your job.
You’re still reading this? Great! Then it means that I didn’t scare you.
Plus, it means that you really want to start a business and create a lifestyle that you truly love.
In this case, let’s get to work. Here are the steps that you’ll need to take in order to leave your corporate career and successfully launch your own business.
Step #1: Evaluate Your Current Situation
We kind of started doing this when I asked you whether you experienced the signs that you need to quit your job at the beginning of this article. If you feel like you’re experiencing at least some of them, then it means that you’re not happy with your current job.
It doesn’t allow you to unlock your full potential.
It holds you back.
It doesn’t make you feel happy.
It doesn’t make you feel like you’re accomplishing something meaningful.
In this case, you don’t need it, even if there are some good things about it.
Leaving your job could be “especially difficult when everything else about the job is a positive,” writes Daniel B. Kline, a Fast Company contributor. “But if you hope for more, then staying someplace where that’s not likely is a mistake.”
The next step in assessing your current situation would be to think about how your ideal lifestyle would be like. For example, maybe you want to work some more until your business takes off and then shift to another approach? Brainstorming about this could help you to get an ideal long-term vision of your career as an entrepreneur.
Step #2: Understand that the Perfect Time to Launch Your Business Does Not Exist
Many people fail to start their own businesses because they choose to wait for the “perfect” time. For example, it means having enough money in the back to ensure the survival of their business or waiting until they learn how to start their business. Some people even choose to wait until they’re fired from their jobs.
While some of these excuses may make sort of sense, they are still excuses. There’s no perfect time to quit your job and start your own business. Let me explain. Supposedly, you think that if you quit now and begin building your business, you’ll fail.
Okay, but what exactly gives you a 100 percent guarantee that you won’t fail? The fact that you’ll launch it later? The fact you don’t have enough money? (Richard Branson, for example, launched Virgin with $200).
The perfect time doesn’t exist! And this brings us to the next step.
Step #3: Plan Less, Do More. Don’t be Afraid of Failing
The longer you spend planning quitting your job and launching your business, the less time you’ll have on actually building it. Time is a precious resource, and you might be robbing yourself by planning. In fact, many people spend so much time planning that they eventually lose all motivation they had at the beginning.
It goes without saying that planning is essential to building a successful business, but I personally think that it’s not the key.
What is the key, then?
Don’t just take my word for it. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, says that nine times out of ten, you’re going to fail (maybe that’s why nine out of ten new businesses fail).
“I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com,” he says. “Literally billions. … Companies that don’t embrace failure and continue to experiment eventually get in the desperate position where the only thing they can do is make a Hail Mary bet at the end of their corporate existence.”
In fact, some of the failures that Bezos refers to include (you may not heard about them because many of these projects failed quickly):
- Amazon’s Fire phone
- Amazon Destinations travel service
- Amazon Wallet
- Amazon Local Register
- Amazon Auctions
- Amazon TestDrive
- Amazon WebPay
- com, a Q&A service
- fashion flash sale site MyHabit
And these are only the worst ones! Nevertheless, they made Bezos a big fan of failure because he saw it as a great contributor to success.
So, the best thing that you could do is embrace failure because even if you fail once or twice, or even three times, that doesn’t mean that your business won’t eventually succeed. You absolutely WILL if you stay focused and persistent.
Step #4: Keep Learning
It’s very likely that you don’t have a vast experience in entrepreneurship, so learning it should become one of your highest priorities. For example, even if you want to start your business as a freelance writer, you’ll have to learn the art of getting customers and learning a wide range of writing techniques to produce engaging texts.
In other words, you’ll have to learn how to overcome obstacles and resolve issues all the time because it’s a part of the journey. Also, you’ll have to learn how to manage employees and market your products and services, because no one will do that for you.
The only way to succeed, therefore, is to consume quality information on entrepreneurship and everything related on a constant basis. Consider reading books, listening to podcasts, visiting entrepreneurship conferences and meeting, enrolling in online courses and doing many other things that’ll supply you with the information you need along the way.
Step #5: Follow Your Passion
One of the major reasons why you want to leave your job is to do something you truly enjoy, so following your passion is the best advice I can give on choosing where you want to go. Just start by brainstorming what industry you would like to work in and how you can combine it with your experience and current knowledge.
Following your passion is a good decision also because doing so will provide you with some additional motivation to succeed (and I don’t have to tell you how important it is to stay motivated as an entrepreneur).
Step #6: Know Your Customer
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”
These words of one of the best entrepreneurs of all time, Steve Jobs, couldn’t be truer. The concept of being customer-centric is a widely used one in business because it focuses the effort of the company on creating something that their target audience wants and needs.
In fact, when Amazon launched in 1995, the mission of the company was “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company,” and it still hasn’t changed.
That’s why you should leverage all possible ways to get to know your target audience before designing a product or service. Some of the best ways include:
- Asking customers directly (in person or via email)
- Conducting online surveys
- Holding events
- Reading customer reviews of companies working in the same niche
- Using keyword research.
Your Time is Now
Richard Branson once said: “Successful people start before they feel ready.” This quite, of course, doesn’t mean that you should quit your job tomorrow and announce your entrepreneurship plans to your family the same day. It rather means that you should start small, but the main thing is to start. As you already know, there’s no perfect time.