Let’s face it: Working for someone else is a great way to get started in the business world, but it is not where an entrepreneur with lofty goals will want to remain.
If you’re tired of being just another cog, and you crave a sense of personal fulfillment and long-term passion, then it might be time to take the plunge. Here are seven signs you should quit your job and start your own business.
1. You’re Extremely Confident
To be a truly successful entrepreneur, there can never be any doubt in your mind that you will accomplish your goals, even if you must occasionally alter your plans or refine your targets. Your success is as much a matter of your belief in yourself as it is of the skills you will develop on your journey.
Even though your attitude is focused on winning, you should not be emotionally attached to the outcome of any one transaction or activity. In order to achieve success, you need to be flexible enough to evolve.
There are hardly any successful businesspeople, athletes, community leaders, or artists who do not feel certain of their ability to adapt and succeed. Winning is a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you decide to be a success, you can be.
2. You’re a Machine
Those who work harder and longer will be more productive overall. That doesn’t mean working “harder” is more advantageous than working “smarter.” You actually need to work harder with more raw human-hours AND work smarter by using evolving best practices to maximize your financial gain.
Fledgling businesspeople often don’t realize how close they are to a major success. In most cases, success is just around the corner with a few years of hard work applied properly to their industry. Overall, hard work might not be the only barrier separating the rich from the poor, but it certainly enhances any other advantages the average professional brings to the economic table. Lawyers, doctors and other high-end professionals, for example, make more money than most partly because they’ve put in more hours in school and at work. Successful people are those who are focused on proactively performing clear goals, at the highest level, for the most hours, over the longest duration.
3. You Don’t Blame Others for Your Problems
If you’re the type of person who avoids blaming external forces or people for your problems, then entrepreneurship is right for you. Most problems in life and in business are in your own best interest to solve, irrespective of how they emerge. Blaming the economy will never help you, nor will blaming the government, a political party, your mom, your teachers, your competitors, your genetic code, your community, or your boss.
Nobody and nothing can stop you from getting your fair market share if you maintain a long-term focused effort. Therefore, if you hate your job or aren’t earning enough and you think there is an external force to blame, then at the very least, you should be proactively working to change that force every day, as opposed to complaining about it. Better still, change your attitude! Once you’ve stopped blaming others for your problems, you’re ready to venture out on your own.
4. You Pay Close Attention to Detail and Can Focus
Attention to detail is one of the most essential qualities that you can develop while you become a leader. Anything that isn’t done completely and correctly will have to be reworked, thereby wasting time and money. If you are not detail-oriented, you are likely to initiate cascading problems that could put you out of business before you have a chance to recover.
Indeed, lacking a detail orientation in accounting could land you in tax court. Lacking that detail orientation in law could land your client in jail, and if you are a doctor, you could accidentally kill someone. Lacking a detail orientation when reviewing references could leave you with an employee who embarrasses you and drains your profits. Failure to pay attention to detail with security could get your store robbed or could facilitate the theft of credit card numbers from your e-commerce web site.
If you can pay attention to details, that’s half the battle. The other half is to stay focused. Don’t get lost with intangible plans and tasks. Instead, stay focused on tangible long-term goals, while understanding what’s truly happening around you minute-by-minute, and how you can positively affect it.
If you find that you’re able to pay close attention to detail and can focus on those details, then why are you letting another company benefit from your abilities? You’re on your way toward independence.
5. You Have Created a Winning Plan
The most successful businesspeople keep their eye on a clear business plan all the time. They begin by choosing their business wisely.
When choosing the type of company you want to operate, selecting an industry or service in which you have experience only makes sense. Choose an area where you have work or educational experience. Picking a field that you are passionate about would be your initial “Best Bet” as opposed to investing your time in something where you have no personal affinity. Peter Lynch of Fidelity Magellan Fund put forth the mantra, "Invest in what you know or what is near to you." He was right.
Once you decide what kind of business to start, the next step is to create a written business plan. Pro-forma financial statements estimating the company’s future success should be based on realistic assumptions that are explained in notations and attached to your plan. Rather than writing a full-blown “business plan,” you could instead write a “business model” in a few short pages. There are standard boilerplate forms for business plans available online, which are acceptable for simple plans and small investors; however, larger investors will prefer a thorough and clearly worded original document with detailed justifications for your assumptions, something that summarizes specific research that you have done in your industry. Once you have your business plan, you’re well on your way to beginning to implement it.
6. You Have Already Secured Financing or Have Potential Investors
After you have determined what type of business you want to pursue and have written a business plan, you need to consider how to secure some basic financing.
When attempting to raise capital for your first company, you might start by asking your friends and family. However, think it through first: your friends and family might feel obligated to lend you money, and that might interfere with your relationship down the road. If you decide against involving friends and family, or if they refuse you, then try angel capital groups in your community. When going this route, you must have a professional business plan that is conceptually profitable for investors. Perhaps you’ll consider using unsecured debt, like credit cards, to get your business up and running. Either way, you’ll need a financial plan before you’re ready to start a business.
7. You Can Overcome Your Fears and Are Willing to Take Risks
There will always be some people in your life who will try to discourage you from quitting your secure position when you want to start out on your own. The truth of the matter is that starting your own business is a big risk. But what is the worst thing that could happen? If you’re smart, you won’t let yourself get to the point of homelessness and destitution before you realize your plan has not worked, and if things don’t go your way, then you could put yourself back on the job market. In the worst-case scenario, you still will have learned many valuable lessons that can be properly applied to your future.
You can’t be scared to be a capitalist in a capitalist society. It’s not wrong to profit or make money from your business peers and your community. Ultimately, within the flows of the economy, they, too, make a profit from you, your family, and your peers. Everyone deserves to make an honest buck. Profits create a virtuous cycle if you work with virtuous individuals during the process in a free and fair market economy. Thus, there is no reason to avoid or fear capitalism. Just dig in!
If these seven signs apply to you, you will then need to take the next big step and quit your current job and get busy building your own business.
And remember, it is critical that you attempt to keep good relations with your former bosses and co-workers. Odds are you will run across them again as customers, suppliers, new co-workers, neighbors, references, or industry competitors. So you should always end relationships on positive terms and keep in touch with all contacts that may benefit you or your new company in the future.