Every week I get emails from aspiring start up business owners, wanting tips and tricks of the trade. I figured if these girls and guys are brave enough to reach out and email, there must be others out there pondering the same.
1. How to Take the Leap
So, you've got a fabulous idea for your business, have tested the market and are quietly confident you could make a success of it. But when do you quit your day job, after ceremoniously burning your uniform in front of your boss and telling your line manager to stick their passive aggressive advice up their arse?
Image by Gala Darling
For me, it was really simple (though I really don't advocate doing any of the above, no matter how much of a dickwad your boss is) - I disliked the job I was in, had no huge responsibilities such as a mortgage or little people to consider and was getting to the point where I was having to turn down/cancel orders because their physically weren't enough hours in the day. As they say, it's now or never, and I had this overwhelming feeling that if I didn't do something soon, I'd be hitting my 60's thinking 'what if'?
Image by Emily Quinton
As liberating as quitting straight off and jumping into it seemed, I decided to take the path of going part time in my employment first. In actual fact, I tried to quit, but I was begged to consider part time work of 21 hours per week. Realistically, if this is an option available to you, it's the smartest way to do things - it's likely that your basic outgoings like rent and utility bills will be covered and so you've still got all this lovely cash your business is making to plough back into marketing, equipment or new office shoes. Being the boss has some perks, after all. I was really lucky that this option was offered to me, and if I had to do it again, I certainly would've asked for it sooner. Be honest with your boss or manager about your passions and hopes for the future - you may find they'll be more supportive than you originally thought.
If this option isn't available for you (perhaps there's someone in your company looking to do similar, so you could job share?) I'd definitely advise getting some sort of capital behind you before taking the leap straight off. The first 6-12 months of this new shiny business lark are scary/turmultuous enough without worrying about where your next rent cheque is going to come from. The amount is entirely up to you and your circumstances. I've read advice from stashing the equivalent in 6 months to 3 years worth of wages. If you've no idea of your current expenditure, now is time to get all your outgoings down on paper and budget, baby! You'll soon have a clear idea of what you're going to be comfortable with money wise.
Image by Xandra Burns
I'd also suggest giving yourself a time limit to 'make it' - again, this is completely at your discretion, but for example I told myself that if I hit 18 months and I wasn't in the financial position that I'd set myself (eg, making from the business what I did in employment) I'd go back to enjoying Crown and Glory as a hobby. It took me 11 months to reach this goal.
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