Quitting Your Job to Start Your Own Business?

Budgeting, savings, friends and family support and a little bit of luck!

Starting your business is like sky diving (kind of)!

I’ve been there. I’ve had the sleepless nights, the deep anxiety, the unbridled optimism ... all of it! Being your own boss is a dream that many people have, but taking that leap of faith from full-time employment to running my own business full-time was the scariest thing I ever did.”

The best experience I can equate it to is skydiving. It’s the one thing I wanted to do so badly but was also so scared to do. On the day that I went for it, I made the mistake of watching the ‘warning’ video with my kids because the sentence ‘we are not responsible for any injury or death’ pretty much punctuated every single sentence. By the end of it, my then seven-year-old looked at me dead (no pun intended) straight in the eyes and said, “Mum, don’t do it!”. It was too late by then, though. I’d made the payment, I was already strapped in a harness and I really wanted to check it off the bucket list. Going up in the airplane was exhilarating….no turning back! There was a group of about 16 of us and we were all lined up behind each other, everyone’s harnesses attached to those of their respective tandem skydiving instructor. The hatch opened and everyone started jumping out. I had this feeling of wholesome fear (not sure how else to describe it) but I knew there was no way back. There was no space to move aside and the people behind me could only take their turn after I jumped…...and jump we did!

It was the best experience of my life - ever! The earth, in all her majesty, laid out in front of my unbelieving eyes. The thing that really struck me was how curved the earth was! It was so beautiful, with a blue ring of water around it. People seemed like ants going about their business, unaware of our stares as we slowly descended while taking twirls along the way. As we were landing, the tandem instructor told me to stretch out my legs at a right angle as much as I could. I did, as best as I could. And then, the unthinkable happened….as soon as we hit the ground, I felt the bump so hard and instantaneously knew that something was wrong. I got up and limped slowly towards where my family was waiting. By the time I got to the car, I couldn’t even sit upright and it took several months of recovery to get back to normal. And regardless of that experience in its entirety, it still remains the best thing I ever did! And that, my friends, is entrepreneurship in a nutshell! Whether or not I would ever do it is a story for another day!

Here are a few things that are helpful as you make a decision on making that leap of faith as you #startyourownbusiness.

1. Money, Money, Money!

Whatever you think you’ve budgeted, multiply it by at least two or two and a half. Leaving my job meant that I also left my health insurance plan, which was tied to my employer. With two kids, this was a huge risk. And the unthinkable happened. My son, who had never been admitted to a hospital, suffered from convulsions (a story for another day) and had to be hospitalized for a week. It was something I never planned for, that needed a huge chunk of money and wasn’t even something I felt like I had a choice about. His health over everything! So plan, and plan twice for unforeseen disasters.

2. There is no silver bullet to ‘the right time’

“There is never a right time.”

Yep! Some people are lucky enough to move to their businesses full-time when their business is able to pay them their income. That wasn’t my case, unfortunately. The business had gotten to a certain point in which I needed to personally be there for it to move forward. It still wasn’t able to pay me, but if I didn’t step in, I knew it had little chance of making it. Therefore, knowing when to go full-time isn’t necessarily tied to when your business can pay you - but you better as hell take point number 1 above into serious consideration if that’s the case.

3. Support System

This is especially for married folks. Switching from employment to your own business often comes with one less paycheck or one drastically reduced paycheck. This means that you and your partner have to be on the same page with regard to what you want to achieve and the amount of time that you would need before you start making some money. Whatever you do for the latter, just like money, plan with a worst-case scenario. Similarly, my friends have been a critical support system. They have encouraged me through dark times, lent me money when I was rock bottom, and have overall been my cheering squad. My success is also very much anchored on having them around.

4. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

This was among the hardest but also the best thing that happened to me. I say this with the acknowledgment that fundraising is one of the hardest and least interesting things for most entrepreneurs. However, when taking such a big leap, it is helpful to have the financial risk spread over many people rather than betting all your savings on your #startup. Because business is a risk, in the event that things don’t work, at least you’ll have some cash to help you start out rather than spending it all and being rock bottom

The above list isn’t exhaustive but they are things I wish I paid more attention to when I jumped off the plane….literally and figuratively! Have you had a similar or different experience? Or are you still at the decision-making phase and have comments or questions? I’d love to hear about it!

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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I genuinely believe life is a two-way traffic. These are my opinions based on my experiences. I'd love to hear back if yours were the same or different. Or at the very least your thoughts and expectations of the entrepreneurship or leadership journey.

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