I know I’m not the only one who wishes they could simply walk away from their full-time employer and leap into the wonderful world of entrepreneurship. There are many who were able to take that risk, but there are also many who would feel a lot more comfortable if they had a little cushion before jumping.
I’m one of those who need a little cushion. The stress of not knowing if you’re able to pay your rent and car note next week can be crippling. So, if you’re like me, and need a little cushion, here are a few tips that I’m implementing personally to make the transition smooth:
DRAFT YOUR PLANS
Before you even think about putting in your 2-week notice, you better have a plan. If you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail. Do not go into business blindly. Be sure that you know what you’re offering and the value you offer. Know your competition, know your audience, and most importantly, spend as much time as possible knowing your business financials inside-out.
GET YOUR BRAND TOGETHER
Simply put, your brand is what you stand for in the business world; your reputation. Your brand is how you want others to perceive you. Make sure you know who you are and hire someone (like Julie of JMH Cre8ive) to create an image that is a strong representation of your brand.
Start building relationships with key people in and out of your industry. You’re going to need a strong network to be successful. Whether it’s a support system or someone who leads you to a potential client. Either way, your network is your net worth.
Read blogs, magazines, and books. You want to get your hands on any reading material you can muster up to ensure that your brain is constantly learning and you’re staying up on industry-related news. Things are always changing. It wouldn’t do you any good if you were to quit your job and start a business offering a product or service that is no longer relevant. Also, workshops and seminars are a great way to keep up with the industry as well as meeting other like-minded individuals.
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR SPENDING
If you truly want to make it as an entrepreneur someday, then you really need to start keeping an eye on your spending. You’re going to need money in order to make money. Rather than spend money on those daily coffee drinks from Starbucks, that money could be used towards a new set of business cards or some other form of marketing material. It would also help if you had a nice amount saved up for those slow months. I’ve read that having an amount saved that equals 3-6 months worth of expenses is ideal. It would also keep your stress levels down because you don’t want to be running a business and worrying about how you’re going to pay your child’s tuition next month.
Everything I’ve mentioned you can do while you’re still working at your full-time job. I know it’s going to be hard, I know that there’s a lot you’re trying to juggle, but have patience and know that it’s only temporary. Go into your job daily being thankful that you have at least one source of income while you actively work on generating another one.
Patrice K. Cokley, MBA
Brand & Social Media Consultant