Quitting your job to start a business is tempting and desirable and also involves a lot of risks you shouldn’t ignore.

4 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Business

  1. Do I have enough money to keep going as I build my new business?
  2. Do I have a well-thought-out business plan?
  3. Am I okay working independently?
  4. Do I have a support system that includes experienced mentors?

I successfully did this after working for companies while simultaneously running my PR consulting business on the side for nearly a decade, and because of that I have no plans to ever work for a company that isn’t my own. 

How did I do it? I thought carefully about four important things before I set off on my own journey. Below are four important questions you should ask yourself before handing in your two-week notice

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Do You Have Enough Money?

Before making any rash decision about your employment status, be realistic about your current finances and how much money you have saved up. If you only have one source of income at the moment, you should probably take a step back and thoroughly think things through before calling it quits. 

So many people believe that entrepreneurship is for everyone and that you can start making good money out the gate. This is completely untrue. Without a financial buffer to cover necessities like housing and food, and don’t forget health insurance, you will absolutely fall flat on your face. 

I made sure to have additional income from my side hustle on top of a corporate salary so that I could stack my money up for years. Having a financial safety net is crucial, otherwise you can very well find yourself in the same position you desperately want to get out of. You don’t want to worry about having enough to live on, right? 

Without a financial buffer to cover necessities like housing and food, and don’t forget health insurance, you will absolutely fall flat on your face. 

Pay attention to your spending habits as well to see if this is something you can actually commit to. And stop looking at other people’s success stories because you have little knowledge of how that individual built up a roster of clients, or an in-demand service. 

Oh, and do not withdraw money from your 401(k) as a way to supplement not having enough in savings. You will likely pay a penalty on it, not to mention taxes, and you’ll regret it when you get closer to retiring.

 

Do You Have A Business Plan? 

Entrepreneurship is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Entrepreneurship is not a get-rich-quick scheme; that mentality will only set you up to fail before you even get started. You’ll also fail without a business plan.

Writing your vision and mission statements and outlining your goals for the next three months, year and five years, should happen organically and intuitively. 

Do you know who your ideal clients are and how you’re going to get them on your roster? What services are you providing that will make a business want to work with you and not a competitor? Do you need to hire a team or a number two to help you deliver the results you wish to see? How are you going to promote your business and get the word out? These are all questions you need to ask yourself for your business plan.

Keep it simple. Ditch what you learned from corporate America about using jargon and complex, heavy wording that very few people can really understandable. The first year of business is when things will likely change the most, which is why having a living and breathing document you can update in real-time to make sure you’re on the right path is a necessity. Putting together a timeline of action for when you plan to quit your 9 to 5 needs to happen as well, otherwise you can spend years just talking about it and not doing it. 

 

Can You Work Independently?

When you work in corporate America, you have a team and can rely on others to support you in your endeavors. Being successful in entrepreneurship is all about independence and being able to work well on your own, especially in the beginning. 

How well do you do at setting your own schedule and creating structure in your day to day? Everything will now rest on your shoulders — tracking expenses, strategy and execution and the entire future of your business. You need to be mentally prepared as this is the biggest shift you will experience when working for yourself. 

It costs to be the boss and calling the shots is much harder than it looks.

Not everyone is cut out to be a solopreneur. Be honest with yourself on whether or not you even fit into this category. It costs to be the boss and calling the shots is much harder than it looks. You need to be mentally fit as you are your greatest asset. 

If you shy away from taking charge and being a leader, then you probably won’t enjoy entrepreneurship. Try not to focus only on the upsides of being your own boss, such as creating your own pace and not having to worry about toxic cultures set in place by corporate America. Be sure you understand the difference between being a freelancer and an entrepreneur who sets up a business. They are not the same. 

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Do You Have a Support Team?

Consider getting advice from experienced business owners, mentors and successful professionals who can share their unique points of view before deciding to plunge into your own thing. 

My mentors were my clients — CEOs of tech companies and startups I worked with on my PR business who kept urging me to go out on my own. From the get-go, I had this validation as others saw how successfully I worked and believed in my abilities outside of the toxic workplaces I spent too much time in. 

Entrepreneurship is a thrilling journey that requires tenacity, resilience, persistence and the ability and willingness to take risks.

I have been fortunate enough to have mentors in my industry with priceless experience who have made all the mistakes on the road to success. They not only advise and guide me, but also pass business and new opportunities my way. Figure out what it is you hope to find in your mentor and make sure they gel with you. From there, you can discover the best way to get this individual to assist you in your venture. 

Not sure where to start? Begin with your personal network, use cold outreach tactics, and go to events that you know are going to have prominent decision makers in the room who have been there, done that. 

Entrepreneurship is a thrilling journey that requires tenacity, resilience, persistence and the ability and willingness to take risks. It comes with a ton of challenges that not everyone is prepared to endure. Even though entrepreneurship varies for each person, the above considerations will make you realize if this is a life-changing decision you truly want, or if you’re even in a place to do so.

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