Start With The Experience. End With The Knowledge
When I was first introduced to entrepreneurship at the age of 21 through network marketing, the first thing I wanted to do was quit my job. I had a typical 9-5 job at a financial firm that I wasn’t passionate about, and just about any excuse to leave it would’ve been sufficient enough for me to quit the next day. My mindset at the time was made up and there was nobody who could tell me otherwise. I refused to want to work for anyone else but myself and I was more than willing to risk it all just to start my own business.
So what stopped me?
The reality of it all was that I had a family to support, so as much as I wanted to quit, I couldn’t.
I sometimes regret not taking that risk, but considering all the experience I’ve gained in such a short time, I wouldn’t change a thing. Instead of sobbing and getting depressed, I made the best out of my situation. I focused on gaining as much as I could from my job by taking advantage of all the opportunities that came my way. Throughout the years, I learned about client service, business communications, project management, teamwork, multi-tasking, salary negotiation, networking, finances, budgeting, data analysis, etc. The list goes on and on. Little by little I took my experiences and applied them into my own business.
Trust the process.
My advice to those who need to support a family and wants to develop their entrepreneurial mindset, is to leverage your job in the ways listed below to prepare for your entrepreneurial endeavors.
Gain All The Experience Possible
Learn as much as you can as quick as you can whenever you can. Most employers offer free continued training classes online or will even reimburse you to take courses/finish a degree. Take advantage of these opportunities and immerse yourself in the education available to you at no cost. Use what you can to better yourself not only in your current role, but also in preparation for your own business. If your company offers management training, take it. Soak up as much information as possible and leverage that knowledge to help you grow your business. Investing in yourself is the best bit of advice I can give you, so be sure to focus on personal development at all times! As the late Jim Rohn used to say:Work harder on yourself than you do your jobClick To Tweet
Meet Your Next Customer/Business Partner
Regardless of what business you start up you will always need one thing, customers. Start by building strong relationships with individuals at your job. Get to know them and learn about them. Developing a strong rapport with individuals is a great way to get ahead in your business. Seek out those who would benefit most from your business, or would help you promote your business to their own networks. A simple “share” on Facebook can go a long way with people helping you spread the word about your business or service. Seek mentorship from those more experienced than you at your job. Ask questions. Who knows? You might end up meeting your next business partner. Find potential teammates who have strengths in areas in which you’re weak. In my case, I needed someone with a technical background to build a website, so I partnered with someone who had an IT background.
Save Up Seed Money
Having a stable job implies that you have a stable cash flow. Whether you are paid on a weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly basis, you have a guaranteed check coming in. Set aside a reasonable portion of your income in a separate interest bearing savings account. To make it easier for you, set up automatic withdrawals. Start saving the money you’ll need to invest to jump start your business. Create a forecast of expenses you might have to pay for to get started, and use that total amount as a financial goal. Using your own money also saves you from giving a stake of your business to other investors. Keep as much ownership as possible!
Build an Emergency Fund
Becoming an entrepreneur doesn’t always mean you’re going to instantaneously be rolling in buckets of profit. If anything, it is usually the exact opposite. Too often times entrepreneurs fall short of making ends meat and have to resort back to finding a full-time job. In order to avoid this pit fall or to at the very least buy you some extra time, save up at least 3-6 months worth of expenses to give you some extra wiggle room. Start saving aside portions of your checks in preparation for your leave. NEVER quit your job without a secure source of income especially, if you have major responsibilities such as a mortgage or a family that depends solely on your income.
Quit and Start Over The Smart Way
If you are really committed to starting your own business then you may want to think about changing jobs to something more suitable for your business. As an example, if you’re looking to start a clothing line, you may consider working for a clothing store to learn the ins and outs of that business. Or, if you want to become a make-up artist, you may consider working for MAC or Sephora to learn more about the products and build up the skills/techniques/clientele to eventually venture off on your own.
Regardless of what you decide, remember that you’re spending 40+ hours a week working at a job. You might as well spend that time working with a purpose instead of being miserable week after week just trying to get by in life.
If necessary, start your business on a part-time basis until the income produced in your business replaces the income from your job.
Either way, use your time wisely and maximize off every given opportunity that comes your way, even if it starts with using your job in the short term to start a business in the long term.