From Day Job to Starting a Business in Five Easy Steps

You’re not alone if you’ve ever sat staring at your cubicle wall thinking, “What if I had my own business?”

To answer your question, first of all, you would have never taken on the boring task that got you staring at your cubicle wall in the first place (head shake).

But even if you do have a great business idea, is it really enough to warrant quitting your job to start a business? Answer these five questions to help ease into your new life as a business owner—or to avoid making one of the biggest mistakes of your life.  


Are You Cut Out to be a Business Owner?

1. Take an Entrepreneurial Potential Assessment. Gut check. Are you really an entrepreneur stuck in a salary-person’s body?

There could be a whole host of reasons why you are currently feeling unfulfilled, and when you are unhappy with your present circumstances it’s always easy to suffer from the so-called “Grass is Always Greener Syndrome.” Perhaps you need a vacation, or maybe you just need to look for a new job. Regardless of what got you thinking about jumping ship and diving into the great blue sea of entrepreneurship, you ought to first take an objective look at your entrepreneurial traits and decide whether or not you measure up –after all, business ownership isn’t for everyone.

The Business Development Bank of Canada offers one such online assessment.


Are You Mentally Prepared and Motivated?

2. Surround Yourself with Encouragement and Support. Once you have taken a cold hard look at yourself and determined that business ownership is right for you, it’s time to surround yourself with support, and kick the naysayers to the curb.

Just like any other major challenge in your life, you will have a higher probability of success if you are mentally prepared and have a full tank of positive energy. For starters you can always read about how others have met the challenge. Miki Agrawal was working on Wall Street and after finding herself in a similar slump decided to go out drinking on a Monday night. Fortunately for her, Tuesday morning was September 11, 2001 and she slept through her morning meeting at the doomed NYC World Trade Center.

That was a wakeup call for her, and she went on to start a string of businesses and wrote a book about her experience, called: Do Cool Sh*t. Wow, cool.


Are You Prepared Financially?

3. Spend the Next 6-12 Months Living Below Your Means. Farnoosh Brock of Brazen Life puts it this way: “Unless you are an eccentric millionaire, you need to set some cash aside, and the best time to do that is while you are still corporate.  While self-employment may be your path to wealth, the beginning can be slow.”

While there are programs to help make the transition easier like Ontario Self Employment Benefit and a host of loan programs, you will breathe much easier if you can consolidate and pay back the majority of your debt before starting your business. This way you can properly establish your business and tap into more lucrative government grants when you are ready to expand. See this handy checklist to help guide you along.


Is Your “Temporary Job” Coming Between You and Your Future Business?

4. Love Your Job While You are Still There. Once people decide to leave their job to pursue their own business many will fall into a negativity trap. For one reason or another they lose their motivation to excel at their current job and begin to hate every second they spend at work. By the time they get home they are so mentally and emotionally drained they have nothing left to put into their business startup.

Not only can this make preparing for your business launch take a heck of a lot longer, you may end up jobless before you are ready to embark on your own—which has the potential to create an unnecessary mess of your life in the process. Rather than resorting to looking for aspects of your day job that you hate, focus on the things and relationships that you will miss and try to rediscover the passion you once had. You will be happier, have more energy to devout to your business when you get home, and leave your job on much better footing when it comes time.


Do You Have the Right People on Your Team?

5. Find the People You Will Need to Successfully Launch Your Business. Of course you’re not going to hire a full time legal counsel and corporate tax accountant while you are scrimping on entertainment and shopping to prepare for the first few months. Nonetheless, you should start connecting with the people to bring a board your team, whether as sweat-equity partners, occasional employees, or contract service providers.

There are all kinds of theories out there on what types of people will form a successful team, and no shortage of personality profile tests to help you strike the right balance. It would definitely be nice to have someone with entrepreneurial experience if you are a first-timer, someone who is a good communicator to help you reach out to the public, and a supportive partner—whether that is a friend, a spouse, or trusted business partner.

Image: Joblers