These days, many of us begin our entrepreneurial career as a second job. We work full time for “The Man,” then try to squeeze in our own business on the side. But working evenings and weekends will only take you so far. There comes a time when you have to decide whether you’re going to quit working for The Man and dedicate yourself to your own business.
This is possibly the scariest decision you will make, but sometimes it’s the right one. Here’s how to know when it’s right.
Sign #1: Your Day Job Is Suffering, and It May Get You Fired
If you’re putting so much energy into your moonlighting that your day-lighting is suffering, you could be in for big trouble. When commitment flags at your day job and your supervisors notice, it’s probably time to move on. If your business fails, you will look better in the future job market if you can say you left on your own terms to pursue a business opportunity than you were fired and had to fall back on your business. Nobody will want to hire you if they are concerned you will be devoting too much of your energy to your side project.
Sign #2: You Have Unmet Demand
This is the biggest sign that you’re ready to quit and dedicate yourself full-time to your own business. If you’re working as hard as you can on the side, and your customers are still clamoring for more, then your business is ready to become your full-time occupation.
It’s important that this should be proven demand, though. Don’t quit your job because you anticipate you can get more orders if you spend more time making sales. Those deals may fall though, and then you’re potentially in big trouble. Sorry to say, but if you think there are big sales out there that can make all the difference, you’ve got to try to land at least one of them before you’re ready to go.
Sign #3: You Have Adequate Reserves
Hopefully, you’ve been taking your income from your business and setting it aside as a seed fund to tide you over when you leave your daytime job. If you have unmet demand, you should use that as a guide to how much you need. You should assume that your business will remain stagnant for at least six months in making this calculation. Hopefully it won’t, but you should be prepared for it.
Sign #4: It’s Now or Never
Some business opportunities come along once in a lifetime. If you’re being faced with one of these opportunities, then it’s time to jump. However, you have to make sure that this opportunity is good enough to jump for. Will it be enough to support you and your business long enough to bring in more business for long-term stability or growth?
Sign #5: Everyone Is on Board
There are a lot of people who have a stake in your company. Some may be employees. Some may be investors. Some may be family. An important sign that it’s time to quit your day job is when all the stakeholders agree it’s the best course for you and your business. When that all comes together, it’s time to jump.
Sign #6 (The Bad Sign): You’re Jumping Away and Not Toward
One thing you want to avoid is finding yourself in a situation where you’re leaving your day job just because you can’t stand it. Quitting your day job may be the right move, but not in favor of dedicating yourself full time to a business venture that may not be ready yet.
If you truly love your business and think it has what it takes to succeed, put in the time necessary to make it ready before you. Sometimes the biggest sacrifice you have to make for your business is not pursuing it.