In 2010, I decided to quit my job so I can focus in growing my business. I was 24 years old back then.
I’m a Certified Public Accountant, and that move was indeed classified by many as “daring” and “risky”. It was very unexpected especially as an accountant, I am accustomed to be more of conservative and less risk-taker.
But why did I do that? Why did I quit my job for my start-up? And did I regret that decision? When is really the right time to quit your job for your business?
Let me answer these questions one by one. But please note that this article is not a “how-to” guide but more of just sharing my personal experience and the lessons I learned from it, hoping it will be useful for you to decide whether or not to quit your job to become a full-time entrepreneur.
Why Did I Quit My Job for my Business?
The decision to quit my job rooted from the change in my mindset. It started when I met different people who are successful in their respective businesses and by reading biographies of successful entrepreneurs.
When my way of thinking was changed, it became very difficult for me to be happy with my job. I couldn’t accept to receive taxpayers money (my salary as govt. employee) when I’m not effective in my job since it is something that I do not want to do. I decided to quit so someone else more deserving for the position can fill it.
I was confident to quit because that time, I didn’t have much responsibility, and I had the support of the people around me in case I fail. In addition, I thought to myself that if in case I fail, I’m still young to start over again.
Did I Regret Quitting My Job for my Business?
I’m sure many new entrepreneurs and/or want-to-be entrepreneur will ask themselves at some point, “will i regret my decision to quit employment and become entrepreneur?”. The answer in this question will determine the line between those who will proceed to entrepreneurship and those who will choose to stick to employment.
As for me, the answer is both yes and no. Yes, I regretted the timing but not my decision to be full-time in my business. I realized that I quitted too soon. Because when I quitted, I didn’t have stable income from the business and I had to rely on someone else to survive. And that for me is my lowest point in life. I even had occurrence of depression because I felt I was a failure. But I persisted, I continued my pursuit until the cash flow of the business started to become positive. This is why I will also answer “no”, I didn’t regretted pursuing entrepreneurship, because I’ve learned that if you will work on it and won’t give up, the result / income will come to you. I learned that while the result/income hasn’t arrive yet, just continue giving value.
When is the Right Time to Quit Your Job for your Business?
As shared earlier, timing is very important in your decision to become full-time entrepreneur. And such timing will be affected my many factors which I will try to detail here.
- Capital – You must know how much capital you need to start and operate the business for at least six (6) months. And you should have money set aside for the said amount of capital.
- Emergency Fund – you must have at least six (6) months worth of living expenses to sustain your daily needs, especially if you will quit before starting the business or before the business starts to have income. If the business has income, make sure the income is enough to sustain your needs.
- Product or Service that has a tested market – this is basic, but sometimes basic is not followed when emotion sets in. This also became my mistake, I quit before testing the market for my product or service. I thought having passion to what you do is enough. I realized later on that passion is not enough, you have to consider if your product or service has a market. Will people want or need it. Will people buy it.
- Responsibility — If you plan to quit your job to become entrepreneur, before you quit, think about your responsibilities. In my experience, it was easy for me to quit because I didn’t have big responsibility yet at that time, I was single and no children. I was not the breadwinner. When you don’t have responsibility it is okay to take the risk and quit.
- Legal Obligations – Before you quit your job to be full-time entrepreneur, make sure you can manage to pay your existing legal obligations (liabilities). Remember that in business, the income is not constant especially in the early stage. As such, you are risking yourself to possible failure to pay your liabilities and incur penalties and interests.
- Focus – Quitting your employment also means you will have more time to relax, do other things like watching a year long tv series, playing your favorite sport or video games. Can you make sure that you can devote your time and focus to your business? Concentration is necessary if you want to start a business. If you do it full-time, make sure that you can stay away from distractions and submit your full attention to the business. You might even need to sacrifice your personal plans such as getting in a relationship, getting married or having a baby.
- Support System – If you will quit your job to become full-time entrepreneur, you will need support (financial and moral) from people closed to you like your family. Because it will be a huge setback if the important people in your life will keep on nagging you about your decision. Also, this support system will be your backup in case you fail in your attempt.
- Back-up Plan – Aside from the support system, you also need to establish plan “B”. This is in case your plan “A” don’t work, at least you have another option. Also before you quit, save at least six months worth of living and business expense as your emergency (back-up) fund.
- Being Aggressive and Risk-Taker – If you want to quit your job for your business, you must develop an aggressive and risk-taking attitude. Because if not, you will be slowing or limiting your growth and earning potential. In addition, before you quit, you should have a game plan or a clear plan for execution.
- Scalability – This is often missed and not considered by many newbie entrepreneurs. If you start a business and you work on it full-time, make sure the business is scalable. It’s something you can grow, expand and delegate. Because if not, it is possible that you are not building a business, you are building a company where you are the employee and employer at the same time. Sometimes it’s not good or even worst than being employed because as the founder, you will perform multiple roles.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t quit if you fall into above categories. But in my personal opinion and experience, I think its too risky if you quit too soon. Yes, taking risk is important, but you have to take only calculated risks.
I hope this article has been helpful and enlightening for you. For a final note, let me leave you this thought to ponder:
Business is a money game with few rules and a lot of risk. ~ Bill Gates