Becoming an entrepreneur means taking risks regularly, and there is no way around that. The variety of risk varies from day to day, and many are miniscule. However, perhaps the biggest risk of all is diving into the company full-time. Most people who own businesses have steady income, and not knowing when your next paycheck will come can be devastating to some. To help calm your nerves, I have devised a way to tell if you are ready to dive in.
The biggest concern people have about diving in is the money aspect. This is easier to handle if you have substantial savings, but truthfully, savings dwindle faster than you would expect. If you could survive without making any money for a year, you are off to a good start. Furthermore, if you have a spouse or partner who is able to support your family on their own, you are in an even better position. Keep in mind that the costs you have now are not necessarily the costs you will have in a year or two — especially if you have children.
Although we are not able to predict the future and will almost always underestimate the worst that could happen, we can try to estimate where our family will be at over the next five years. If you have young kids, now may not be the time to start a business, as you might regret missing out on their childhood. On the other hand, if you are the sole caretaker of an elderly parent, you are not much better off. While parents can and frequently do start successful businesses, it does come with a trade-off that you will have to consider. If you do not yet have a family, you are in a much better position to start a company.
If you’re thinking about diving in, you likely have juggled your stable job with your new business up to this point. Think about how happy you are in your current corporate position. If your boss constantly berates you and takes energy away from your entrepreneurial pursuit, you may want to consider leaving soon. Also consider if you can transition away from your current job in a smooth manner, rather than abruptly leaving. You may be able to move to part-time or work from home, allowing you to get work done for your business during lulls. Understand that as long as you are working for someone else, that position has to come first, or you may face consequences. However, coming up with a good logistical solution is easier than leaving abruptly, and potentially burning bridges.
Since there is no perfect guideline for when to throw yourself into your business, take these points as a starter for conversation. You should never make this decision on your own, but your opinion is the one that matters most. There are many aspects that could hold you back, and they vary from person to person, so consider your personal situation. Just remember, no matter what happens, you can always find your way out.