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When to quit and become an entre­pren­eur

Unless you’ve inher­ited a big chunk of change, few entre­pren­eurs can get their busi­ness off the ground without work­ing a “real” job to sus­tain them­selves dur­ing that pro­cess. There’s a very good chance you’re in this same boat if you’re look­ing to set out on your own. Which means at some point you have to decide when you can quit that “real job” to focus entirely on your own busi­ness.

We’ve all fan­tas­ized about stand­ing up, yelling “I quit!” and walk­ing out on job. Maybe with a few over­turned desks and smashed mon­it­ors strewn behind us. See­ing as you’re an entre­pren­eur and not neces­sar­ily someone who enjoys work­ing in a reg­u­lar office envir­on­ment, you may be temp­ted to take a vari­ation on this approach. Don’t. No mat­ter how sat­is­fy­ing it feels to tell a bunch of jerks that they’re jerks, you likely won’t feel quite so neg­at­ive about your old office after you’ve been away for a while. Burn­ing bridges is rarely a good idea. Your boss could become a future cus­tom­er or bet­ter yet investor!

Keep work­ing as long as you can. The more estab­lished your busi­ness is when you leave, the more con­fid­ent you can be about mak­ing the leap.

But when should you quit?

Quit When You Can Sup­port Your­self for Two Years

This isn’t about being overly care­ful. This is about ensur­ing your busi­ness has the breath­ing room to suc­ceed. If you’re strug­gling to pay your mort­gage three months after you’ve left your job, then you’ll be too dis­trac­ted deal­ing with that to focus on your busi­ness. What’s the point of leav­ing your job for that?

Maybe you have a spouse who pulls in enough money to cov­er the dif­fer­ence as your busi­ness gets going. Maybe you have a side hustle you can work on part time to earn extra cash. Maybe you saved up a lot of money just for this pur­pose.

Whatever the case may be, make note of your monthly liv­ing and busi­ness expenses then sub­tract whatever your busi­ness is bring­ing in. Can you make up the dif­fer­ence? If not, would you be happy cut­ting down on some per­son­al expenses to make it so you can?

Quit When You Have a Grasp On Taxes

Depend­ing on how much money you’re mak­ing from your busi­ness, you may not have noticed just how big a chunk of profits can be vacu­umed up by taxes. Expenses while get­ting the busi­ness going may be off­set­ting some or all of these taxes. The poten­tial refund from your reg­u­lar job may be bal­an­cing against your busi­ness profits so you don’t have to pay any­thing.

If you’re mak­ing just enough to get by, it’s a ter­rible sur­prise come April to sud­denly find you owe the gov­ern­ment thou­sands of dol­lars you do not have. Just how much you’ll owe is going to depend on profits, deduc­tions, expenses and numer­ous oth­er things best left for a tax pro­fes­sion­al to hash out. Regard­less, you still need to be pre­pared to pay.

Plan to put back 15 to 20 per­cent of your busi­ness profits every single month. This could be more than you need or it could be less, but it’s a sol­id start­ing point to ensure you aren’t blind­sided by a tax bill.

Quit When You Have a Plan for Deal­ing with Loneli­ness

Image result for loneliness

Assum­ing you feel fin­an­cially con­fid­ent enough to leave your job, work­ing on your own can be quite lonely. Even if you get tired of see­ing the same people at work every day, you’ve likely made friends and had good con­ver­sa­tions. You’ll start to feel the loss of that a month or two after you leave.

If you have a part­ner and/​or kids they cer­tainly help, but you’ll prob­ably want human inter­ac­tion besides fam­ily and cus­tom­ers. Oth­er­wise, the isol­a­tion may start to wear on you. How can you deal with it?

Plan at least a monthly lunch with friends from your old office. This will ensure you don’t lose those friend­ships.

Work out­side of your house or busi­ness once a week if pos­sible. Go to a cof­fee shop. A park. The lib­rary. So long as you can see, hear, and inter­act with oth­er people, it’s a good spot.

Keep act­ive in the com­munity. Play on a soft­ball team. Volun­teer with a non-profit organ­iz­a­tion. Join a board gam­ing group. Attend reli­gious ser­vices.
Not only will you feel ener­gized by being out with oth­er people, you might even meet some new cus­tom­ers. And that’ll bring you one step closer to run­ning a self-suf­fi­cient busi­ness.


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