How to Quit Your Day Job…To Start a Business

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I can’t go back to having a regular job. Sure, entrepreneurship has its up and downs, but it’s addicting and never boring. Most importantly, it’s about fulfilling your own potential, creating solutions to problems, and making the world a better place.

In the last decade, companies like Kickstarter, Angellist, Maker’s Row and Shopify have made it much easier to start a company. Access to previously brokered information, funding or customers has become much more attainable.

Quitting your job can be risky and scary – some people will even try to talk you out of it. Before quitting my job to co-own a leather goods line, I had potentially great career paths at Goldman Sachs and Google, and it was tough to leave that security for a risky venture. However, I found that eventually, the feeling of wanting to create and build something outweighs any risk or fear.

Here are five tips if you are thinking about taking the leap into entrepreneurship:

1. Try working at a startup first

Immersing yourself in a small business or startup will give you good insight into the inner workings of creating a company. Also, if you are upfront about wanting to learn more about starting your own company, the business owner can even turn into a mentor!

2. Try working on your business during nights and weekends

You can do a lot of damage from 10pm-2am, and on weekends. Working on your company during off hours will help you decide if you are passionate enough to be in it for the long haul. It also buys you time to potentially find some business partners. This is how I started working with my business partner.

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3. Create a backup plan: save up at least 6 months of money

For your sanity and security, please save up at least 6 months worth of money for your own expenses, and your projected business expenses. Believe me, you won’t regret this. This might mean that you will have to sacrifice eating out, or going on that vacation, BUT, it will be worth it!

4. Get involved and familiar with the startup scene

Getting involved with your startup community is a great way to have your dream of quitting become more real. Take some time out to meet your future peers, or who you want to be your future peers :) They will share tips, tricks and be your allies along the way. If you are shy, try following the scene on Twitter, and get on relevant email lists to know about the latest events.

5. Gain some traction: have some signs of revenue or funding lined up

Related to this post on when not to quit, it’s important to have some traction or some feasible way that you will keep the business going. Whether it is getting investors on board, or bootstrapping and executing a revenue model, or a mix of a few revenue sources, be sure to have a plan.

Bonus: Find a Business Partner

Starting a business involves so many varying skillsets (design, marketing, sales, operations), and being a 1 man / woman band can get really tough. It’s important to find someone with a complementary skill-set to go through challenges with you, and to celebrate victories with. Read more on how to find a business partner here.

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This post was originally published on May 6, 2014; we added some updates for you.