Working in my business full-time is one of my greatest accomplishments. I set my own hours, I work from home, and I get to choose what projects I work on. Despite my satisfaction with the career choice, I always tell aspiring full-time business owners to proceed with caution. Don’t quit your job in a hurry. There are steps that need to be taken before you make the leap.
Here are signs you’re not quite ready to move forward:
1. Your savings is looking sparse.
I left my full-time job with over $5,000 in savings and ran through that fast. If I had to do it over again, I would definitely have saved more. You should have several months worth of savings put away before leaving your job in case surprise expenses come up or your business has a dry spell. Do not take a shortcut because you’re anxious to be your own boss. Running a business while struggling to make ends meet is not a pleasant situation.
2. You don’t have short- or long-term goals.
Working for yourself shouldn’t be your only goal. The problem with this goal is that when you quit your job, you won’t have a direction for your business. Where do you want to be in six months? Where do you want to be in a year or five years?
I’m not one who believes that a 50-page business plan is necessary. But you should have some idea of what you’re trying to accomplish long-term. You will no longer work under a company who provides the visionary direction. All of the ideas have to come from you.
3. You haven’t figured out health insurance.
Health insurance is one of the top areas of frustration for business owners. You’ll quickly find out it’s a large expense if you’re not on a partner’s plan. Research health insurance options and make some decisions before you quit. Learn more about insurance business owners need here.
4. You don’t have steady clients (or a plan for getting them.)
This sign isn’t as clear as the others. Some businesses have steady clients while others can exist without them. I’ve found that steady clients make running a business a lot less stressful. You have an idea of where your income is coming from every month. You don’t have to start each month over from scratch trying to figure out where you’ll make money.
If your business is one that doesn’t have recurring clients, make sure you have a system in place for getting them regularly. It’s great to have a schedule full of client work right now. But if that dries up, you need to have a strategy to get new clients when this is your main source of income.
It’s not a race.
You don’t have to quit your job right away. There’s no race to self-employment. The smartest thing you can do is to build a fully functional business on the side and then make the transition. With this approach, you won’t be scrambling or signing on clients that aren’t the right fit. You can make a smooth transition after covering all of the bases of preparation.