What are the words that come to your mind at the prospect of quitting your job and setting up your personal business? Excitement? Fear? Nervousness? In reality, thousands of people have taken the plunge and emerged victorious. Many more have failed. What differentiates success from failure is the commitment to a long, laborious and slow process of understanding one’s aptitude for entrepreneurship and understanding the needs of the business.
Many successful entrepreneurs of today were once employees working ordinary 9-to-5 jobs. But their creativity and ambition led them to take a fundamental risk—starting their personal business. More than the novelty of their business idea, the real challenge lay in making a smooth and successful transition from an employee to an entrepreneur running a self-sustaining business.
Start Your Personal Business
Here are some guidelines to help you take the first steps to your very personal business and making the successful transition from employee to entrepreneur.
Watch the Status Quo
If you want to change your career, you need to be sure of the problems with the current position. Doing so will help you take steps to avoid those very problems in the next career option you choose. Identify the reasons for your dissatisfaction with your present career. More importantly, instead of looking for reasons in the company or management, try looking inwards. Self-reflection is a great way to gain insight about what makes you tick and what saps away your energy. Instead of externalizing all your problems, try to find internal reasons so that you can make the necessary adjustments before stepping out of your comfort zone.
Maybe your present job does not allow you to use your natural talents and skills. The routine of everyday work offers no outlet to channelize your passion. To put it simply, your work takes away your energy instead of energizing you. If this is the reason for your dissatisfaction with your job, then the decision to start your personal business or shift careers should be based on these goals. Now that you know what makes you sad with the status quo, you know what to aim for in your next venture.
Visualize the Future
The smart thing to do is to gradually work towards the future while staying with the present. No sense in letting go of a secure job to go out into the dark unknown, however exciting that may sound. A more rational approach is to undertake small experiments with your personal business on the side while staying on the job.
Make use of the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired at work to develop your personal business. This will serve as a necessary safety cushion against failure and make it easier for you to make a new effort. You can also use your hobbies to make a potential career out of them, such as by creating a YouTube channel or Facebook community with others who share your passion.
Don’t Rush it
Building a business on the side while holding on to a regular job to the point where it generates substantial earnings for you requires patience. Don’t expect your website to generate thousands of customers within a few months; it usually takes years before that can happen. Also, be prepared to put in extra hours outside of work and on the weekends to develop your side business into a self-sustainable venture. Over time and with consistency, you will witness more people being attracted to your business and helping it expand through loyal purchases and word-of-mouth publicity. You can then consider pursuing your passion as a full-time career.
Be a Good Promoter
Are you one of those who cringe at the slightest thought of self-promotion? Well, it’s time to wake up and think seriously about the world of entrepreneurship. The point is that if you want people to know about your business and to take you seriously, you will have to tell them what you can do.
Talk to people about your business and be sure to remind them of your experience and skills. Building links in the industry is important because those will probably be your first customers, and they need to feel confident about dealing with a new business. Remember in the world of business, it is important to be seen and heard in order to survive.
Leverage Your Network
Your present network can be an excellent source of honest feedback in addition to potential customers. The good thing is that people in your network know you personally and will be more frank in their opinions about your venture and products. Remember to tap into them all the time whenever you come up with a new product or simply to sound off some new ideas. Their advice and insight can sometimes offer ideas about potential suppliers, promotional methods and even new products.
Take Calculated Steps
It can be tempting to jump headlong into your very personal business, but hold back. It is equally important to be aware of the risks involved. Remember that new businesses fail all the time and it is necessary to be cautious when growing your business.
A more rational approach is to take small steps in expanding the operations and visibility of your business. The whole world doesn’t need to know you’re starting a new business on the very first day. Perhaps a text message to your closest friends is all that’s needed. They will be more open to trying out your products and even giving you a second chance in case you fail. Slowly, expand to a wider audience through Facebook posts or even a formal press release. There’s no harm in throwing a launch party with all the media blitz when it’s the right time.
The thing to remember is that there’s a time for everything and that as a new business you need to be sure that you come across as a potentially successful and credible business. Taking small, calculated steps will help you get there, slowly but surely.
What Success Means to You
The thing with being an entrepreneur is that even though you might believe you’re successful, people around you might not. They might feel sorry for you for not having a regular income, or for not being available to party on weekends, but you need to be confident that you are in a good place.
Do not be influenced by other people’s visions of success, because each one of us has a different life and different aspirations for success. Nor do you need to convince every person that you are doing the right thing. Simply stay focused and keep doing your job. Success and appreciation will surely follow.
It is natural to feel intimidated by the fact that you are now solely responsible for every aspect of your business, unlike in a job where you work on only one part of the business. However, many before have managed to accomplish the transition fairly well. How? By getting the priorities straight. If you’re running a business selling products, your products are your biggest priority. If you’re selling multiple products, then the flagship product should be your priority.
To determine the priorities for your business, you need to be clear about two things—your own values and the philosophy of your business. Every decision you take should be aligned with these two things. Only then will you be able to work wholeheartedly towards them.
There is something strangely empowering about being honest with oneself. If you have nagging doubts about your abilities, be honest and admit them. And then work towards improving yourself. Share your problems with others and seek their advice. It is important to have faith in oneself at all times.
After all, all the years you’ve spent at your job have helped you become what you are today. You are the one who came up with a creative business idea and you are the one who can make it successful. Nobody else has that unique mix of knowledge, skills and experience. Use it as your secret ingredient to succeed in your business.