Small business advice personalized for those who are new to business
I quit my day job over three years ago!
A lot of people on the internet glamorize quitting your day job, pursuing your passion, and finally working for yourself! I will not be one of those people. Look, starting any business is hard work, but it can be especially hard when suddenly (or maybe not so suddenly) this business is your sole source of income. So, let’s talk about it.
Here are five things that are essential to do before you quit your day job
1) Get Inspired & Learn All that You Can
Just because you’re waiting to take the jump into full time business ownership, doesn’t mean you can’t learn while you wait. If fact, I highly suggest it! Now is a great time to listen to some podcasts, take a couple webinars, and read some solid business books.
2) Start the Business
Don’t wait to quit your day job so that you can finally start your business. You can start and grow your business before you hand in your resignation letter. It’s really hard to go from 0 dollars and 0 customers to a full time income. But if you can work on your business and build clientele before going full time, you’ll be ahead of the game. When you’re 60-80% away from replacing your income, then you’re ready to make the jump.
3) Create Two Emergency Funds
It’s imperative to have two emergency funds. I’m talking about both a personal emergency fund and a business emergency fund. Save up six months of your personal income and put it in a personal emergency fund. Don’t touch it unless you actually really need it. This isn’t vacation money or a “hey, that’s a great deal” money. It’s emergency money. So that if you have dry months and you need to pay your bills, you can. It gives you a buffer until you need to be successful. The bigger the buffer, the better.
The business emergency fund is separate from your personal finances and is separate from your up front investment costs. It’s the amount of money that it takes to keep the lights on in your business month to month. It’s for your slow months when you can’t pay rent, employees, or suppliers; or something broke that you cannot do business without...i.e. a computer, printer, camera, etc.
You will get slim months. You will get months that you don’t make anything. This is especially true for seasonal services. Every business has some sort of seasonality to it and hopefully if you’ve been in business for awhile (reference point #1), it won’t take you by surprise.
4) Create a 12 Month Plan
Create a business plan and know your goals for the year. How are you going to make the money that you need in order to pay yourself? At the very core of doing business you need: a product or service to sell, a way to find your customer, and a way to get paid. Once you’ve started, how will you grow those things? What’s your plan? You don’t have to make it complicated.
I wish I had a better plan when I quit my day job. At the time I had a million ideas, but I didn’t know how to take these ideas and put them on paper and create a strategy. So please, take the time to sit down and write out a strategy for your next 12 months.
5) Find a Mentor
A mentor is someone who is on the same path but is a few steps ahead of you. A mentor in business is highly valuable because they can share their experience, give you feedback on your ideas, hold you accountable, and even help you avoid costly mistakes.
So once you decide that you want a mentor, where do you find them? First, look around to the people you know and see who is in business and is doing it well. Ask them to get a cup of coffee or breakfast with you to allow you to pick their brain. See if that initial conversation was helpful and if it was, ask them to do it on a regular basis. Some people will say no simply because they do not have the time (business people are busy!) or they don’t have a teaching spirit or desire. And that’s fine, don’t take it personally. Move on and try to find someone else.
If you cannot find someone local to you, then I’d suggest finding a mentor or coach online. I know not everyone has access to great business mentors, that’s why I am offer one on one coaching session to help bootstrap and DIY your passion into a profitable business. You can book a session with me here.
So what do you think of my list? From those of you who have taken the leap, what am I missing? And to those of you who haven’t taken the leap, what’s holding you back?
Hey! My name is Christine and I'm an entrepreneur and small business coach. I've learned most of what I know through trial and error. I help women who are new to business to take their next steps with confidence and clarity.