Are you frustrated and fed up with your job? Well, don’t despair. You have options. One is to quit your job; another is to start a company. It is possible to transition successfully from employee to entrepreneur, but it’s a little more complex than that. Here are 12 steps you will need to take to become your own boss:
1. DETERMINE WHAT YOU’D LIKE TO DO
Some people call this finding your passion, but it’s more than that. Think about your skills, abilities and experience. Consider what you can realistically see yourself doing for hours each day, for weeks and years.
2. THINK ABOUT WHAT OTHERS WILL PAY FOR
A viable business is the intersection between what you’d like to do and what others will pay for.
3. INTERVIEW IDEAL CUSTOMERS
Find a few people who you think would be your ideal clients. Ask them about their biggest needs, fears and aspirations related to the business idea you plan to pursue. Are the benefits of your product or service in line with their real needs? Also, make a note of the words they use because they’ll eventually help make your marketing more authentic.
4. DESIGN YOUR MARKETING AND BUSINESS PLANS
Today’s marketing involves content creation, social media, email outreach, and more. Make sure you know how you’ll approach each of these avenues to introduce your idea to customers. At the same time, lay out a business plan that details how you intend your business to function. It doesn’t need to be incredibly formal, but it does need to cover your operating structure, product, delivery systems and expansion plans.
5. SET UP YOUR BUSINESS ON A SMALL SCALE
If you can, test your company idea by launching on a small scale on the side, while still working your day job. This gives you a no-risk opportunity to test your ideas, get your first clients and see if the business will hold up over time before you leave the security of your current position.
6. ASSESS FEEDBACK AND ADJUST
Running a small-scale operation will help you determine which parts of your idea are great and which parts need adjusting. Take customer feedback seriously and make any necessary changes before you begin scaling up.
7. ASSEMBLE A TEAM
If your idea seems viable, determine who you’ll want on your business leadership team when you eventually launch full time. Depending on your personal experience, you may need help in areas such as finance, marketing, customer service and production.
8. SECURE FINANCING
For a small venture, this might mean saving up some money to get through the first few months, or taking cash from your savings. If your aspirations are a bit larger, you may need to think about how to procure venture capital or other outside investment.
9. SET UP THE STRUCTURE OF YOUR COMPANY
At the same time, you’ll also want to decide what kind of company structure to register. Get this taken care of legally, and carefully define the roles and investment of each of your leadership team members.
10. LEAVE YOUR JOB
When you’re ready, leave your day job.
This may feel like an amazing relief after all the work you have already put in, but trust me, more work awaits you.
Although it may be tempting, be sure not to burn any bridges as you leave. You never know when you’ll encounter former bosses and colleagues again, and you may need to work with them in the future.
11. SET UP A WORKING BUDGET
With your full-time schedule now devoted to your business, set up a company budget. This should include payments for marketing expenses, salaries and other important purchases. Just be sure not to waste money on frivolous expenses.
12. SCALE UP YOUR BUSINESS ACCORDING TO YOUR MARKETING PLAN
Finally, all that’s left to do is to work with the plans you’ve carefully laid out for yourself. Of course, that plan may change over time as you encounter and overcome obstacles.
But this is it. You’re a fully fledged entrepreneur. Congratulations!
As you can see, becoming an entrepreneur requires a lot of work before you even consider quitting your day job.
However, if you follow each of the steps listed above and your idea still seems viable, you can leave your life as an employee and become an entrepreneur.
There are still many challenges you’ll face, but for most entrepreneurs, the benefits of meaningful work and self-direction are much more important.