5 Things I Learned While Transitioning into Full-Time Entrepreneurship
Moving a concept from idea to profitable business is daunting especially when you have no frame of reference or mentor to tell you what decisions to make and what pitfalls to stay away from. This was my experience. I made quite a few mistakes, and I still do. That’s why I decided to write this. I wanted to help those of you looking to launch a profitable business avoid some of the same traps I fell into as I transitioned from employee to entrepreneur.
1. Think before you quit.
We’ve all read glory stories about entrepreneurs who quit their job and hit it big almost instantly. These stories have a way of inspiring self-starters to believe that they can make it happen. Truth be told, you probably can. However, there’s no way to determine how long it will take you to make it happen. Here’s another truth: it rarely ever happens quickly. Personally, it took about a year before I got to a point where my business was profitable enough to sustain me and I wasn’t prepared for it. So here are a few questions to ask yourself before you quit:
- Have I vetted my idea?
- Have I already started my business as a side-hustle and have I seen measurable success?
- Have I saved enough money to sustain me while I grow my business?
2. Develop a back-up plan
I don’t mean to sound redundant, but growing a thriving business really takes time. During that time, you still have to eat. You need somewhere to live. Depending on the city you’re in, you need something to drive. No real entrepreneur wants to think about failure, but the reality is that failure can happen. Don’t leave yourself in a position that you can’t bounce back from. Have Plan B in place in case you need to pivot.
3. Learn how to live without
One of the greatest challenges I had to overcome was learning to minimize my expenditures. I never considered myself to be “high-maintenance”, but I do like nice things and good times. I had to make some hard decisions such as choosing not to go out with friends as often. I switched to a cheaper wireless carrier and stopped upgrading my phone each time the opportunity presented itself. I learned how to cook. Entrepreneurship is tough and it almost always requires that you make tough decisions until your business becomes big enough to sustain the lifestyle you want.
4. Learn to manage stress
Entrepreneurship is stressful. When I started, I lacked an effective stress management system. The first step I took was to hire a therapist. Sometimes you need to talk and sometimes you need someone to help you develop strategies to better manage yourself and your stress. Therapy was the solution for me.
The next step I took was to exercise more regularly. This is something that took me a long time to master. In fact, only recently have I started exercising consistently. Exercise allows me the opportunity to step away from work and any other thing that may be challenging me to give me room to focus on my well-being and clear my head.
5. Build a support system
I struggled with this because I have always been independent, but I learned that burnout creeps up quickly when you lack a proper support system. Support systems provide you with the opportunity to get open and honest feedback. They serve as great sounding boards when you need to vent about challenges.
Not only are support systems for the hard times, but they are also there to help you celebrate the good times. You need someone you can call to share the good news with. You need real people to share the ups and downs with. The earlier you identify this group, the better you’ll find yourself emotionally and mentally as you navigate the winding roads of entrepreneurship.