The journey can look so long. When you’re sitting in your cubicle, counting down the hours until you can commute home, the distance from employee to entrepreneur can appear impossible to cross.
It isn’t… and thousands of people make that journey successfully every year. According to the U.S.Chamber of Commerce, about 400,000 new businesses are started each year—and 70 percent of those businesses are still running two years later. Making the move from employee to entrepreneur requires just three steps.
They’re big steps, but there’s just three of them.
1. Measure and Find the Money You Need
The first step is the most frightening. Starting a business always costs money. Whether you’re opening an online store or planning to set up a law firm, you’re going to have upfront costs. You’ll have office expenses and marketing expenses. You’ll need to buy supplies and equipment. You might have to pay for licenses and salaries. Some of those costs will be predictable. Others you’ll only be able to estimate.
The same is true of revenues. It might be a year or more before you see a return on your investments, and even longer before you break even. You’ll need to know how much money you’ll need to take you to that break-even point—and where you’re going to get it from. You’ll need to measure your savings, talk to the bank, and understand how much you’ll have to pay for any loans that you take.
Tackling the finances will be difficult, but it’s the first step towards taking control of your business life.
2. Build a Routine
Money is one vital resource that every entrepreneur needs. The other is time. The two are related, of course. The more time you’re able to devote to your business, the more money you’ll spend but the sooner you’ll be able to turn the red ink black.
Ideally, you’ll be able to walk into your boss’s office, thrown down your resignation letter and head off to your own business to work full-time. In practice though, what usually happens is that small businesses start in spare hours. They’re built in the evenings and early mornings, and they take off at weekends when barbeques and sports games are sacrificed for semi-professional photography shoots and product launches.
There’s a benefit to that gradual approach. It means that by the time you’re ready to go full-time, you’ll already know what you’re doing. You’ll know which products your customers like most and which marketing channels work best. Moving to full-time business-building won’t mean hoping that your business idea succeeds; it will mean scaling an idea that’s already showing signs of promise.
Before you become a full-time entrepreneur, build a schedule around your day job. Make testing different parts of your business part of your routine so that you get the riskiest and toughest parts of being an entrepreneur out of the way before you take the jump.
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3. Enjoy the Process
There are always difficult moments when building a business. There will always be challenges and failures and frustrations. There will also be successes, achievements, and a great sense of pride. No one expects you to enjoy the times when launches fizzle or clients walk away but you should be able to enjoy the journey overall.
Employees have a steady income. They know exactly how much money they’re going to make each month. They know what they have to do to get their next raise, and they know the maximum they can expect to earn. If all you’re interested in is your finances, then you’ll find it easier to match your lifestyle to your income than to build a business to raise your earnings.
You don’t become an entrepreneur only to get rich. You build a business because you enjoy the process of building it. You know that you’ll love working for yourself, and you’ll have real fun putting it all together.
The last step is the most important: create a business plan that you’ll really enjoy implementing.
About Joel Comm
As an Internet pioneer, Joel has been creating profitable websites, software, products and helping entrepreneurs succeed since 1995. He has been at the frontlines of live video online since 2008 and has a deep expertise in using tools such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram or Snapchat to broadcast a clearly defined message to a receptive audience or leveraging the power of webinar and meeting technologies.
Joel is a New York Times best-selling author of 15 books, including “The AdSense Code,” “Click Here to Order: Stories from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs,” “KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays and Twitter Power 3.0.” He is Co-Host of The Bad Crypto Podcast one of the top crypto-related shows in the world and has spoken before thousands of people around the world and seeks to inspire, equip and entertain.
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