It is no easy feat running two enterprises at once, whether it’s a job and a home-based business or a business and a family.
Yes, we live in the age of the multitasker, where gadgets like smartphones and tablets make such endeavors easier- but easier is not the same as easy. Taking an idea, executing it, making a profit and then keeping it going requires a lot of mental, emotional, physical and financial bandwidth. It demands total commitment, dedication and attention.
If you can't give your small business the attention it deserves for whatever reason, it may not be fatal, but it is not good, either. The sooner you can give it your full attention, the better- because that is how you succeed.
But there is another important caveat: the timing has to be right. Some entrepreneurs are lucky enough to have the time and resources to move forward at full speed. But everyone else - the part-timer, the weekend warrior, the bootstrap entrepreneur - asks the same question that you are asking: When can I make this my full-time occupation?
Here are the top five signs that you can quit your day job, David Letterman style:
5. You are headed in the right direction: Starting a business at home, at night or on weekends requires not only that you keep up with your regular job, along with your home or family commitments, but also that you dedicate most of your remaining time to the business.
As such, it will take a while to get off the ground, gain altitude and fly in the right direction. But once you get past that startup phase, once you have a tailwind and are headed in the right direction, you know you are on the verge of being able to let go of your day job.
4. You know what you are doing: A corollary to number 5 is that you are past the novice stage and actually know what the heck you are doing.
Sure, you can fly earlier, but if you don't really know what does and does not work, you will be more likely to fall than to soar.
3. You have reliable customers: Notice that I did not just say that you have customers, but that you have reliable customers. They are not the same thing. Customers come and go. They stay, buy and fly.
Reliable customers, however, are different. They found you and like you and like working with you or shopping with you. Reliable customers give you both the confidence and the financial wherewithal to do without the safety of the regular paycheck, benefits and health care.
2. You make enough money to (almost) live on: Again, notice "almost." If your part-time business gives you enough income that you believe you can do even better if you go full time, you are probably right.
But this should also mean that you have saved some money. Quitting will hit your wallet, as will ramping up, as will buying your own health insurance and more. Until you quit, the money you make in your extra endeavor should also provide a nest egg for the full-time version.
And the number 1 sign you are ready to quit your day job . . .
1. You can't NOT do it: When you get to the point that the business is going so well, when opportunities are presenting themselves, when it’s fun and profitable that you miss it and think about it when you are not doing it, when not doing it more costs you money, then you are ready to fly like the wind, my friend.
Have you encountered any signs that told you to move ahead with your business? Share them with us below.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strausshttp://www.smallbusinessonlinecommunity.bankofamerica.com/people/Steve%20Strauss/contentYou can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here.