Have you considered entrepreneurship? According to a recent study by 1 and 1, 53% of American adults have considered starting their own business. However, many obstacles await the burgeoning entrepreneur. I asked three new entrepreneurs three questions about their leap from employee to business owner in 2013.
Meet the Entrepreneurs
Tim Murphy, Co-Founder of AirDrop Gaming
I was approaching my 12 year anniversary with Whirlpool Corporation. I was the Global Principal Category Lead for Fabric Care at the time. Great company, great people, great time.
Joleena Louis, Esq., owner of Joleena Louis Law
I left a small matrimonial law firm in Brooklyn to start my own firm in Manhattan.
Emily H. Griebel, Founder/President of EHG Consulting
In September, I left a marketing firm that I’d been with for 8+ years to become Director of Marketing for a $20+ million jewelry design/manufacturing company. After two months, I left to start my own marketing consulting business.
How did you know it was time to leave?
It was time to leave when I found myself sneaking into broom closets to take phone calls for the side business. It’s one thing to sneak away to entertain a call or two from family, friends or the occasional head hunter. It’s another to sneak away to negotiate material costs with overseas suppliers for a side business. When the night gig started turning into a day gig, it was time to take the leap.
I realized that I was no longer enjoying my work. I was putting in all this time and effort to bring in money for the firm and I was not getting any of the benefits. I finally realized that I would be happier building my own dream than building someone else’s.
I knew that it was time to leave the agency when I didn’t feel challenged anymore and wanted to try something new. I knew it was time to leave the jewelry company because the company culture didn’t fit my style.
What are the warning signs that employees should look for, signaling the right time for self-employment?
It has to be a unique alignment of the stars for most. For me it was practically a miracle when Kendall College of Art and Design approached me for a part-time teaching position. The schedule was perfect, I taught a class (digital modeling) a couple evenings a week and KCAD offered office space plus resources to help incubate the startup, Airdrop Gaming.
When you feel like you have reached as far as you can go at a company, there is no more room for promotion and you feel like you can run the company better yourself.
It’s time to leave when there is no room for growth and you feel unmotivated and/or underutilized.
What advice would you offer an aspiring entrepreneur who may be too scared to take the first step?
Ensure you have ways to provide for yourself (or family in my case) at a bare minimum. At least in my situation I could still put some food on the table with the teaching gig. Plus I had put feelers out to several other job opportunities just in case something fell through last minute.
Cash flow. If you don’t know what cash flow means, STOP, don’t leap. In my case I was lucky enough to partner with some smart folks. Know your financials inside and out, or partner with someone that does.
One lastbit of advice, try to keep the mother and father-in-law in the dark as long as possible. The last thing they need to find out is that their daughter’s husband and father of their loving grandchildren just quit his fantastically predictable, secure, insurance providing day job to tackle a startup.
There is no right time. You just have to take the plunge. Make sure you have enough in the bank to survive a few months or have a spouse that can cover living expenses while you build your business.
The best advice I would offer a young entrepreneur is to work slowly and carefully to develop your business plan and projected income statement. Use all of the resources at your disposal and be sure you understand the financial and emotional risks you take by starting your own business. You must be patient yet optimistic for it to work, and not to mention, capable of successfully running the business you envision.
Have you started a business? If so, what advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who are on the fence?
This post first appeared on Personal Branding Blog.