A lot of people dream of leaving their job to start a venture of their own.
Are you one of these people? Do you want to leave the rat race and follow your passion? Do you want to be an entrepreneur?
My Tips for the Budding Entrepreneurs
As you can imagine, entrepreneurship is not easy! After all, you don’t see many people leaving their comfortable jobs to start a business of their own – even if they hate their jobs!
But that shouldn’t scare you either – like anything difficult, being prepared helps you the most in succeeding with entrepreneurship.
I have been fortunate to have traveled through the path of entrepreneurship. And while on my journey, I have realized a few things that go a long way in determining your success.
With the hope that this would help any budding entrepreneur, here are my top 3 tips to be a successful entrepreneur.
1. Get the Buy-In of Your Spouse
The most important factor to consider before even think of leaving your job is the backing of your husband or your wife. Trust me, you need your spouse’s support more than anything – especially in the early days of your venture!
This is important for many reasons – below are just to name a few:
- They have to be comfortable with the idea of you not bringing in a steady income
- They might have to be the primary provider of the household till you are getting established in your business
- They can be a sounding board for new ideas
- They can provide you the much needed encouragement when you are having those moments of doubts when you question your decision to leave a cushy job!
- They have to face the relatives when they are ‘caringly’ asked behind your back “But why did he / she have to leave the job???”
Have a candid discussion with your spouse, and see how comfortable they are with the idea. Remember, you becoming an entrepreneur is a big responsibility for your spouse too – so you can’t force it on them!
Present your case well, and make sure you get their buy-in before taking the plunge.
The support of my wife was absolutely crucial during my entrepreneurial journey. She readily bought the idea of me becoming an entrepreneur, because she wanted me to pursue my passion and knew I had the skill to be a good financial planner.
In fact, she was also instrumental in convincing my parents and my parents-in-laws about it – coming from a non-business background, the idea of foregoing a steady income was not very palatable to them!
We used her income to run the house in the initial days of my venture, and knowing that she was ok with it made it a lot less stressful to accept the fact that I was not bringing in as much as my full time job at that time! She also took over additional responsibilities around the house, so that I could devote the maximum possible time to my venture.
She did not just encourage me in the beginning – her constant faith and encouragement was a big support during the whole entrepreneurial process, even when I was comfortably established.
A BIG ‘thank-you’ to you, Renu – without your support, I couldn’t have even dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur! Thanks for always standing by my side…
2. Test the Market
You might think you have a great idea, but do other people think so too? More importantly, even if they like your idea and your product, are they willing to shell out money for it?
This is a very critical question, and seems like common-sense – but you wouldn’t believe how many people skip this! They are so much in love with their product, they fail to ask whether there is a market for it or not.
My advice: Spend some time and money beforehand, so that you can save a lot of pain later!
The idea of starting an online financial planning service first occurred to me because I saw that while the incomes of entry-level staff were increasing (thanks to the IT and other service industries), these youngsters were more or less clueless about productively investing this extra money.
Additionally, I saw that there were very few good financial planners available, and their reach was limited to their local markets.
My plan was to reach the all-India market by harnessing the internet – and it sounded great on paper. But did I leave my job right away? No! I had to find out a few things before I did that:
- Are there enough people interested in financial planning?
- Are they willing to pay for financial planning service, when the agents and brokers provide ‘free advice’?
- Are they willing to pay online?
- Are they willing to share their financial details online?
- Can I create a secure website that doesn’t compromise my clients’ sensitive data?
I started my website – while I was still gainfully employed! To be honest, I did not plan to make it a full-time venture when I started it. But over a few months, I found that the answer to all the above questions was ‘yes’, and that’s when I took the plunge into full-time entrepreneurship!
Now, depending on your product or service, you may not have the opportunity to do a full trial run, but at least make sure that you ask the right questions and get honest answers before you start. Even a small market survey goes a long way!
3. Have Enough Savings
This is one factor that people do actually consider – everyone realizes the importance of saving enough money before resigning from their job and taking the plunge. However, most people don’t really know how much is ‘enough’!
You need to realize that during the initial period of your venture, you would end up burning a lot more cash than you anticipated – there are many unexpected expenses that you would not have thought of! Add to that the fact that your business gaining traction may take longer than anticipated, and you could be in trouble pretty quickly!
Also, don’t forget that the household expense might generally increase when you leave your job – certain expenses that were handled by your employer (for example, reimbursement of phone bills) would have to be borne by you!
Bottomline: Err on the side of caution – saving more doesn’t hurt, while saving less might force you to wind up too soon.
I did err on the side of caution and saved up more than what I thought my business would need.
Fortunately for me, my wife was earning enough to run the household, so my savings mostly went towards the business. Also, since I already had my website running and had paying clients, I had a positive cash-flow from the first day of starting my business!
Like I said before, entrepreneurship is not easy, but the sailing could be a lot smoother with proper planning.
Hope my tips on entrepreneurship help you in your situation – my best wishes are always with you…