The 7 Most Important Questions You Need to Answer Before Leaving Your Corporate Job to Become an Entrepreneur
Becoming an entrepreneur sounds both exciting and glamorous, but in practice it requires a great deal of hard work, uncertainty and multiple life changes. The question is “Are you ready for the change?”
The most successful entrepreneurs will advise you to form a quick assessment, and answer the following seven questions before leaving your day job.
1. Do you really have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
In your job as a corporate leader, you have more than likely been guided by a strict schedule, job description and cultural norms. As an entrepreneur, you will now be flying solo. You will need to design a strategic plan, write out daily goals and do everything you can to stay motivated. You will also need to think BIG like most successful entrepreneurs do, be persistent and welcome failure as a learning tool for the future.
2. Do you have the financial resources needed to make the transition?
Lack of financial resources is one of the biggest obstacles budding entrepreneurs will face. It can be hard to come up with the cash flow you need to fund you along the way, so it is best to do some advance financial planning before you leave your corporate job. You may not see a great deal of cash flow until year 2 or 3, so you will need a savings that will help you pay your bills for at least three years. By having cash in the bank, you can focus on building your business as opposed to trying to pay the day-in-day-out bills. Another option is to consider building your network marketing on a part time basis before you go full time. This will require a great deal of self-motivation, focus and persistence. At the end of a busy day at work, it will be easy to say “I’ve had a long day. I just don’t have time to work on my part-time business.” Take notice if this story is popping up for you. You may need a mentor or coach to keep you focused and moving forward.
3. Are you willing to take on multiple roles, including business operations, marketing, paying the bills and making sure your technology is up to date?
As mentioned above, it sounds so exciting and glamorous when you think about owning your own business. As an entrepreneur, you will be doing everything from marketing and sales to buying office supplies. A day will come in the future where you can hire someone to take on the small stuff, but until that time comes, are you willing to do it all?
4. Are you willing to make changes in your lifestyle and make the sacrifices you will need to make to be successful?
With a corporate job, you have more than likely been drawing a steady paycheck, and you have been able to live a fabulous lifestyle. If you leave your corporate job to become an entrepreneur, your lifestyle will more than likely need to change so that you have the resources you need to be successful. This includes cutting back on the finer things in life for a short while until your business is running a profit. Make sure that you and your family are willing to cut back in order to be successful. If not, then it is probably best to postpone starting a business until you are truly ready to make sacrifices needed so that you can keep moving forward.
5. What is the worst case scenario if becoming an entrepreneur does not work out?
Before you leave your corporate job, it is critical for you to talk with a trusted friend or a mentor about the worst that could happen if you leave your corporate job. You may be thinking “If this fails, I will never have a job again.” That belief is almost always not true. You have more than likely built a strong reputation in the corporate world, and the worst that could happen is that the business fails, and it is required that you go back to work for a company. Make sure you are comfortable with the worst case scenario. If so, you can move forward without that dark cloud hovering over your head.
6. Do you have your support network in place so that success is possible?
When you leave your corporate job, your life is an entrepreneur can be lonely and challenging. You will need a group of smart entrepreneurs around you to help you move through the process of building your own business. Schedule a meeting with each person in your support network and ask for their help. They will more than likely be thrilled to be someone you called upon to help.
7. Are you willing to embrace risk and failure in order to be successful?
The most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that risk and failure are components of starting a business. If you view risk and failure as opportunities to learn and to become more successful, then you are on the right track to becoming a successful business owner. If the thought of risk and failure frighten you, it is probably a good idea to think twice before entering the world of the entrepreneur. Over time, you will become accustomed to the cycles of risk, success and failure, but you have to be somewhat comfortable with risk and failure before you leave your corporate job.
If you do choose to leave your corporate job, just remember this: your employer and your work colleagues could actually help you in your new venture. Stay in communication with your employer as you exit, and above all…don’t burn any bridges with your employer or your colleagues. You may need them as you pursue your new business venture.