Should You Quit Your Day Job to Start a Business?

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So, you’re thinking about quitting your job and starting a business.

I get it. What could be better than being your own boss, making your own hours, working from home, and pursuing your passion?

Nowadays, we hear story after story about how people quit their day job and started a successful business. In fact, the life of entrepreneurs is almost glorified as being the answer to our mundane day job problems.

No one can deny the fact that the work world is changing. The ‘American Dream’ is no longer a 9-5 job and a house with a white picket fence. Now, more than ever, people desire to become their own boss and travel the world.

However, as good as that sounds, most entrepreneurs would advise against quitting your day job to start a business.

Now, while it’s not a good idea to walk away from a stable job and paycheck to start a business, that’s not intended to suggest that you don’t start a business at all.

On the contrary. I completely believe that everyone should start a business. However, until that business is thriving and is able to provide you with everything you need, it’s okay to keep your job and work on your business after hours.

Make sure you read to the end of this where I provide you with valuable tips on how to balance starting a business and working your day job.

Here are the reasons why it’s not a good idea to quit your day job to start a business.

Overnight success never happens overnight

Comedian, Eric Cantor, once said, “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success”. Soccer superstar Lionel Messi said, “It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.” Steve Jobs said, “Overnight success stories take time”.

Do you see the pattern?

Overnight success doesn’t happen overnight. So, what does that have to do with you wanting to quit your day job to start a business?

Many people have an unrealistic idea of what it’s like to start something from scratch. We tend to have this mindset that the more time we spend on something, the sooner we see results. That is hardly ever true.

Success takes time. That amount of time could be weeks, months, or years, but it won’t be overnight. I guarantee you that any successful entrepreneur you talk to will tell you a story of how long it took to reach success.

With that said, you cannot quit your day job and expect to be a success by the end of the week. You must allow yourself time to get to a comfortable level of success.

Starting a business takes a lot of work, trail, and error. Because of this, you need to give yourself time to get to success while still keeping the security of your full-time job.

As long as you are willing to put in the work during mornings, evenings, weekends, and free time, there is no reason to quit your day job to start a business.

Stability is vital

Think about all your job offers you as far as stability goes. Do you get health insurance, paid holidays, and sick pay? That’s a lot to walk away from entirely.

Starting a business likely means you’re entering into no income, no days off, and no health insurance.

Before you give all this up, you need to make sure you are stable. If you have a family, they need to be considered as well.

If your family is currently insured through your health insurance, quitting your job means everyone loses health insurance.

Stability alone is a solid reason not to quit your day job to start a business. Instead, work hard during your off-time so that you can build stability with your business and eventually leave your job and go straight into a stable position.

Your job acts as your motivator

According to the statistics from a 15-year study, people who start a business while keeping their day job are 33% more likely to succeed than those who quit their day job to start a business.

Why do you think that is? There are a few reasons, but the one I want to point out is that your job is your motivator.

Do you hate your job? Do you want to do something better for the world? Are you underpaid? Underappreciated? Unsatisfied with your position?

That can all be used as a motivation to work even harder with your business so that one day you can leave all that behind.

Businesses don’t make money in the first year

Here are some difficult stats.

It can take between 2 – 3 years for a new business to make money. Additionally, businesses often lose money before they make money.

This is where your day job becomes extremely valuable. It’s more than likely that the income you make from your job will finance your daily life and your business.

Your day job is your security blanket when it comes to finances. I’ve read that you should actually wait to quit your day job until you make enough income to match your current job’s income. That means you might be keeping your job for a while.

The good news is that you will eventually get to the point where your business is making as much money as your day job and you can comfortably quit.

Security blanket for failure

I hate even thinking about failing. But, we have to be realistic.

Many businesses fail within the first year. If this happens, and you have no job to go back to, life can get extremely difficult.

There should always be some sort of fallback in case of failure. Your day job is your fallback. If by the end of the year you decide that being an entrepreneur isn’t for you, or that you need to fold your business, it will be relieving to go back to a stable job.

However, I don’t like to consider failure as an option. Maybe some things don’t work out, but I encourage you to always pick yourself back up and move forward.

Unplanned curveballs

When you start a business, there will be so many unplanned things that happen that will throw you off.

Here is an example. When I started my e-commerce business, my shipment of products got held up in customs for two months. From the time I ordered the products from the manufacturer to the time it was back in stock, it had been almost four months. That’s four months of no income from my business. Imagine if I didn’t have my day job to rely on?

That is just one example of the many curveballs that can happen to you.

Before you quit your day job and start a business, you need to make sure that you are prepared enough to handle every curveball.

Tips on how to balance a day job and a business

1. Go part-time

If you can get away financially with part-time pay, ask your job if you can work part-time. Working part-time free’s up enough of your day to dedicate to your business.

If you are only working 20 hours a week at your day job, the rest of your week can focus on only your business. You will be able to get so much done while keeping the benefits of your day job.

2. Work hard, stay determined

It won’t be easy, that’s for sure. Starting a business while working is difficult, but so many entrepreneurs have successfully done it.

Make sure you know why you are starting your business. When things get difficult, refer back to your ‘why’ so that you can stay determined.

3. Establish good habits

Your habits will directly relate to your success. To do both, a business and a day job, you need to have a good lifestyle and work-related habits.

For more on good habits, check out: 7 Good Habits That Will Make Starting a Business Easy

4. Create a good routine

You are going to be busy. Very busy.

Your business won’t succeed if you spend a little time here and a little time there on it. You need to get into a solid routine so that you can dedicate the max amount of time to your business as possible.

To get a good morning routine, read: Simple and Productive Morning Routine for the Full-Time Person

To get a good evening routine, read: Simple and Productive Evening Routine for the Full-Time Person

5. Take vacation and sick days to get ahead

Since you can’t quit your day job to start a business, take the days that you’ve earned to give yourself a little more time.

If you have vacation or sick days saved up, take a day here and there to get some much-needed work done.

These are days you earned and have every right to use.

6. Keep a running to-do list

Being organized is the best way to be successful. It helps to make a running list of everything you want and need to do. I like to keep my to-do list in the notes of my phone. From there, if I have some free time, I pick an item from my list and get it done. This way, I know that my time is always well spent.

While it might not be a good idea to quit your day job to start a business, you can absolutely succeed at doing both. Many successful entrepreneurs did it and so can you!

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