How to Prepare Yourself to Quit Your Job and Start a Business

Have you been dreaming about quitting your 9-5 job and starting your own business but not sure where to start to get yourself ready for the leap? Here is a step-by-step guide to get you started on your path to freedom:

1) Evaluate Timing – Is this the best time in the season/year to leave a salary and find clients (ie. Don’t start a Gardening business in the winter). As the famous saying goes, timing is everything, so avoid potential slow times in the industry you plan to start a business in and set yourself up for a successful launch.

2) Evaluate Your Finances – Use a budgeting tool like EveryDollar to map out your current monthly personal expenses. Are there areas you can afford to cut back on immediately (ie. nail appointments, daily Starbucks, restaurant dinners/take out)? Do you have an emergency fund in place? Do you have 3-6 months of expenses saved? Plan to be without revenue for at least the first 2-3 months, and start cutting back now while you are on salary to add the extra money into your savings fund.

3) Create a List of Ways to Make Quick Money – When you are first starting a business, it can take a little while before you find clients and receive payments. It’s a good idea to take advantage of other ways to generate some side income that you can count on to pay bills while you get started. Ideas include: Rent out your extra driveway/parking space, sign up to Jiffy to do odd jobs in your local neighbourhood (ie. gardening, painting, handyman), or babysitting/pet sitting in your neighbourhood.

4) Skills & Knowledge Analysis – When you work in an established business, everyone has a specialized role across different departments (IT, Marketing, Finance, Human Resources). When you start a business from scratch, you become the lead across all of these areas (until you are in a position to outsource/hire help). Take note of what duties you will need to be able to perform yourself. Are there any duties you need to learn more about to get started? Arm yourself with information, whether it’s borrowing books from the library on Marketing Basics, reading articles online on How to Set Up a Website or enrolling in some extra classes on Bookkeeping. Educating yourself will give you the confidence you can do this on your own.

5) Create a Support Network – Whether you are just starting a business or down the road have an established successful business, the most important asset you can have is a support network of like-minded business owners. Support is a two-way street, so finding people that you can also offer value and support to is key. Don’t know anyone that fits the bill? Check out networking and meet-up groups in your area and start meeting new people (and don’t forget to follow up after you meet them!).

6) Create a Plan – Once you have decided on when the ideal time to launch is, it’s time to create a work back plan. Decide on your ideal date to Quit Your Job (accounting for 2 weeks notice if necessary). Build a timeline that includes your plan for cutting costs, saving funds, acquiring skills/knowledge and getting out to network. Break down the savings you need to have into smaller milestones and set dates for each that you need to have them saved by.

7) Tell Someone Your Plan – Something as big as quitting your job and starting a business can be intimidating and scary. To help yourself stay accountable to your plan, tell a trusted friend or family member who you know will be supportive and who will motivate you to keep going if self-doubt creeps in at any point in your journey. Ideally this person should be someone who will cheer you on along the way. Added bonus – telling someone makes this all feel REAL. It’s not just an idea in your head, but it’s now out to the world and therefore will keep you focused on your plan to make it happen.

Good luck on your journey to freedom and know that it’s not always easy, but that the challenges you overcome along the way will make the end result sooo worth it! Keep your eye on the prize Black Sheep!

Nikki Lamb Tudico
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