Let’s face it, the last thing you want to do now that you’ve decided to finally leave the 9 to 5 job is to add more stress to your life.
Isn’t that why you decided to build your own business in the first place? You’re looking for freedom from your awful boss, coworkers, and the limitations of a fixed salary.
But if you’re trading all that in for a different kind of stress, what have you really gained? Before you kiss your cubicle goodbye, be sure you first build a solid foundation-and we don’t just mean business-wise.
Plan your business well.
So many entrepreneurs mean well but plan terribly, losing momentum before they’ve even started. If you want to build a long-term, sustainable business it’s worthwhile investing the time now. Before leaving your job and after drafting your business plan, ask yourself the core questions below. You can evaluate, tweak and revisit these after 1, 3, 6 months after you officially start trading as a business.
- What’s my direction? To answer this you need to look at where you are now, where you want to go over the next three to five years and how you intend to get there. In answering this question don’t think about just numbers, but about your brand, authority and how you wish to be perceived in your niche.
- How can my business perform better than the competition in my chosen markets? To answer this, review your market & competition research, which you should’ve completed during your business plan and look at the gaps open for you to truly shine. Listing up to three key performance differences that you can implement will have you already ahead of the game. (These can be subtle changes, but things you can advertise, include in your branding awareness, copy etc.)
- What resources do I require to succeed? What skills, assets, finances, relationships, technical competence and facilities do I need to compete? Remember you may not need much to start at the beginning but thinking about how you can scale now will get you in a longevity mindset with regards to your business. Later on, when you evaluate after a period you can ask yourself – Have these changed since I started?
- How will I be measuring success? Measures of performance may change as your business matures but if you can specify how now, you’ll be able to keep track from the get-go
Build a financial safety net.
Nothing stresses anyone out quite like worrying about money.
Whether you’re concerned about how you’re going to make the rent, support yourself and your family if you have one, it’s easy to lose your business mojo when money worries get bad. As a new business owner, you certainly don’t want money trouble casting a shadow over your entrepreneurial dream.
Before you turn in your resignation, set aside some cash in case of a rainy day. Aim for at least three to six months of living expenses the more you can effectively put away the better. As a business owner, you don’t want to feel needy or feel you have to undersell your services, so having a safety net will serve you in performing to the best of your abilities. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but having some cash on hand will definitely relieve the pressure of having a new business that’s not earning its keep-yet.
Get your family on board.
Now if you thought the most stressful part of starting your entrepreneurial journey was not having enough of a financial safety net, there may be one thing that’s worse: an unsupportive (or downright hostile) spouse. And as any entrepreneur will tell you, not everyone understands the drive to be a business owner. In fact, most people find it pretty scary to step away from that regular paycheck to chase after a dream.
If that sounds like your husband (or wife) don’t take it personally. They’re not making a statement about your ability. More than likely, they’re just worried about what the future holds. Do your best to understand where they’re coming from, and be sure to clearly explain your ideas, why you are confident it will work, and how you plan to cover the start-up expenses and manage the risk.
If he or she is still not on board, consider starting slow, with a part-time business while still working your day job. Also, try and include your spouse in understanding and maybe even helping with aspects of your business. This will give you the opportunity to prove your idea is workable, give you a bit of time to work together, and might just help your spouse get excited about entrepreneurship as much as you are.
Take time for YOU.
No matter what’s going on with your money, your spouse or your business, you need to be sure to schedule some “you” time. No-one can work all the time, regardless of how driven you are. And no-one can stay healthy while maintaining a nonstop schedule. Go for a walk, hit the gym, get a pedicure or just binge on your favourite brainless television show. The point is simply to take time away from your desk to rest and rejuvenate. Without it, you’ll soon find yourself overwhelmed and stressed, even if you truly love your new business.
Remember entrepreneurship isn’t about exchanging one stressful, unenjoyable ‘job’ for another.
Create the lifestyle that made you get into entrepreneurship as you’re building your business.