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When Can You Quit Your Day Job?

Startups

With the economy as poor as it is, there are definitely concerns about the right time to leave your “day job” and focus completely on your new venture. There are always a slew of excuses, worry of failure being a prominent one. You decide that you want to avoid risk and wait for the perfect moment. The problem with that mentality is that “the perfect moment” doesn’t exist.

The pioneers that built the foundations of the West in America didn’t sit in Chicago in the stables waiting for ideal conditions. They had no idea what was out there, but they saddled up and went for it anyway. If you are a true entrepreneur, at some point, you just have to take that leap of faith. As frightening as it may be, you have to force yourself to jump off that cliff and work it out as you’re falling. My wife and I refer to ourselves as cliff jumpers all the time, because sometimes an opportunity feels incredibly crazy. As crazy as it is, taking that risk might be the right thing to do.

It may be unfair, but I believe that if you insist on waiting for the ideal time to leave your day job and attempt a full-time venture, you may not be the right person to enter into business for yourself. Without that drive, you’ll never be able to make the attempt, because there is never going to be a “right” time. All that exists is a right feeling, and although it may be overwhelming, you know that if you do not move forward, you will regret that you didn’t try.

Once you get that feeling, you have to react to it. If you believe that you have a great idea that you could develop into your own company, then you have to do something about it, otherwise you risk losing that attention and focus. No one is going to show up at your front door to point you in the right direction. Spend less time wondering about the possibilities, and just make it happen.

The bigger question is whether or not you can start a venture slowly on the side while still maintaining your day job. This is definitely possible, but you have to realize that your heart and soul will leave your day job and find its way into your venture. Your performance at your day job will slack, and eventually you will have to make the decision to cut the reins or someone will cut them for you. It is a difficult transition to make, but you can’t be jack-of-all-trades. You have to simply choose to start your company.

If for some unfortunate reason things don’t work out, you can always get another job. People are scared because of looming unemployment rates, but if you believe in your own abilities and you are good at what you do, then finding another job is possible. It is worse to look back with regrets. My only regret is that I didn’t start my company 10 years before I did. Don’t wait; do it.

© 2012 Trevor Blake, author of Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life

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