Question: How did you strategically and responsibly make the jump from working a “dead-end job” to your dream job? What would you do differently knowing what you know now?
Question by: Angela
Lay a Foundation in Advance
“I was able to line up some consulting work during the time that I was building our website and preparing to launch the service. This provided about six months worth of income, which helped us keep more capital in the business to fund our growth.”
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Sometimes, You Leap First
“I always knew I wanted to run my own business, and although I had worked at many companies during college internships, I just turned down all my job offers and went straight into self-employment after graduation. I haven’t looked back! Luckily I had put away enough startup cash from those paid internships, so it wasn’t a totally reckless move.”
What’s the Worst-Case Scenario?
“If I had to go back, I would have left sooner. I had the assessment of the risks all wrong. From the finances to my network to the support of my family, they all elevated once it was known that I was now on my own, trying to build a successful company that helped people. Now they know the long nights and no weekends were for a great cause. My worst-case scenario never happened.”
When It’s Time to Jump, You Go
“I didn’t take a particularly responsible approach to becoming an entrepreneur. I phoned in a resignation after a particularly bad day and decided that I’d better figure out how I was going to pay the rent. I’m all for saving up before you make the switch and putting together a good plan, but there has to be a point at which you leap.”
Just Quit Today!
“Think of Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford where he said “stay hungry, stay foolish.” He learned what he loved to do when he was young and never stopped doing it even after he was fired from Apple. Life is short and there is no time like the present to take action. You can always find another dead-end job if need be, but that won’t need to happen.”
Go to School in the Meantime
“If you don’t love your current job, try grad school. Get an MBA, JD, or whatever interests you. While you’re there, you’ll meet people from all walks of life, and that will help you figure out if starting a business is the right path for you. It may not be the right time, or it may be the perfect time, but school is a great way to smooth your transition from office to startup.”
Collect Clients Beforehand
“I didn’t want to leave my job behind only to find that there was no demand for my services. So before resigning, I secured at least one regular client. Having that client was proof that I was onto something, and having that income gave me the security I needed to leave behind the regular paycheck.”
Live in the Moonlight
“Work on your new business nights, weekends or when your boss isn’t looking. When the time is right, you will know it, and the switch will be easy.”
With My Back to the Wall
“Luckily, I was abruptly laid off from my “dead-end job” and I vowed that day to never put my career in someone else’s hands. Knowing what I know now, I should have jumped into the entrepreneurship waters sooner.”
Validate Your Idea First
“Work during nights, weekends, lunch hours and any other time you can to get your product or service out there and see if people find it useful and will pay money for. There is no better time than when you are working because then you have a constant stream of revenue to survive on. Once you quit your job, that revenue stops, so know where other revenue will come from before making any moves.”
Follow Your Heart
“If you want to start a company, you need to just make the jump into the cold water and follow your heart. I believe that it is in moments of distress, when you stand completely naked in front of the world, that great companies are built. Ideas change multiple times, so just quit your job and get started iterating your idea as often as possible.”
One Thing Leads to Another
“My passion actually grew from the line of things I did up to creating my business. Never underestimate what you’re doing at that moment, because it could be preparing you for something bigger than you think. Be smart by being ready to make the jump and knowing what you’re getting yourself into before you do. Being an entrepreneur is freedom, but also hard work 24/7.”
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.