Blind optimism can be one of the most dangerous temptations that come to an aspiring entrepreneur. Oftentimes, a new entrepreneur will become so convinced of his vision that he will irresponsibly quit his day jobs, incur large debts, and launch a new company with very little preparation or training. Of course, history has a few success stories of businessmen who did this. Guys like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg didn’t turn out so bad.
But what we never hear about are the thousands upon thousands of guys and gals who had an incredible vision of a new product/service, sacrificed everything to bring it to market, and then failed. Now, the last thing I would ever want to do is diminish someone’s fire and enthusiasm. At the same time, however, I do want to present an argument for why you can be an entrepreneur and keep your day job (at least for a while).
#1 Cause of Business Failure
We all know the cliché that a lack of capital is the primary reason that most businesses fail. If you want to dramatically increase the probability of your company succeeding, then just make sure that a lack of capital will not lead to its failure! How do you make this happen? Keeping your day job is one very practical way. By keeping your day job, you will not be dependent on your new company for income. Also, you will not be incurring large overhead expenses such as rent, payroll, etc.
Let’s get something straight. There are some business ideas that come along that are absolutely dependent on perfect timing. Timing is definitely very important when it comes to bringing a product to market. A very common temptation that new entrepreneurs feel is that they must drop everything and focus 100% on this new business idea. That just is not true.
My suggestion is that unless you have complete financial independence and can quit working and will need no income for over 2 years, then stay at the day job and begin planning out your company and developing product at night and on the weekends. Now, critics will argue that if you do this, you will move too slow and someone will beat you to market and capture too much of the market.
My response to this is two-fold. First of all, there is always more market share to be captured, except in very extreme examples. Second of all, if you develop the proper skills of writing a business plan and hashing out ideas, if you do miss the market on your first great idea, you will get a new one!! Never forget that. Once you get into the flow of entrepreneurial ideas, you will keep getting them.
Use your day job as financial security and use all of your extra time to develop your skill set as an entrepreneur. Read all the books you can on entrepreneurship, launching a new company, raising capital, writing a business plan, managing employees, etc. And, of course, aggressively research everything about the industry and market where you want to start a company. Become a content specialist in everything related to the product you want to create or sell.
Start A Business
Continue to develop the idea of how you can start a business in your spare time. This may be challenging, but the education itself will be priceless. If you truly have what you think is a million dollar idea, spend several months writing out an exhaustive business plan and then share it with a few very experienced businessmen. Or even something simple like locating an area where theres not to much competition such as air condition repair palm coast. If they all believe in the idea, then perhaps its worth a shot at going for it without the security of a day job, but, in most cases, its best to start the company in your spare time and build it as much as possible until it is generating enough revenue to meet your needs.