Many of us have fantasized about turning a passion project into a full-time job by becoming our own boss. This dream could be as a result of the fatigue of sucking up to hard-to-please bosses, crazy timelines and deliverables or seeking a self-made avenue to solving a problem. At this point, the pull of deciding your own schedule and making enough money to live your dream life is intense.
It’s awesome to think this way but it’s not enough to just have a great idea; you need to know how to turn that idea into reality. Have it in mind that the key to long-term success for an entrepreneur lies in the first foundational steps of planning and setting up a business venture.
Here are seven tips to get your business set up and transition from a 9-5 employee to being your own boss.
Determine what you want to do:
Before you drop that letter, you have to provide answers to these questions; what do you want to do? What kind of business do you want to start? What problem have you provided a solution for?
If you want to be your own boss but don’t have an answer to these questions, before moving on to the next tips, you have to bring out a note pad and pen and write down your answers. Have fun with this brainstorming process. Don’t let anything off the table at this stage.
Grab learning opportunities to build entrepreneurial skills:
If you’re working a day job, take advantage of the various learning opportunities for entrepreneurship, whether you have started a side hustle or not. This is the time to take up that offer of free seminars or courses and volunteer for projects that will build your entrepreneurial muscle. These skills include; strategic planning, budgeting, people management, networking and communications. You can also hone fundamental key business principles like accounting, marketing, and business operations.
As much as you can seize learning opportunities in your 9-5. The expertise and value are transferable to your business venture.
Evaluate your idea and your market:
Excellent! You have a business idea now right? How do you determine if your idea is a good one that will make you money, speak to your ideal target audience, and make your transition successful? These might seem like impossible questions yet, answering them can help you predict if your business idea will be successful or not.
Build a business plan:
This is considered one of the most challenging part of starting a business yet, this is what investors will take a look at before dropping money on your idea. Producing a business plan is important but the real value lies in the development process as it will push you to do a deep research into the market you’re about to enter. It will also help you examine your business critically. Your business plan will show the investors what they should know about your industry, competitors, customer demographic, purchasing behaviours, potential suppliers and distributors. You can get answers from the comfort of your home with your computer. Also, go out there and speak to people who are already in the business, customers and stakeholders.
Make it official:
Make your business official by registering or incorporating it. Find out how businesses are being registered in your country. Once that is done, consider separating your personal and business accounts as doing so will help boost the credibility of your business, especially when dealing with the transfer of money between suppliers and customers. It will also save you the hassle of trying to untangle your personal and business finances for your accountant when tax issues arise.
Sort out your finances:
This is a very critical stage – when you determine how much money your business will cost, both in terms of initial investments and day-to-day operational costs. Help yourself by developing a short and long-term cash flow projection to understand your profitability timeline and identify additional financing needs you might need to plan for. Also, determine how much money you will need to sustain yourself if you decide to take the leap. Try to set aside a little extra as well. It is important to create a financial cushion for life’s inevitable surprises. Once you have developed a cash flow plan, share it with a trusted business advisor for ideas and feedback. This will come in handy when you’re asking for financing support.
Make the switch:
At some point, you have to quit your 9-5 if you really want to be your own boss. Think deep before you switch. Would you prefer to do it by starting out part time and transitioning to full time or do you want to be your own boss cold turkey? Your answer says it all.
A gradual switch is best for those who know they need the security of their day job and prefer to build the foundation blocks step by step. The only downside is that you may feel stretched as you might use your weekends and off days to get your side hustle done. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you may decide it’s time to quit your day job, never look back, and devote all of your energy to becoming your own boss.
Congratulations on your dream of becoming your own boss! The good news is that there really is no right or wrong way to go about making the switch from being an employee to becoming a boss. Your decision will depend on your current financial readiness, the type of business you plan to start, and your working habits among others.
Have your transitioned from 9-5 to being your own boss? Do share your experience with us in the comment section.