How To Know When To Quit Your Job To Start A Business? Ask Yourself These 18 Questions

One of the riskiest and most consequential decisions that people have to make in life has to do with quitting a regular job and venturing out on their own. The risk is crystal clear. You are walking away from the security of a regular income job to a future of uncertainty and hope to wish for the best.
Is there a perfect time to quit? Nada. Nope. Zilch. This is one of the things that you just have to do when you have to do it. Nevertheless, such a decision must not be made rashly. Ask yourself these questions when the entrepreneurship bug bites.

1. Does more of waiting promise any considerable advantages?

This is a scenario that presents different considerations for different employees.
If you are young and entrepreneurial at heart, and your career progression doesn’t seem to be happening at a pace you are okay with, then it may make sense to call it quits and go do your thing.
On the other hand, if you are just a few years away from attaining retirement age and securing a substantial pension package then you may want to consider staying put. When you finally embark on running your business you’ll at least take solace in knowing that you have a regular income stream that can cushion you somewhat if things don’t work out too well at the start.

2. Can you handle the demands of running your own business?

If you are under the illusion that running your business will be a walk in the park then you really need to wake up…now! This is a job that will put you to the test over and over again. What you are made of physically, emotionally and mentally will be severely scrutinized on a daily basis.
Working so far from your comfort zone will no doubt weigh down on you considerably but if you take this as the opportunity to learn and grow you will slowly make strides in the direction you wish to go.
Riding the emotional roller-coaster on a track determined by the daily ups and downs of business ownership is an experience best appreciated when you are the one in the hot seat. You must be ready.
Initially, the hours are bound to be long and hard. Can your body handle the exertion?

When to quit your job and start on your own.

When to quit your job and start on your own.

3. Are you tired of thinking about it every day? You are ready.

Before you are ready to take such a major step you will have weighed things in your mind over and over for a long time. At the start, you will initially be afraid of failing but with solid preparation, this will gradually give way to an increasing willingness to try. Once this urge can no longer be held back and you know that going out there to start is what will make you happy then, by all means, let no one hold you back.

4. Is your educational and professional background adequate for this move?

Truth be told, you don’t need a university education to make it in self-employment. Nevertheless, you should be well aware of the industry and market you are getting into. Before you decide to quit it is prudent to be sure that you know what risks, threats, and opportunities await you. Establish what your strengths and weaknesses are; do the same for the competition.
Having considerable work experience in your chosen field is always going to be advantageous. It is not always necessary though. Lots of people have made it in industries previously unfamiliar to them by exploiting fresh perspectives and the opportunities that arise from them.


5. How will this move impact on your spouse?

If you have a spouse then you can be sure that quitting your job to start a business will have an impact on your relationship. You, therefore, need to ensure that he/she can handle the mental and emotional implications of what is involved. The best case scenario for you will be that your spouse is capable and willing to support the family while you struggle to get your business on its feet. Thank the heavens if this happens for you…you dare not fail though!

6. Are you willing to make some important sacrifices in the short-term?

People are sometimes forced to give up on things that are important to them when doing so will allow them to enjoy more of these things in the future. Growing your business is going to demand sacrifices from you particularly with regards to how you spend time and money. You will have to spend less time doing the things you love and also significantly cut down on the way you spend money. Thereafter, once the business becomes successful, you will no doubt enjoy better quality time and have more to spend.

7. What is your support system like?

The rigors of making it in business are such that it is impossible to singlehandedly make inroads and succeed. It is important to have a substantial wealth of contacts that you can consult when different situations arise. For example, do you know a person who can provide you with sound legal advice concerning your business operations? Do you know who can connect you to cost-effective suppliers?

8. Do you have a financial reserve sufficient for 6-12 months of living expenses?

Regardless of the amount of investment, your business needs you cannot be entirely sure that it will be self-supporting in the short-term. Even if your spouse is capable of supporting the family financially you can’t be totally sure that the support will last the entirety of your start-up’s teething period. Having a financial reserve is therefore absolutely vital.

9. Is your idea market-tested?

Before you decide to strike it on your own it is prudent to be sure that your idea can actually become successful. Why not try it out on a part-time basis while you still have the luxury of earning a steady income? The response and feedback you get will help you to make an informed decision about whether to quit or stay on. Market testing, of course, becomes much easier if the business idea you have involves buying a franchise or an existent business.

10. What will you do about your ego?

Bringing your ego to the workplace spells certain doom for your venture’s future prospects. The thing is that your ego will never allow you to think through things objectively even when the relevant facts and feedback you receive state otherwise. Without ego, however, you will find yourself humble enough to be able to consider everything, even those things that show you are wrong. You will also be humble enough to learn new approaches and how to do things differently and in this way improve your business’ performance.

11. Are you willing to become a good listener?

Improving your listening skills is an integral part of starting a new business. You must be able to listen objectively while resisting any urge to judge or evaluate whoever is speaking to you. Particular attention must be paid to what customers say. You will need to go beyond their words and hear what was not uttered. This is a sure way to get a vivid understanding of what your customers require and aspire for. Successful entrepreneurs are those who know how to best react to information gleaned from their customers.


12. Will you be confident enough to ignore feedback?

Despite being ready and willing to listen to feedback and consider it, you, as the business owner and custodian of the business vision, must learn to distinguish between information that can work for the business and that which conflicts with its interests. You will frequently receive different views and opinions on matters that influence the way forward but at the end of the day, it will be your decision that’ll determine what course of action to follow. Guided by your vision, boldly make informed decisions and move forward. You may fail but at least it won’t be for lack of trying.

13. How will you take failure?

Regardless of how many times you hear that “failure is just part of the process”, failing is never a good feeling. Nevertheless, you must develop a resilient character that will enable you to rise again whenever you fall, refusing to believe that all is lost.

14. Are you focused enough to succeed in your business venture?

Starting a business basically requires the investment of two limited resources – time and money. Everyone who has ventured into business and succeeded has done so on the back of wholehearted commitment and it will not be any different in your case. You, therefore, have to be ready to invest all you have into your business without exception. Spreading these two resources in a bid to grow several interests concurrently is ill-advised because none of these interests will ever get enough of what is required for them to succeed.

15. Are you willing to regularly adapt as the situation requires?

The marketplace is a volatile environment where what works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. As a business owner, the only way to remain relevant and profitable operational is to adapt. You will be forced to adapt when your product/service starts losing market appeal. Adapting may require you to repackage, rebrand, change the price, find a new target market, and so on. You really cannot stop until you arrive at a product/service that is a fit for the marketplace; failure to adapt is courting failure.

16. Are you ready to accept full responsibility and not play the blame game?

As soon as you become a business owner you must learn to start taking responsibility for every consequence, good or bad. Playing the blame game and finding scapegoats is nothing more than a short-term fix and attempts at soothing of your ego. You can play the blame game repeatedly but the consequences will catch up with you sooner rather than later, only that your business will have already been reduced to shambles. Being responsible for what you do further vests power in you and vice versa.

17. Do you have a plan?

It is not mandatory to have a conventional business plan in order to be successful at launching your business. Simply understanding what you have to know and do should be enough. Do you know your target market and how to reach it? Do you know how to price your product/service? Do you know where to source raw materials? Do you know how to calculate your profitability? Have a good idea of such basics before launching your start-up.

18. Do you have a contingency plan?

Entrepreneurship is about taking calculated risks. Have you taken time to analyze different scenarios that will likely play out following the launch of your business? Do you know what steps you will take in case your business initially flops? What about when the success is immediate and big? Think matters over and over; ponder about even those dreadful scenarios that make you shudder. You will, therefore, be better informed to make plans, back up plans, and even double back up plans, in anticipation of what might be.

Making a hugely consequential decision like starting a business requires lots of contemplation, foresight, and preparation. It gets even trickier when you have the option of staying put at your workplace. What are some of the other things someone has to weigh up in such a situation?

Written by Samuel Muriithi