Quitting Your Job to Chase Your Dreams is a Terrible Idea! We all have our grandiose dreams of what we would love to be doing with our lives. Whether it’s being CEO of a company, jetting around the world with our love, or just living the “couch potato” life. Most of us have dreams of something other than the day job we are currently doing. Common sense, however, tells us not to just quit our jobs and go for whatever we want to achieve as in most cases that’s an impractical way to approach things.
For many people that “dream life” is starting their own business. The ability to have control over the work environment, employ people, provide quality jobs, and offer consumers a product you dream of is very tempting. When you get an idea that seems like it might work, quitting your day job might be the first thing that pops into your mind. However, while starting a new business is hard work and time-consuming, quitting your day job immediately may not be the best way to go about it.
Remember, most startups do not return millions in revenue each year. Most start-ups do not grow very quickly. Most start-ups are just that, a small “mom-n-pop” place with a few people working to achieve a dream they have had their whole lives. It can be costly and time-consuming, and your day job can be the key resource that allows you to begin.
Daily Living Expenses:
Much as we would like to think that we can just put living expenses on the backburner and sink our money into our new startup it doesn’t work that way. We still have a mortgage/rent to pay. We still have to pay for food and clothing. Health insurance is still a necessity, and our families must be supported. Our full-time “day job” can provide that security to ensure that our basic needs are met while we are focusing our spare time and energy on our startups.
If you have extra money after you have paid for your basic living expenses and choose to sink that into your startup that’s your decision. However, many people will have to take loans out to afford to get their startup off the ground. Those business loans can be paid back as the startup is successful and begins turning revenue. However, in the case that the startups are not successful that money still is owed and will have to be paid back, so consider taking loans carefully and ensure you can make the payments back on the loans even if you are not successful in your startup.
“Lean Start-Up” Methodology:
The “Lean Start-Up” Methodology is a scientifically proven concept that helps manage startups to get the product you’re designing into customers’ hands quickly as possible. This method of running a startup will teach you how to drive your startup – including how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere. It teaches you how to drive forward with maximum acceleration to help your product succeed.
This is where many startups fall short. They spend months or even years trying to perfect a product that they want to sell without ever showing it to any potential customers. Even showing a blueprint or rudimentary form of the product to potential customers can help the customers get ideas of what you will be offering. Oftentimes, the downfall of startups is waiting so long to even show their product that they ultimately fail to communicate with interested clients. This can cause the startups to fail before they even get off the ground.
Remember, it’s OK to showcase a “less than perfect product” the first time. Showing that progress is being made is the key. You can perfect the product as you make more versions of it and as your startup moves on down the line.
It’s very important for a company that’s starting up to continuously be testing their product against its competitors in the market. Getting an idea of what people think of what you are creating versus what is out there tells you how to improve your product to outdo the competition. One of the principles of the “Lean Startup” helps you determine what people like and dislike about your product, and what people wish your product would do in the future. Eliminate the uncertainty of guessing by showing your product to potential consumers and having them provide feedback rather than guessing what you might want to make the product do or what you might want to make it become.
Work Smarter Not Just Harder:
Every startup must be able to answer the ultimate question: Can this product be built? The vision we have for this product must be reasonable and practical. If the first product is successful it allows the manager of the project to determine where to go from there. If it shows the potential to succeed, continuing to spend the time, effort, and money to improve the product makes sense. If the product seems to fall flat, continuing without some alteration to the original concept may be just making you work hard for no final rewards. Tweaking the idea in the earliest phases may help the product perform better down the road. It’s not about just working hard and putting effort in, but also about being smart and sensible. If there seems to be no market base for what you are making then there is little point in continuing to sink effort into it.
Minimum Viable Products:
It’s vital to create standards for your minimum viable product (MVP) to ensure that what you are doing is going to at least be able to bring in the money that was spent creating the product in the first place. It is beneficial for you to learn how to do this quickly as possible. The sooner the product starts turning profits, the sooner you can begin to pay your business’ expenses from that revenue, while also sinking more money into growing the startup and product to reach more potential clients. If your product is paying the bills you don’t have to worry about borrowing and taking out in loans. The more profitable your startup becomes, the faster these rewards start snowballing!
Once you develop this minimal viable product and learn what the bare minimum is then focus on improving the product based on customer feedback and input. Get a basic product on the shelf as a “model” and look forward to improving that product in the future.
It’s important for startups to understand that “validated learning” helps shorten the development process substantially. Once you know that you are focusing on the right things to building your product you can start making the product that the customer will pay for. This can save months or even years of headaches and “beta launches” to see exactly what people want or don’t want in their product. This helps determine the company’s direction and will only require incremental adaptations as the market shifts and changes in the future!
When creating a startup, you may feel more overwhelmed than ever before, but it’s not the time to quit your day job. That’s when it’s even more vital to have a steady source of income. This helps take care of your family’s basic living expenses while allowing you to focus on the startup. It may be tempting to quit the day job to allow you to pour all your time and effort into the startup, but even if you have money saved up it will only last so long. If the startup fails you are left without a job, income, or the potential to find one. The day job may be what you turn back to if your startup is a dud, and remember that the truth is that many startups will not succeed. Fewer and fewer are growing into multi-million dollar companies.
Use your day job as a source of security for you and your family. If you must grow your business and need capital to do it consider business loans that can be paid back once your company us up and profiting. Otherwise, you may find not only yourself but your family in a place of having a lot of debt and zero income to live off of. That makes the situation even worse than it would have been if you had kept the job. So, play it smart!