18 Sep Escaping the rat race: how you know when it’s time to go.
I have spoke about the distinct differences between a 9-5 and being an entrepreneur in past posts. This time we want to examine the things that really let you know that it is time to depart a job and that you are ready to move on to your own entrepreneurial journey. No matter how deep into being an entrepreneur I get, I receive the same question: “When did you know?” This question has a pretty in depth answer.
The absolute truth about making the transition is that it will never be “comfortable”. Changing from being a dependent to an independent is a step you will have to take mentally that is not for everyone. But the question you must truly ask is not “does it feel right at this point?”, but does it legitimately make mathematical sense. Make a more rational decision than an emotional decision.
As simple as that sounds, it can become tricky. When you begin to even evaluate the option to depart from your day job, your mind will begin to see more and more reasons to leave. That one person in the break room that always smells like smoke will even more expeditiously get on your nerves. The “boss” who isn’t half as good as you at the things he does will annoy you that much more, trust me I know (these are real examples for me). Do not let these emotions allow you to exit too early, remain realistic and analyze the situation before you let these emotions build.
There are a few things that will tell you it is time to go: money and time. If and when you are generating enough revenue for your company or endeavor to sustain not only the company but your personal expenses, it is time to go. This does not mean that you leave when you can eat a meal a day and barely pay the bills. Whatever your lowest standard of living is to be comfortable is the level in which you will want to match as far as a monetary standard. Create a savings account that can allow for yourself to live in those conditions for 6+ months (some say more but I was a risk taker, single with no dependents) without making a dollar and solidify a fluid set of clients and a system to bring in more before making that decision to end a steady paycheck.
The saying is true; it is far easier to find a job when you have one. In this case, you are creating your own job, but the saying still holds undeniably true. Stay at the job until you cannot anymore or it doesn’t make fiscal sense. You’ll know then solely by time.
Time will tell. When you are generating income that is nearing that of your full time job or that is at the level in which it covers expenses of what is your needed standard of living, it will be just a matter of “time” from there. This is time to truly dedicate to your full time job. There were times when I had to leave my employer’s location to go to a meeting for my own business with partners.
At some point, I could not risk missing meetings for my new endeavor as it yielded such a higher reward financially and emotionally. I had to truly weigh time itself. My opportunity cost would be substantially higher missing a meeting for my own company over missing a Monday morning meeting with my then supervisor about nothing. Time at your job will begin to cost you money and opportunity (equally as important at times). You realize that not everyone can meet you at lunch and your larger ticket clients will look to meet when you would have standard meetings at your job. You must then decide to take the risk or to try and balance. If your personal company is truly growing, balance will become impossible and making the jump will be a no-brainer.
It is that simple, time and money. Once it is worth both in addition to the opportunity to truly be happy and enjoy the new endeavor, that should be the day you decide. Remember that the word entrepreneur means “risk taker”. You must take the calculated risk when you can or you may miss a very important window. We all know the guy or girl still at that job we left that said they were going to leave and remained stagnant and have lost opportunity in the form of time and money just by staying. Do not become that person. If you have a good product, a process to generate revenue with it, and the market to sell it in, you will win with the right time and money.
If this is true… it is time.