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5 Tips for Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur

Owning a successful company can be one of the most rewarding feelings imaginable, but be prepared to face many professional and personal trials.


By John Turner, Inc.

Almost every single entrepreneur started as an employee at another company. Sometimes a shift in perspective or a longtime hope and dream pushes traditional 9-to-5 employees into starting their own businesses. The transition between these two worlds typically takes time, knowledge and careful planning.

I've spent years developing products, but I wasn't making enough money to quit my day job until my successful "coming soon" page builder launched in 2011. I understand the struggle and desire to be your own boss.

If you think you're ready to take the leap and start your own business, here are five tips to help you prepare. The transition from employee to entrepreneur isn't always easy, but it can be life-changing.


1. Think before you quit

The first thing to think about is whether you should quit your current job. Some entrepreneurs immediately quit their job and hit it big with their own businesses, but for many people, it doesn't happen that way. It can time take to get a business off the ground.

A Gallup survey found that 66% of employees aren't engaged with their jobs, so it's understandable that you might want to quit your 9 to 5 now so you can focus on building your business. If you need consistent income coming in, though, keeping your day job can give you the peace of mind of knowing that you'll have the money you need to survive.


2. Have a prepared savings account

Do you have enough money to survive? Should you save a couple of paychecks first? These are questions you should ask yourself before you decide to make the shift from an employee to your own boss.

It can be easy to fall back on the idea of having a bad day at a 9-to-5 because you'll usually still collect your salary. As an entrepreneur, you have to anticipate that there's a chance business will be rocky and you won't be able to collect a salary for a few weeks or even a few months. Plus, you usually need at least some cash to start a business.


3. Become a jack-of-all-trades

If you want to thrive as an entrepreneur, you may no longer be able to say, "That's not my job." When you own the company, everything is your job.

Things are going to come up in the day-to-day operations that will be both new and challenging. These hands-on experiences can help you grow and improve as a professional.

That's not the only way to become a jack-of-all-trades. You also may want to check out other entrepreneurs who've made it and read what they have to say about the skills you should learn.

As you become more experienced in different areas of the business, you can hire people and train those beneath you to take some of the burdens off your shoulders. But when something goes wrong and no one knows where to turn, they will still look to you, so be prepared.


4. Set short- and long-term goals

During your transition to an entrepreneur, set a number of short- and long-term goals. Keep that goal-setting mindset once you get your business up and running.

Be prepared to think carefully about where you want to position yourself and your business in one month, one year and five years. Keep regular notes in a business and marketing calendar on the goals you hope to accomplish, when you hope to complete them and what steps you've taken to get follow-through. This can keep you motivated and help you stay focused on your goals for the week, month and year.


5. Prepare for stress

Many people try to prepare themselves for the switch by putting themselves under tremendous pressure and deadlines. While this may be an effective tool for helping you manage crisis situations with more care, it may not prepare you for the stress that owning a business can bring with it.

You're going to have to pay attention to things like the success of your website, sales, customer questions and concerns, finances and much, much more. As your business expands, all of these things can amplify, and you'll have to handle that stress head-on.

You can start by addressing tasks one at a time. As you learn to think on your toes and handle your business issues one at a time, you'll likely find that your days are far less stressful.

Owning a successful company can be one of the most rewarding feelings imaginable, but you may have to be prepared to face many professional and personal trials. Transitioning from an employee to an entrepreneur can require a tremendous amount of growth and courage. The financial freedom and pride in your company that you may have once you do hit it big can be worth every ounce of stress and energy.

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Finance Magazine: 5 Tips for Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur
5 Tips for Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur
Owning a successful company can be one of the most rewarding feelings imaginable, but be prepared to face many professional and personal trials.
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