After selling your one-of-a-kind jewellery on Amazon or helping small business clients with their IT needs, there will come a time when an entrepreneur asks themselves whether their business has what it takes for them to leave their full-time job and operate their business on a full-time basis.
More often than not, the response to this question is met with a strong fear of leaving a consistent pay check, leaving them with unfulfilled dreams they will continue to obsess over for years to come. Instead of counting yourself out before the game even starts, let’s create a strategic plan of action and examine some key topics one should consider when you start to get that itch to become a full-time business owner.
Here are five questions you should ask yourself (and be willing to solve if you don’t have an answer) before you transition into the trenches of sole entrepreneurship:
1. Do You Have Repeat Customers?
Initially, after you go full-time, you will have to rely on repeat customers to fuel your business. Repeat customers are what help to maintain the vitality of your business from year to year; not the one-time users. Is your product or service on the tip of people’s mouths? Will they want to (and are they able to) utilize your business again and again? Review sales from past customers to determine how many repeat customers you have from month-to-month.
If you don’t have repeat customers often, work to assess the scale of your business. Can you acquire the interest of a new group or subgroup of customers? Can your business increase its exposure on social media sites, such as Instagram? Create more buzz about your products to drive attention to the business to increase your customer size before transitioning full time.
2. Do You Have a Focus Before Your Transition?
If you had more time to work on your business, would that automatically equate to you selling more of your product? Transitioning to full-time status with your business usually doesn’t mean you are going to make a million dollars within the next 6-9 months. What it should mean is you took the time before you became a full-time business owner, to assess what impact it would have on your business.
It’s not enough to be able to “work on your business more,” once you quit working at XYZ Corporation. Is your focus on doing more research, heavier marketing, offering a better quality product? Don’t just start working aimlessly on everything you couldn’t because you were juggling between two jobs. Use your time wisely before the move to assess what key issues need to be addressed as soon as you leave.
3. Do You Truly Have a Passion to Develop This Side Hustle Into a Full-time Business?
Do you have a passion for talking about your product or service for hours at a time? Sharing cool content about your product or service on social media is necessary however, the offline talks you have with potential clients about the urgency they need to have with obtaining your product, needs to be a constant additive to your weekly routine. Initially, you are most likely the only representative of your brand. If you can’t sell yourself day in and day out to people outside of your friends or circle, you won’t be able to sell your brand.
4. Will Sales From My Side Hustle Be Able to Equip Me With Paying for My Expenses?
If your product or service is too unique that a substantial number of people would not benefit from it and/or very expensive, your hustle may be unable to handle the terrain of a full-time business launch or taking care of paying your electric bill each month.
Calculate how much money you will need to handle living expenses for a month (which should also include the cost of health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and your 501k), plus current business expenses. Use the total from these two figures to determine how much you will need to sell to keep your business afloat (or break-even).
5. Are You a Doer?
Once you head into full-time entrepreneur mode, there is no human resources department, supervisor doing performance reviews, or team meetings to strategize how to remedy certain business issues. You will need to perform the work, follow up with clients, discover new customers, promote your business, research and attend additional training programs, seek out key players to help your business succeed, etc.
For the business to thrive, you must be willing to do and do so with finesse, Monday through Sunday. Before you leave any well-paying full-time job, I highly suggest you assess your will and desire “to do” (regardless of the fact you will reap the benefits of doing); which will without a doubt impact how long you will be in business and how successful your business will be during that time.
Stepping into the unknown and transitioning any side hustle into a full-time business will always be a risky decision. To lessen the plunge into uncharted territory, one should always merge their fears with a well thought out strategy. By determining before the transition whether your business model is capable of providing an adequate need to consumers on a recurring basis, in addition to solely supporting you on a financial basis, you’ll be better prepared for those first six to twelve months of full-time entrepreneurship.
Lastly, you must gauge how well your personality will mesh with the passion, grit, and sense of urgency needed to cultivate and manage a successful business, from year-to-year.