I understand the importance of getting a business up and running before leaving a full-time job, because I did just that. For about 10 years, I was running a small virtual PR & branding consulting agency as a side hustle. I was lucky to receive referrals from friends and my website. It was so lucrative that I was able to pay off my student loans early, positioning me to be financially stable enough to leave my full-time job as director of corporate communications and marketing at a publicly traded company.
I had retained a few good clients and figured out how to leave my job and never looked back. Now four years later, running my branding agency full time, I am extremely fulfilled.
The decision to leave my paycheck was a gut feeling and I had a sense of confidence that I would succeed. However, I find some entrepreneurs miss the indicators when it’s time to venture out on their own.
Two Full-Time Jobs, One Full-Time Business
Recently, a client asked me to advise the owners of a 32,000-square-foot cold/dry storage commercial warehouse. They wanted to learn more about business development, social media strategy, and how to gain peer influence in similar businesses.
These business owners were only willing to meet with me after 6 pm or, worse, on a Saturday, not because they are too busy running the business, but because they are too busy working for someone else. So these entrepreneurs own a full-time brick and mortar business with employees and customers, yet they are still punching someone else’s clock.
The 4 Signs It’s Time for You to Quit Your Day Job
These business owners were expecting me to sacrifice my evening hours or a Saturday (of all days) to meet with them about their business. Yet they were unwilling to sacrifice their day job hours. Unfortunately, that is not how it works.
Don’t get me wrong, I can be flexible—especially with small business owners with an operational time crunch. But if you are too busy working for someone else to meet with me during normal business hours to receive the advice you need, then it seems your business is not a priority for you.
If you find yourself in a similar job vs. business quandary, here are four signals that it is time to cut the umbilical cord otherwise known as employment:
You Own Commercial Space
Real estate is a huge investment. If you have launched or grown a business that has its own location, you have hit the big time. You now have a space where you need to be—if not every day, then most of the week. Remember, you are responsible for the bills for the location.
You Can’t Get Out of Work to Network
All of the amazing organizations, breakfasts, luncheons, mix-and-mingles are important to attend. If you can’t legitimately get out of your day job to attend them, then it’s time to be in control of your schedule 100%. Only consistent networking reaps rewards that can turn into opportunity for your enterprise. An inability to skip out of work when it’s best for you is hindering your progress.
You Have Employees
Congratulations on earning enough revenue to employ people to run your business! But don’t celebrate too soon. If you can’t work in your business for what you are paying others to work for you, perhaps business ownership is not right for you. Entrepreneurship is full of sacrifices and if you won’t sacrifice for your business, why would anyone else?
Your Growth Is Stagnant
When you focus on a business, it is more likely to grow. As long as more than half of your focus is on the success of someone else’s company, yours will suffer. Perhaps you aren’t winning new customers. Or you aren’t generating referrals and leads.
The moment I decided to leave full-time employment to scale up my firm, my world changed. I suddenly received more referrals plus new website leads.
Leaving the comforts of your full-time gig may be scary, but ask yourself why you started your side business in the first place. Was it for extra income (which, in that case, keep it as a side business)? Or did you desire freedom to do what you love? If the later, it is time to take a leap of faith to follow your passions. Your future self will thank you one day.