10 Practical Tips for Moving from Employment to Entrepreneurship

I got obsessed with business. 9 months into my first "real job", I quit and never took a job again. Here's me reverse-engineering the process.

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My only "long-term" real job was being a writer at an ad agency. This was me 9 years ago before I picked up entrepreneurship full time.

One of the best things that can happen to an employee is to have enough freedom to walk out of the 9-to-5 and start a personal business. If you’ve spent enough time at your job, chances are you are also dreaming of the same thing – and the good news is, it does not have to be a pipe dream. 

Here are 10 of the most effective practical tips that you can use as a guide so that you can kickstart your way to a better definition of success:

Make the most out of your employment. Yes, yes, there are so many things that you wish could happen differently with your job. You don’t look forward to waking up early to spend 8 hours inside a room that does not inspire you. However, if you’re serious about finding your way into entrepreneurship, as early as now, you should start thinking that everything that happens to you can be a tool that you can use to prepare you for your business. And your job is one such tool.

Why? You get paid to learn things, grow your skill set, and make connections that may prove to be beneficial later. Also, it fortifies you with the stamina that you need to see things through and be proud of what you have accomplished, by the end of the day. So whatever role you’re playing today, make the most out of it.

Double your hustle. To successfully move into entrepreneurship, you have to be ready to put in the work. A lot of the time, what that means is longer hours and more effort. This is especially because entrepreneurship does not work like employment, in terms of rewards. At your job, the effort that you put in will be compensated within two weeks, for the most part. With entrepreneurship, you don’t immediately see the payoff. But if you persist, work smarter, and hustle harder, you will find yourself in a better position to enjoy financial freedom faster.

Know your product or service, and know your market. This is the part where you dip your foot in the water, and do your best to stay afloat. To do that, focus on planning, implementing, and perfecting ONE THING. 

Pick one idea and one business, and sell to one type of customer profile or target audience. Sure, you may think that the more eggs you put in more baskets, the higher the potential returns. But when you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, admit that there are still many things that you need to learn. And you can learn the ropes better if you’re not spread out thin.

Validate your business idea. This is one of the most critical parts of the transition from employment to entrepreneurship, so it is only fitting that you manage this well. To have a shot as a successful entrepreneur, your business idea must be able to fly, and be received well. And for that to happen, you need to validate it. There are three ways:

  • Ensure your supply. The things that you need to get your products or services ready for your customers must be assured. If you’re selling a product, the raw materials, supplier, and other important aspects must be dependable. If you’re selling a service, your skills and time must always be available.

  • Know how to sell. Design a marketing plan that will help you successfully turn interested people into paying customers. Streamline your payment system so that the end-result nets you positive gains.

  • Perfect your delivery. Finally, improve and improve and improve your delivery until it is impeccable. Do not make excuses.

Evaluate and monitor. Now, don’t forget that while transitioning into being an entrepreneur from an employee will come with rough roads and steep learning curves. There will be mistakes, there might be failures, but that’s okay. Learn from them, and learn fast. Evaluation and monitoring are the watchdogs that will keep you on the right path. Also, be objective with your processes, and be honest with yourself.

Prioritize your cash flow. If your efforts seem to be paying off and you’re enjoying consistent cash flow, that’s good news! But do not get ahead of yourself and start splurging! Remember to always put money back in your business, and develop a solid financial plan. Don’t get enchanted by the money, and make sure that everything is sustainable.

Impress your first customers. If this is your first foray into entrepreneurship, you have a clean slate that you will need to fill up with great highlights. And for that reason, impressing your first customers is necessary. I cannot stress this more: your first customers can literally make or break your business. 

In handling every business transaction, see to it that you go the extra mile to make your first buyers extremely happy. These people are your first believers, and they will play a huge role in how things will pan out, for your business.

Build your social proof. First things first, what is social proof? It is that marker that communicates your integrity as an entrepreneur, to your customers. It can be anything that exhibits proof that you have served people well, you’re running a successful business, and you run a legitimate business. The beautiful thing about stacking up on social proof is that it comes in various forms, such as screenshots of testimonials, tagged photos of your product from a happy client, or a case study of a successful program that your solutions helped design.

Plan the timing right. This is when you sit down and start thinking about calling it quits at your old office. If you have got your side hustle delivering 3 to 6 months of consistent or increasing income for yourself, you are in a good place. You can consider opting out of your employment contract and focusing solely on your enterprise. You can opt to do it sooner or later than that scope, but just be aware of your risk appetite, and make sure that you are prepared.

Get mentored. Finally, invest in enabling access to wisdom and guidance from those who have been where you are and have succeeded at it. Hiring a mentor will map out a careful and detailed plan that you can stick to, featuring personal guidance that is inspired by years and years of experience. Your mentor will be as invested in your success as you, and you will find that having that kindred soul with you will make the whole journey better.

Most people dream about leaving a job and then moving into something that “makes their heart sing” and, well, makes their wallet smile. Entrepreneurship is THAT THING. 

Put these 10 steps to work–religiously!– and you’ll be better off than most people when they started. And by most people, I mean people like me. Good luck!

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