Time is your most valuable resource, and entrepreneurs like you need more of it. You might believe your startup would be more successful if you quit your 9-to-5 to focus solely on your new venture. But today, I’m asking you to stick to your day job and continue your startup on the side.
This doesn’t mean your startup is unsuccessful or that you should stop investing time into it entirely. But especially in your startup’s early years, the balance between your full-time job and your startup-life is critical. If you can relate to any of the following situations, you should consider keeping your stable job.
1. You’re financially dependent on your full-time job
You might believe that if your business could cover rent and food, you’d be good to go. But right now, consider thinking long term.
To be productive and effective months down the road, stay physically and mentally fit. This means you need to be able to pay for health insurance and stay physically active. If possible, enroll in a gym! And to mentally recharge, enjoy an occasional weekend getaway with friends and family.
Recreation-related expenses recur indefinitely. So if you find yourself relying on your salary to take care of yourself, don’t jump ship just yet.
2. Your business has just experienced a revenue slump
Entrepreneurs have experienced significant revenue drops due to algorithm changes on Google. Their business boomed for a while, but due to a significant ranking drop, business slowed down.
While a financial buffer can soften the blow, the recovery period may be uncertain, especially without precautionary measures in place. So to expand your safety net, you might consider hiring:
· an SEO firm to improve ranking, or
· a web developer to correct errors on the website, or
· a content writer to put more meat on your site.
The solution requires money and time; otherwise, if the drop happens again, it might be enough to put you out of business for good. So don’t yet quit your full-time job, as it can buy you time to investigate the issue, and it can pay for corrective measures you need to get back on your feet.
3. You have no business plan
To get funding from a venture capital firm or a bank, you must prepare a solid business plan with a persuasive pitch. Research shows that a business plan improves a startup’s chances of success. A good plan makes your vision coherent to investors and defines the next steps needed to increase revenue. Investors will dissect and probe your responses to their questions to determine whether your business is viable and you can run it. If your responses are flaky, uninformed or incomplete, they will not invest.
When you tackle your startup full-time, you fully invest your most valuable resource: time. Before you dive in, understand how your business is doing and be clear on your 3-5-year business plan. Know your key performance metrics and understand how to build a highly profitable business that is worth not only your investors’ time, and more importantly, your own.
4. You have no other social interaction
Entrepreneurs often drown themselves in work and rarely come up for air. You might be so goal-oriented that your social life takes a back burner.
In case your only social interaction is limited to time with colleagues, don’t let your job go, yet. With your 9-to-5 job, catching up with coworkers during lunch or a quick drink after work is easy and requires little planning, if any at all. But without your regular day job, reaching out to the same people would take greater time and effort. More likely, you’re just not going to do it.
So while you’re still juggling both your full-time job and startup, develop a plan to improve your social life. Learn to manage your time effectively. A healthy social life will allow you to disengage from work and decompress. It can even help you develop new ideas for your startup.
5. You’re about to earn that raise or promotion
If you’ve reached your annual goals and your boss is about to give you a promotion or raise, don’t quit your day job, yet. Allow yourself to be recognized and rewarded for your effort. Take it in. Celebrate. And then, let the job go.
When you leave, you’ll know that your fallback will be at a higher pay rate, thereby increasing your confidence level.
6. Your business has gained no traction
Sometimes entrepreneurs experience beginner’s luck and generate a few fast sales. However, a quick spike is no indication that it will happen again. All businesses need a consistent stream of new customers.
I’m not asking you to make your business a household name, but at least a few of your competitors should know you exist. Your partnership with your suppliers should be stable. A few of your customers should have returned for follow-up orders. If none of those things have happened yet, your business is still on thin ice. It will require more time and effort to develop stability. Until then, don’t leave your full-time job.
You have no idea what obstacles you’ll face when starting a business. The learning process can feel like a roller coaster. At times, you might think you have it all figured out. But then a few weeks later, you’re stuck in a rut. A full-time job provides stability and funds to learn the ropes. So be appreciative of your full-time job and don’t let it go…yet.