Moving from a day job to entrepreneurship is a thought that scares most people. Who wouldn’t be? Having a day job is and has always been a sign of security. Don’t most parents say the same thing? We should finish school, get a good job and save up for retirement. It’s almost like the path has been laid out for us and we’ve been conditioned what our lives ought to be. As a kid how many times have you been asked what you want to be when you grow up? Sure, I might have said I wanted to be a fireman when I was a kid, and it was after witnessing them save lives and put out the fire at the nearby house. But it would be amazing if parents taught young kids to be entrepreneurial. I know I would.
Early this year, I left my job working in Sales and Marketing for a Thailand company. At the time, I knew it was a big risk and many times I tried to reassure myself that this is a step in the right direction. The main reason I did it was there were a few minor things about a day job that didn’t suit me well. First, I’m getting tired of the routine. Getting up early, doing the usual commute to work offers no flexibility. Secondly, the idea of having income tied up with the number of hours worked somehow compels me to pursue other means to create income that doesn’t depend on time. And lastly, although I loved my job and I learned so much from it, there is a constant desire for me to build something.
Was it scary? Definitely. I was about to leave my comfort zone as I set out to create something which may or may not be a big, flat failure. But I have put this off for several years and it’s now or never. So scary as it was, it wasn’t without a plan. I always believed in the power of preparation. If I were to leave my job to become an online entrepreneur, I have to do my best, I have to do it right and I have to do it right now. When I left my day job, these were very useful points to consider and to know what to expect:
- Set up an action plan with a timeline. I prepared a basic road map of goals with smaller goals to achieve within a given time frame. For example, on my first month, I should have researched about website domain, hosting and have it set up. Also, I should have determined which social networks and tools to use, have it set up, and start reaching out to people.
- Expect that you will be putting in more hours than your usual day job. Starting a small business means you don’t get any income stream until you have it set up. So I had to do more work and try to finish tasks at the shortest amount of time. I worked around 12 hours a day, everyday for the first 6 months. Multi-tasking is key. I was watching how-to videos while reading notes about building a website while at the same time getting started on WordPress.
- The first 6 months is the toughest. In my first 6 months, I was having difficulty because I was doing everything on my own. Some internet marketers would advise against this and would rather outsource. Sure, now I would outsource a few tasks to be more efficient . But my rationale behind being involved in every process was, this was my first rodeo, I wanted to fully understand how everything works from the inside out while seeing how far I can go with free resources.
- The internet is overflowing with free resources. The world wide web is stacked with invaluable information about tools and techniques from websites, blogs, forums, mastermind groups, etc. There is so much to learn at so little time, so to find free resources related to your niche, be prepared to spend time finding them. If you want to save time, be willing to spend a joining fee to access membership sites created by expert internet marketers that compile all the information in one place.
- Social media is a powerful tool. With the learning curve associated with building a website, it’s taking me a much longer time to finish than expected so I had to find other channels to create some awareness and to start reaching out . So I shifted my efforts to social media which took off relatively quickly. Initially, I focused on building my audience on my Facebook Page until such time that the page likes and messages from prospective customers have grown steadily so this lead me to branch out into other social media and marketplace websites.
- Learn to manage yourself and your time. While there is a great amount of flexibility in starting a small online business, there is greater responsibility for me to manage my self, my tasks and my time. It’s easy to give in to watching Family Guy, Modern Family, The Walking Dead, The Simpsons, Downton Abbey, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, I could just go on. Not to mention movies and longer afternoon naps. That’s why I set one area of my apartment as my work space and avoided the couch at all costs.
- Save up at least a year of living expenses just in case things don’t go as planned. Save more for expenses associated with your business. This was my personal contingency plan if my small business turns out to be a big and utter failure. For business expenses, I tried to keep it at a minimum as I wanted to see how far I can go with free resources, so this was all taken into account in my savings plan. While we don’t know what lies ahead, preparation is key.
In my next blog post, I will go over and explain each of the tools and resources I used as I left my day job to become an online entrepreneur.
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