Despite the spike in entrepreneurial efforts over the years, many people starting their own business still hold on to their “day” job for one reason or another. It is totally understandable for those creating new opportunities to want to hold on to a steady paycheck as the uncertainty of everything a new business brings can be a lot to handle.
Profits are not generally seen by a new business until months or years down the line and the vision (or illusion) of stability can fade away if you put all of your eggs in one basket with no guarantee of success. Although there are many risks associated with transitioning your part time entrepreneurial efforts into a full time endeavor, the rewards may be greater and the time and dedication to assisting the edification of something made from your own hands will definitely give you a great sense of accomplishment. While assessing the pros and cons associated with taking your part time business to a full time venture, here are some issues to consider while making an informed decision.
1) Your Finances
If you have a mortgage to pay, have you saved up enough money to cover it while you wait on your profits to roll in? Do you have plans to down size your lifestyle in an effort to conserve funds and/or invest in your own business? It is important to speak with your financial adviser and/or yourself when determining if you are financially prepared for any hits you may take. It is one thing if you are starting your business from your mother’s garage where you pay little to no rent, but another if you have a family to support. Starting a business already comes with its own pressures and issues, no need to compound them by inadequately preparing financially for the transition.
2) Demand for Your Services or Products
Will the market fully support your full time desire to start a “Rent Em Spoons”? Or is the demand just not there? Before transitioning, make sure there is a true and sustainable demand for what you are offering. This includes extreme research and projections, and also setting goals and objectives for the future based upon the amount of business you are currently bringing in. Do not set yourself up for failure by offering a product or service that is obsolete to today’s desires and needs.
3) Your Needs and Desires
Most entrepreneurs I know decided to start their own businesses for different reasons. I decided to start my business because I had no choice. I graduated from law school right after September 11th, and the economy was not at its best. So while I was still looking for work, I organized my company as an LLC and started doing legal work for clients here and there until a full time opportunity came along.
Luckily, that fill time opportunity was as an independent contractor, and I was still able to keep my business and previous clients. Today, I choose to remain in business for myself because it compliments my family life. Other entrepreneurs decide to go into business because they absolutely abhor working for someone else, while others have a burning desire to contribute to advancements within their industries and see a void that needs to be filled. Whatever your reasons for going on your own, and seeking to do it full time, make sure you stay the course on WHY you started this in the first place. Do not allow your vision to get tainted by unfortunate circumstances or other’s opinion on how you should conduct your business.
It really helps to have the support (both emotionally and financially if need be) from friends and family. Taking the leap to give your all to an uncertain entrepreneurial effort can get frustrating and lonely at times. If you have a supportive infrastructure to help you along the way by offering sound business advice, a friendly word of encouragement, or a check, then the road to successful full time self-employment is definitely obtainable.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.