I was feeling excited and losing sleep over this. Could this finally be true? The opportunity looks workable and this could be the moment of truth where I could finally quit my dreaded job.
The stress of work has taken a toll on many people. In order to get out of this “torture chamber”, many employees resort to all kinds of means to escape. The weaker ones choose to hallucinate in some sense numbing activities like alcohol, drugs and sex. To these people, I could only say sorry because, I am not an expert in substance abuse. I quit my job with my head held high. We are warriors, who believe that we can actually escape the rat race by taking control of fate. Kudos to this group of people.
While it is admirable for these individuals to look for constructive ways to escape the rat race, the road to freedom is still laced with hazards. The most ideal scenario will see you working on your new venture on part time basis, while slogging it out in your day job. You won’t need to lose sleep over dwindling income because your day job will basically cover your living expenses and of course, financing your new venture. However, things are seldom ideal. Most of the time, you just need to take the leap of faith.
Let’s assume, you are not trusting God or any other divine being for your “great escape”. What would you do? Are you going to jump head on just because your hunch said so ?
1. Market Intelligence
Harvard Business Reviews will ask us to do a proper market survey or due diligence before we plunge in straight into our new startup. As individuals, we still can do a proper survey. Remember, doing a survey may take time but, you don’t want to fill your new warehouse full of products before you even make your first buck. If big corporations do it, what makes you think that we should do otherwise with our limited resources.
I was facing a similar dilemma in 2009 when I was really sick about going to work. I wanted to quit my miserable job at the moment notice. In those days, I had set up a repacking department for my employer, taking in all kinds of healthy raw materials and repacking them to be distributed to health food retailers. The sales and profits were quite lucrative and out of desperation, I contemplated of importing these health food myself. Wouldn’t it be good if I could sell these products in bulk to these existing customers by giving them a significant discount? Boy, was I excited.
I was ready to go. Even my resignation letter was ready. However, an inner voice told me to take this idea and ask a few of my customers for their feedback. There is no way they are going to refuse my proposal because of the significant savings I could give them. Imagine my shock when two “potential” customers told me that they had no interest of taking the health food in bulk even though they will get good price for them. Both gave the same reason. They did not have the manpower to repack these items! My fantasy came crashing down, crushing my soul at that very moment.
However, if we were to look back, that was indeed God’s intervention. If I did not do the survey, I reckon that my financial well being would have been devastated by my recklessness.
2. Forget The Business Plan
Business schools will always ask you to write a business plan. Write a business plan so that you could map your thoughts into a written manual. You are supposed to see the work flow of your business model when you finish your business plan. Really? I still think this is all bullshit. Use your common sense. How could one possibly map out a market need through a writeup full of one’s own bias?
What you need to do, is to test the market’s response. Carry out a small scale selling of your products or services to your targeted clients. Make use of samples to distribute your products as widely as possible to your focus market e.g western food outlets. Convince your customers to test your products in their lab or pilot plant. If you are selling software, there is such thing called Beta Testing. No business plan beats getting the answer straight from the horse’s mouth. If your targeted customers are the chef, let the chefs test your products. Not masturbating your mind with a business plan.
3. Part Ways And Pivot If It’s Not Working
After some elaborate test run with Beta Testing or Sample trial runs, and your products aren’t making any ripples, maybe it’s time you try something else.
It is never easy to start a business from scratch. Therefore, if you can help it, try not to quit your day job when your trial attempt is still shaky. Sad to say, the failure rates for new businesses are extremely high. I have witnessed various launch failures in my attempts in both as an employee and as a small business owner. It’s always easier if you have a working financial pillar, while you test things out.
Of course, time is another important factor that you need to take into consideration. For your reference, I am currently working on two online projects, a website for my trading business called BreadImprovers.com and this site. Frankly, I have no idea how God’s plan for these two projects. But one thing for sure, time is needed to see the way these projects pen out. Imagine if someone tells you to quit your job and work on your blog. it’s recipe for disaster.
4. Scale Once It Works
Once you find a working formula, scale it the soonest possible. You want to make sure that your products could make enough profits to get you out of the rat race. Once your business model is working, it’s really up to you on how far you want to scale. If you want to quit your job, the moment your side project generates enough profit to cover your basic expenses, you can go ahead with your resignation notice. You don’t want to wait too long if you really hate your job. Bad job causes cancer.
In a nut shell, test and test, if you have something in your mind. Most of the time, with a little courage, you might spark of a whole new journey for yourself. For me, the clockwork of having my own business started the moment, I wanted to quit my job. Thank God.