When should I go Full-Time with my Business?

James Cookson

October 15, 2020

Take the "leap" to full-time entrepreneurship... or something inspiring.

What was once a "side hustle" has become a significant part of your day, week, year, etc. You've been dreaming of life as a full fledge entrepreneur. Is it time to jump ship (the 9-5 ship that is) and run your business full-time?

Here's our take on the most important questions to ask yourself before taking the leap.

Do I have a functioning sales/marketing funnel?

When excited startup founders want to make their business their career, they sometimes think that they'll figure out what their sales tactics will be once they've fully committed. I would highly recommend taking a look at how you're going to generate and sustain sales on a full-time scale, first.

How to do this largely depends on the type of business you're operating.

As a brick & mortar store, how are your customers going to find you? Is your foot-traffic large enough to pay the bills?

It's critical as a stationary business to make sure that you've gained enough local awareness, and that you've come up with a plan to resell to your return customers. Take a look at this article from Bloom Intelligence on attracting repeat customers as a brick and mortar store.

-> http://blog.bloomintelligence.com/bricks-mortar-repeat-business-millennial

As an online business, how's your SEO? Is your website setup to make sales and/or convert your visitors to customers?

Proper Search Engine Optimization takes a long time to achieve. Ranking in the proper places on Google takes a lot of work & patience and you likely won't see traffic coming through, like you'd hope, for months. If you haven't already, take the time now to start building SEO strategies so that your site can start ranking, before you've quit your day job.

As for your website, just because you have one doesn't mean it's going to sell to the customers that land on it. There are several free options to audit your website and make sure it's up to par. To keep things streamline, get a quick website audit from us, on the house -> Free Website Audit

Keep in mind your biggest asset as a part-timer is TIME.

You're far more flexible to research and implement different tactics to generate long-term business when you're not counting on your startup to supply your paycheck. Take the time you have now and find what marketing strategies work for your business before taking the leap.

Can I rely on my customer base?

No matter what kind of business you're in, you'll likely find out over time that reselling to your existing customers is far more reliable than looking for new individuals to sell to. That said, it's super important that you've built up a respectable customer base to help support your move to full-time. Realistically, it's these clients that are going to make the leap at all possible.

How many customers do you have? How frequently do they return? Have you built a repeatable structure to resell to them?

Addressing these areas will allow you to project your revenue trajectory when you can double down, full-time.

Am I ready to live like an entrepreneur?

Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself.

To elevate your project to a startup, and your startup to a business is an amazing thing. Working on your own time, no bosses telling you what to do and where to be? Sounds amazing of course. But entrepreneurship in it's truest form is often an exhausting way to live.

Take it from us, abandoning the common 9-5 for your own, self-generated path is nerve-wracking, stressful, and you often spend more time doing things you wouldn't have expected throughout your day in order to keep your business afloat.

Keep in mind as well, if you hate the 9-5, consider the fact that you'll likely be working far more hours, not less.

Make sure you're weighing both the ups and downs of providing for yourself/your team before committing. Best way to do this? Ask around. Talk to fellow business owners (friends/family/etc.) that you know that work full-time for their companies.

Gathering different perspectives and learning other entrepreneur's hurdles will certainly surprise you and give you much appreciated insight on life as a business owner.

Can I afford to do both jobs longer?

Why the rush? Your distaste of your current job can definitely be a motivator for wanting to commit to your business full-time; it absolutely was for us. But do you really have to let it go? Can you manage both jobs while you bring more revenue to your "side hustle"? If your goal for your business is truly to succeed for years to come, don't chop your legs off right from the start by taking away your income.

A mistake that we made was to jump ship when our startup was not even covering the bills. This caused us to think short term. Every decision both development-wise and in marketing was to try and get us sales quickly. We hated our jobs enough that we didn't take the time to structure ourselves in the best way possible and we were forced to make accommodations for a monthly paycheck as opposed to setting us up for the future.

Make sure that when you feel confident to make the jump, that it has more to do with your business needing that extra push to grow larger, not that you need to leave your current position for the chance at a different lifestyle.

Do I have the tools I need to generate/manage my business?

Lastly, you need to make sure that you're setup to succeed, not just motivated. As a sole proprietor or a small team, you're likely going to need to automate or optimize many business related tasks in order to focus on selling your product(s) and building your business.

How do you register/sign up your customers for your services? Or sell your products? How do you invoice them or subscribe them to memberships?

Most importantly, how can they do this stuff online so you're not spending your whole day sorting through paper or Excel spreadsheets?

You could use a combination of tools like Google Forms to handle the client registration, and QuickBooks to help with the finances & accounting. You can also try combining these sort of tasks with integration tools like Zapier.

For a free, all-in-one approach, try Fiiber.

Fiiber is designed specifically for startups and growing businesses. The web app lets you create custom registration forms tailored for your business type, and allows you to sell products, invoice clients, and setup recurring subscriptions , all for free on the Basic plan.

Utilizing the right tools for your business is critical. When we started out, we spent most of our day "working hard, not smart". After implementing fast and easy workflows for things like website editing, accounting, invoicing and member management, we were able to automate a lot of these tasks and instead spend most of our days doing the things that accelerate the business.

To conclude,

Making the leap to full-time self-employment is a big deal. And it's your big deal. Ultimately it will be your choice when to take your startup to the next level so be prepared!

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