Should You Quit Your Day Job For Your Start-Up Business?
Many entrepreneurs don’t quit their day job when starting a business. They want to peace of mind of a guaranteed income, yet they dream of starting a new business – no risk versus risk. Their strategy is often to pursue both. They start their new business as a side activity, which consumes their leisure time. It is a very viable approach, but it can become a flawed one too.
Here’s an example. The founder of an online advertising company started by working in the evenings. His business idea took off quickly. Within two years, his start-up had over $1.5 million in annualized revenue. As expected, he quit his day job and focused on his start-up, which continued to grow. In this case, the strategy worked well.
Now here’s a counterexample. This is an entrepreneur who started a side business, hoping to eventually transition from his day job to his business. He would work his required 40 hours at his day job, and then he’d rush home and work on his new venture. After two years, his new venture was just a marginal business so he shut it down and started another new business. A few more years past and his second new business didn’t flourish either, so he shut it down as well. This pattern continued on for more than a decade. This particular entrepreneur became unhappy and disillusioned on both fronts. He had gone to college and graduate school. His day job was a professional one, yet in never turned into a career. He was often passed over for promotion because he wasn’t dedicated to succeeding at it. He was always looking for the way out through his side business.
My point is many entrepreneurs keep their day jobs and start a new business because they are hedging their bets. If one avenue doesn’t succeed, they always have the second. However, as you can see by the second entrepreneur, his day job suffered and didn’t progress because of the start-up. Those flourishing in their careers don’t just do the minimum required of them and then leave work as soon as possible. They are attending evening networking events, going to conferences and building connections, engaging in self-promotion – spending more than 40 hours per week growing a career, not just having a job. So while his colleagues were progressing in their careers, he was not. Many entrepreneurs don’t think about this when they pursue this path. In their ideal scenario, their day job continues to thrive and progress, while they are trying to start a business, but this is not often the case.
While starting a new business in your off work hours is a viable strategy, if it continues on for too long, it may mean that neither the start-up nor your day job will be successful.