You have a day job that you would like to quit to launch your own company? Your day job can surprisingly help to secure and strengthen your future business.
Take your time to think and re-think your idea
You know what? Business ideas evolve every single day. Thinking about your first idea will give you another one and sharing with people will give you a new perspective. Ideas are just ideas, they are not viable businesses. When you think that you finally got the one that will drive you to success, it's time to draw the big picture.
“Writing a business plan, at this stage (or ever?), is a form of waste . You can capture the same level of information in a 1 page business model.” Ash Maurya
Not a proper business plan which, any way, would only last for a few weeks, but something like a Canvas, helping to get everything clear. It's easier to see your ideas' weaknesses and strengths, after writing them down. You definitely don't need to quit your job to do this.
Having your day job lets you to connect with people every day. Yes, that's the networking part. But this kind of networking is not time consuming as it is already a part of your routine. You don't have to spend precious evening hours on it.
"Relationships are an important part of life, but they're an absolute vital part of being an entrepreneur. " Mike Taylor
You never know when or where you could meet your future partner, customer, employee or just people who will support you. They could be the one working with you, such as your colleagues or even your boss! The one you meet at lunch time too. All professional relations are valuable.
“The wider your range of professional contacts is, the more options you’ll have when it comes time to growing your business.” Larry Alton
Validate your idea, test your market
Keeping your job while developing your business makes it possible to test your idea without taking the risk to “lose everything”. You can work during the day for your full time job and use your evenings and weekends to design your online marketplace and start growing your community, slowly but surely.
“No amount of experimentation can prove me right. One experiment can prove me wrong.” Albert Einstein
You will take your time to lay down steady basis for your business to grow: use your social networks, write blog posts, get early adopters feedback and so on. But your time and your money are precious. Don't waste them reinventing the wheel. Focus on what really matters to your endeavor. You can of course use open-source projects (hint) if you’re a developer, or connect with developers who can.
Find a co-founder who fits like a glove
The first one to discover about your idea will be your partners, friends and family. Working with them could be tempting. We have first-hand experience about working with friends at Stelace. But choosing your co-founder is not like picking someone to join your football team or to go to gym with… It's a commitment that will shape your business future. Then you should ask yourself “are we compatible and can we work effectively together”, not simply "do I like her/him enough" even if kindred spirit can help a lot.
“Choosing a cofounder to help you start a new company is like picking a spouse.” Dan Lambert
Critically enough, this co-founder should bring skills you don’t have. Think about all the expertise you don't have and hunt for them. Again, quitting your Day Job probably won’t help. Quite the opposite: you would start facing the entrepreneur loneliness that’s why you should first make sure you meet insipring people who could become partners.
Trick: if you want this potential cofounder with you, show them that your idea is awesome and already working.
Make sure you have enough liquidity
Of course keeping your job means having cash to feed yourself and your family, pay your bills and mortgage, etc. Your Day Job is, for now, the one that keeps you afloat. It's also the best way to bootstrap as an entrepreneur!
“A major deterrent for potential entrepreneurs is, of course, the risk
involved in leaving a stable career with a steady, predictable paycheck
for an exciting, but uncertain, future.” Shawn O'Connor
Wait for traction and take the plunge (Quit)
You could think that as soon as your business is profitable it’s time quit and work full time on your new business. Well, you could consider waiting a little bit more. Is your business profitable enough to replace your actual income? You may want to enjoy this period to consolidate your business and taste entrepreneur lifestyle without biting your nails.
Once your business runs like clockwork, or like crazy, it’s time to focus. Your real entrepreneur life starts now, you are cliff diving!