I dream of being self-employed and have taken steps: I launched my consulting business in 2012 and have been working another day job to provide basic financial necessities while my business grows. After finding out that my position is being eliminated due to budget cuts, I'm at a crossroads: find another gig to keep a steady paycheck or plunge into full-time self-employment? I've already turned down two solid job offers because they wouldn't allow enough time to work on my business.
Both of these statements are true:
- There is never a perfect time to start your own business.
- Anytime is the perfect time to start your own business.
As you know, starting your own business takes equal parts passion, commitment, chutzpah, dedication, courage, trust, energy, self-confidence … and luck. I’m sure you’ve learned as you start, you wear all the hats: researcher, analyst, business developer, marketer, lead negotiator, skeptic, cheerleader, chief of operations, human resources manager, client services guru, deal closer, chief financial officer — and person who actually does the work! And you’ve discovered it’s daunting and terrifying, and also the most thrilling and exhilarating professional thing you could ever do. You learn so much about so many things, but mostly about yourself.
You’ll never feel all of the planets have aligned or that it’s the perfect time to start your business. And it’s comforting to have a paycheck coming in as you conduct your business analysis and put some foundational pieces in place (which it sounds like you’ve done). But if you have set a goal, done your research, understand what need your business is filling in the marketplace, have analyzed your competition and why they’re succeeding or failing, can confidently articulate your unique selling proposition, are able to identify who your target customer is and how to reach and talk to them — and then can actually service the work when you get it — you’re as prepared as you will ever be.
Remember this: Whatever job you’re doing now for a paycheck is your minimum level of success: You can always get a job doing that again if your own business fails. The only way you’ll ever know your maximum level of success is if you step out of your comfort zone and try.
Plus, being able to focus on your business full time will ultimately help you prove or disprove your concept — something you’ll never really know without giving it 100 percent. At some point, you just need to walk to the end of the diving board, believe in yourself and jump. Because it’s indeed the perfect time.