Should I Quit My Job to Build My Business or Build it on the Side?

A question I frequently get asked by people who are starting businesses is: “Should I keep my stable income from my job while I get my business going or should I quit my job and just jump in, no holds barred?” My answer is always, it depends. 

I hang out with a lot of people who talk about manifesting. I talk about it quite a bit myself, actually. There’s a common idea in the spiritual/personal growth/manifesting world that when we have a big dream (like starting our own business) we should jump and then the net will appear.

I love this idea for many circumstances. However, not everyone has the risk tolerance to handle cutting ties with their steady income and going full time with their business right away. That’s a lot of freaking pressure.

So, in order to answer the question of whether you should stay in your job while you get things going or put all your eggs in your business basket, you have to first answer this question: How do I perform under pressure?

Think back to moments in your life where you were under a tight deadline or in a do-or-die sort of situation. Did you rise to the occasion? Did everything crystallize into profound productivity and effective action? Or, did you collapse under the pressure? Did the anxiety created by the situation cloud your ability to think clearly and function optimally?

I have friends and family members who are rock stars under pressure. Their best selves come forth when they’re in a tight spot. I, however, tend to have a meltdown when under extreme pressure. I cry. I stress. I get anxiety. And my whole body feels like it’s wrapped up in knots.

Which one do you most identify with?


Here’s the deal: There is no wrong or right way to start a business. So, what’s the common denominator amongst folks who’ve created success (financial and otherwise) by building businesses?

They started and then they kept going.

That, my friends, is the secret to success. Once you’ve determined how risk averse you are, pick one of these:

Option A: 
If you thrive in intense circumstances where you must make something happen now, I recommend having a healthy savings of at least six months of living expenses in the bank. Then, by all means, consider letting your job go and giving yourself the challenge of making your dream happen. 

Option B: 
If you’re more like me and pressure makes you burst into tears? Don’t quit your day job. Instead, set a clear boundary about what you are willing to give to your job and what you aren’t. Don’t be the first to arrive and the last to leave the office. Save some of you for you.

Then, get disciplined as heck about the time you’ll spend making your own dream come true. Cut out distractions like TV and get serious about spending the time you have outside the office on the essential activities that will move your business forward.

Whichever path you choose, remember that no matter how it may look on the outside, there is no such thing as an overnight success. Rome was not built in a day and neither is a solid, profitable business that you love.

If you have a comfortable relationship with risk, going all in may be the path for you. If the thought of going several months or even more than a year without a steady paycheck paralyzes you, then building around your current steady work may be just the ticket. And remember, as  long as you start and keep going (while being open to course corrections when necessary) you’ll do great.

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