For many ambitious individuals, founding and growing a business is a lifelong dream. Being your own boss can be an intoxicating vision, especially when seeing and hearing about risk-taking entrepreneurs who made fortunes on their businesses.
The reality, however, is much more complicated. Starting any type of business is a risk. More often than not, small businesses fail. Because of this, the image that we have of free-wheeling entrepreneurs who love taking on risk is often misguided. Even Richard Branson, who is thought to be one of the most risk-loving entrepreneurs, always seeks to protect the downside.
Therefore, instead of fulfilling that fantasy of rapidly quitting your job to become your own boss, you will want to chart out a roadmap. By stopping and planning before you take the leap, you will avoid many common missteps that haunt entrepreneurs.
Ultimately, there are some things that you will want to think about before becoming your own boss.
The Side Hustle
One of the best ways to becoming our own boss is to start a side hustle or side project. By working on your idea on the side, you can advance your idea while maintaining your income from your day job. One of the riskiest things you can do is quit your job cold turkey with few (if any) savings to sustain yourself while building your business. You can avoid this worst-case scenario by working on your business full-time when you are consistently earning revenue.
Beyond the financial aspect, it helps to confirm whether you actually want to be your own boss. Your vision may not match up with reality. Being your own boss means being forced to complete tasks that may bore you to death. Simply put, it isn’t for everyone. Gaining some of this tangible experience—either in a management role at your company and/or on your side hustle—will increase the odds that you are making the right choice.
Know Your Customers
Market validation is another key exercise. Regardless of your idea, you need to get out of the building and speak with customers. Truly understand their wants, needs, and how your product or service idea will make their lives better. Above all, be agile. In all likelihood, your initial idea will not be what your business looks like in the next year or two. Listening to the customer and pivoting as necessary are critical for your future success.
These are just some of the many things that you must consider when charting the roadmap to being your own boss. If you would like to learn more, I encourage you to check out Carter Brothers Consulting, a firm that my brother and I started to help entrepreneurs start businesses. We look forward to hearing from you.
First Featured on Forbesbooks.com