Quit your job – a journey
Though I have been planning to quit my job for 2 years, it all came together during the lockdown. My boss knew that I will be leaving in the next year, but I had to jump. I called her and explained that after a recent health scare, I needed to jump.
Having worked a minimum of 2 jobs for two years, I now had the clients to go on my own.
I had to jump.
When to jump
The infographic above was kindly stolen from the Indian government blog (here). When looking at the different phases of a small business or startup, the big jump comes between 0 and 1 – in the startup phase.
Many people have an idea (in the beginning of the pre-startup) and want to jump directly into the growth phase. For the experienced startup junkie this might be awesome, but don’t do it on your first startup. It is recommended to go through the phases to lay a solid foundation for your small business
Your direction and skills
For every startup there are two essential hypotheses that need to be answered: Are people willing to pay money for this and can I scale it. First, however, you need to decide what it is that you will be offering.
More important though, is understanding who you are, where you fit in and what your gifts and talents are.
“Know thyself, or at least know coffee. They are sort of the same thing”
Consider your skills. These are things you’re good at, for example, coding or sales. It is recommended to focus on your strengths. Knowing your weaknesses will help indicate where you need help.
You also have abilities and talents – these are things you can do well and for which you have a natural talent for. Or you just love doing that. For me, this is simplifying complex concepts. I love taking a startup that is spending loads of money and simplifying it to R 1 000 – with a quicker result.
It’s not easy to do match making, but this is what you need to do. Match your skills, abilities, talents and coffee with that which people want and for which they are willing to pay.
Some people have a knack for finding opportunities, but not able to execute plans to exploit these opportunities. Start selling vapourware if you have to – get going!
Planning and vision
There are different ways to plan. I spent quite a lot of time putting together my mission and vision.
I recommend watching the excellent video from Simon Sinek – Start with the why. He explains why we’re doing something. So many people just want to sell things to survive.
The plan – before you quit your job
A business plan might just save you lots of time and money. You might ask me if you need a business plan? Well, this depends on your definition of a business plan. You will need some form of a plan, paired with the research of where you want to go. I recommend writing down the following with your mission and vision:
- SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)
- Execution – how will you make this work?
- Marketing and sales
- Metrics and measurements – How will you measure success?
- Financial planning
You can find an excellent template here.
Start finding clients long before you quit your job
Don’t quit and think you’ll be able to find a client within 3 days. It takes months to build trust with people. I like to think of finding clients as part of the validation phase.
With all of the above in place, you should have a good marketing plan and know where your clients ‘hang out’. Start hanging out where you think they will be:
- If they’re on social media, start running ads.
- If they’re on the golf course, go and play there!
- Are they searching for your solution online? Run Google ads!
- They might be in your social circles. Make time for them.
Run the numbers: know how much you need etc.
Your business finances are like your health. If you are unhealthy (not profitable), you need to understand where the bottleneck is. Consider the following:
- Have a budget. Include your salary, business income and expenses.
- Calculate your burn rate: the money you will burn through every month before you have something to sell,
- How long you will have before you’re broke – i.e. how much capital do you have available? This is called the runway.
- How much money do you expect to come in? These need to be realistic!
As you will be self-employed soon, you need a large emergency fund – not just 3 months’ worth. You will need to carry yourself through the quiet months.
Don’t just quit your job.
I know it’s not easy. I know that as I am writing this I am freaking out, wondering how I will get my pipeline full.
The most important thing is to start. You need to do something.