Entrepreneurship or starting a new business is petrifying no matter who you are—and when you have the security of a permanent position, it can be tough to cut those strings. Plus, being faced with statistics like the fact that 90 percent of startups fail isn’t very comforting. However, if you have that entrepreneurial drive, it’s never going to be easier to dive into this new career path. Just like having a baby, there’s no perfect scenario and time is never on your side.
There are a lot of benefits to having a so-called stable job: steady income, perhaps health insurance and sick/vacation days, a retirement fund and maybe even additional perks like help with childcare or a gym membership. You won’t get any of that when you start your own business. You may, however, get so much more.
Assuming you have a permanent, full-time, steady job, how can you make the transition to entrepreneurship in 2017? Check out this step-by-step guide:
- Set a deadline. Choose a date between six and eighteen months from now, and consider that “D-day” (done day). You might not have all your goals met, from savings to certifications, by that deadline, and that’s okay. Could you be “more ready” if you had a more generous timeframe? Perhaps, but the farther away your deadline is, the more likely you are to lose steam.
- Research immediate actions. Maybe you need additional certifications, licenses, or training in order to get your venture started. Now is the time for research and planning. Write down the concrete steps you need to take, the costs involved, and get started. Some necessities may also help shape your deadline.
- Figure out the legalities. Depending on the type of venture or business you have in mind, you might be facing a brigade of red tape or just a few flimsy ribbons. Now is also the time to figure out if a move is in your best interest. It’s not feasible for everyone, but some entrepreneurs choose to move to states where there are benefits like less competition, no income taxes for business owners, better client bases, and lower cost of living. If you’re really adventurous, consider moving overseas and taking advantage of foreign earned income exemption. If your venture allows you to work remotely, and you have U.S. clients, you can legally work overseas in most countries and not have to pay state or federal taxes (save for Medicare and Social Security taxes). In an increasingly digital work environment, this is a great way for business owners and entrepreneurs to maximize their profits—and perhaps live and work in their dream country.
- Consider your partnerships and collaborators. If you’re considering bringing on partners for your business, now is the time to meet and plan. However, you’ll almost certainly need a variety of “partners” from CPAs to graphic designers and social media managers to help you get your venture off the ground. Outsourcing is a fantastic solution that unfortunately still has a bit of a stigma attached to it. It lets you “test out” potential permanent employees on a no-strings-attached contract basis; you’re not required to provide employer health insurance and other benefits, and it’s common to utilize contractors on a one-off project basis. In other words, you can get what you need without being tied to them. Just make sure you follow best hiring practices so you don’t get burned.
These four steps are the first phase in transitioning from employee to entrepreneur or business owner. During these processes, you might have doubts, but it’s a relatively low-risk time to gauge whether entrepreneurship is really for you. If it is, your deadline’s coming up quickly. What are you doing today to meet it?