Many people dream of escaping the corporate world, of making their own rules and being their own boss. Starting your own business may seem like the perfect exit from a life of monotony, but if approached improperly, it can easily leave you bankrupt and wishing you had stuck with your nine-to-five. If you want to leave your job and start your own business, it's necessary to follow a slow, sensible, disciplined path—and to not get caught up in dreams of wealth and unlimited freedom. Before you quit your job, take the following steps:
Begin the process during your spare time. It's best to take it part-time for a while; start growing your business during your evenings and weekends, rather than just getting a bunch of loans and suddenly quitting your day-job. Almost all businesses take time to turn a profit, not to mention, you'll need to learn the ropes of how to run your business.
It's much wiser and less stressful to do this while you're still backed by some kind of steady, reliable income. If you're not in a huge rush to make your business turn a profit, you'll avoid panicked thinking and making short-term decisions that may not be best in the long term for your business. For example, I recently worked for a small business that was just getting off the ground. The owner hired me initially to do a few simple tasks, then got overly ambitious (lured by unrealistic ideas of fast wealth) and had me design a whole new website we were to migrate over to in a total overhaul of the business, had me write many blog articles and tutorials, then panicked about money as he hadn't saved adequately in order to grow his business, decided he didn't want to pay me anymore, and let me go without the project being complete. In essence, he wasted a lot of money paying me to do something he likely won't use, now, due to panic-driven short-term thinking.
Save, save, save. Most small businesses fail before they truly get off the ground due to a lack of cash flow. Create a new savings account and start putting half of your monthly paycheck into it. Sound drastic? Get used to it. This is the kind of financial discipline you will need to manage a successful business, so it's best you start getting into the habit of restraint before you're fully reliant on your new business.
Cut your personal expenses down to the bare minimum. If you think having your own business is going to be all about paying less taxes, writing off expenses, and living more affluently than prior, you need to do some more research. You're going to go from a steady income to a style of earning that is akin to times of famine and plenty. Sometimes business will be good, sometimes it will be terrible. So, like the caveman did when he was dependent on the whims of nature, you have to learn to use only what you need, use everything you have without wasting any resource, and store away any spare resources for those times of famine. It will make all the difference to your long-term survival.
Surround yourself with supportive people. Running a business is hard, and sometimes, you're going to be very discouraged with the whole process, and likely ready to chuck it all in. It's vital to surround yourself with people who support you in your decision to start a business, and who believe in your dreams even when you don't. Cut ties with those who tell you the whole plan is daunting from the beginning. If you listen to negative voices, you cut your odds of success drastically.
And most of all, prepare for a lot of hard work. If you're used to working 8-hour days, it might be a shock to the system to sometimes have to work 12 or 16 hour days, but that is often necessary in the beginning when you run your own business. Remember it’s all on you, now. If the customer isn't happy, you can't pass them along to someone else. You have to accommodate all of them, all by yourself, until you can afford to have someone else work for you. Similarly, if you mess up, you can't brush your mistake under the rug and not have it come around to directly affect you.
Once you master all of the above, you'll most likely be ready to quit your day job and enjoy years of success, eventually earning the freedom that you initially dreamed of. Good luck!