Mentor Monday: Don’t Give Up Your Day Job… Yet!

Don’t Give Up Your Day Job… Yet!

Terri LevineBy Terri Levine

I am often asked when is the best time to quit your day job to work on your new home business, because most home based entrepreneurs start their businesses while still working a full time job.  It can be stressful and tiring living this way and the lure of quitting the regular job can be overwhelming to someone burning the candle at both ends.

When to quit your day job depends on many factors. If you are already financially stable or if you are blessed with a partner who enjoys a large income and can easily support the family alone, then you can most likely quit your day job whenever it suits you.  A majority of people, however, don’t have this luxury and their income figures largely in the payment of mortgages and other living expenses. They can’t just quit when they feel like it.

It takes time to set up a business.  It isn’t enough to just buy the equipment and clear out the spare room to turn it into an office.  You need to save up and have at least six months savings to support you for lean times, and there will likely be lean times in the early days.  Many fledgling businesses go to the wall because they have nothing to fall back on when business is quiet and these budding entrepreneurs find they have to rejoin the rat race.

It takes time to build your client base. You are competing with other more established and experienced businesses for the same customers. These customers are not going to jump all over themselves just because you’ve opened for business.  People are loyal and are suspicious of new businesses and once your competition is aware of your existence, you better believe they are going to go all-out to stop you from winning any of their customers!  They are going to be able to offer lower prices and other bonuses that you, as a start up, will not be able to compete with unless you have planned very well beforehand.

Even if potential customers try you out of curiosity, you have to be able to keep them. Attracting and keeping new clients is one of the hardest parts of establishing a new business and is one of the main reasons my clients hire me to help them.

It can take months of hard work before your business shows a respectable profit and you can start to breathe easy. Are you prepared and able to tighten your belt and live on less for the duration? This comes back to either having a good six months savings to support you, or keeping your day job.

Another consideration is will you have any family assistance with the running of your home business?  Or will you be managing it alone?  How much help you have or need will also determine how soon you need to quit your day job to run your home business full time.  There will come a time when your day job impedes the ultimate success of your home-based business and serious decisions will have to be made.  You owe it to your employer to be honest and to give an honest day’s work, but you also owe it to your own business to give it all you’ve got if you want to succeed.  It’s a fine line to walk and the truth is the sooner you are able to manage your own business full time, the sooner you will start to see profits.

Many of these factors also depend on the type of business you are running.  If you are a consultant or coach, how you run your business will obviously be different to someone who is running an internet business selling products, or network marketing.  Some businesses are more easily scheduled around your existing career and lifestyle demands, while other types of business are less flexible.

Whether or not you are financially secure, you need to realize that giving up your regular job is not going to be easy. You are not just giving up the security of a regular income, you are giving up any and all other bonuses and benefits provided to you, for example, retirement plans and superannuation funds provided by your employer, health insurance, holiday pay and bonuses, sick pay, and public holiday pay.  You have to fund all of that yourself or give them up, at least in the early stages.
Deciding when to quit your day job isn’t just a matter of finances and how well established your business is.  Is your business a hobby or is it something you really want to build for wealth? How much are you prepared to give up for this home based business?  If you quit your career position you may be sacrificing all you’ve worked hard to achieve as you climbed the corporate ladder.  Is that what you really want?  Sometimes, we think we want to be our own boss and have the freedom of working our hours when it suits us and determining where and how we will work. But then we discover we don’t like to work alone and we miss the hustle and bustle of our career life, we miss the support and camaraderie of fellow employees, we miss the security of a pre-planned scheduled day and income, and we find we aren’t as self motivated as we need to be to run our own business.
So, in deciding whether or not you are ready to quit your day job, ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I financially stable and have enough funds to support me for the next six months if needed? Or can my partner’s income easily cover all our financial needs and obligations for at least six months to a year?
2. Do I really know what I’m getting myself into?  Do I know what I’m giving up and am I really okay with that? Will the new lifestyle really be what I want or am I just in love with the idea?
3. Do I know enough about the business I am building, or do I still need to do some more research before taking the plunge?  Would I benefit from hiring a business coach and if so, have I the funds to afford that?
4. Do I have a business plan prepared? Do I have set goals for my business? Do I know what steps I must take and in what order and what my priorities should be?
5. Is my Bank Manager and Accountant happy with my business plan and financial situation?  Do I have their vote of confidence?
6. Do I have the support and guidance of mentors or friends and those in a position to help me or will I really be on my own having to risk the outcome of poor decisions? Or do I need to start networking and establish some form of support and encouragement for when I go it alone?
7. Do I have the energy and stamina and determination to see my business succeed? Do I have the self motivation? Can I really work alone? This will be such a change for me… is this what I really want?

Until you are confident and have no doubts, do not give up the security of your day job just yet. Speak to your Bank Manager and your accountant and hire a business coach.  Consider these part of the important foundation upon which your new business may be built. With their guidance you may be ready to quit your day job sooner than later!

Terri LevineTerri Levine, The Business Mentoring Expert, specializes in helping entrepreneur-owned businesses achieve record-breaking growth. Based in Philadelphia, Terri is founder and CEO of Comprehensive Coaching U, Inc., The Professional’s Coach Training Program. She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CNBC and MSNBC, and in more than 1,500 publications. She is the best-selling author of Sell Without Selling, Coaching is for Everyone and Stop Managing Start Coaching. Learn more at Contact Terri at

Leave a Comment