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When is the Right Time to Declare Independence and Start Your Own Business?

Passover is a Jewish holiday celebrating the release of the Israelites from slavery and their journey towards freedom and independence.

It’s an opportunity to discuss the differences between work styles and how to make the decision to build your business, whether a small business, a big one, or a global tech startup.

Before embarking on your journey as an independent business owner, you should know, that entrepreneurs never go back to become employed by choice. Becoming an employee after running a company or even being self-employed is tough.

There are several major differences between those two:

  1. Uncertainty vs. perception of certainty
  2. Setting the rules vs. complying with the rules
  3. Regular and consistent monthly pay vs. not

 

When is the right time to declare your independence?

If you’re simply sick and tired of having a boss (not a specific one, but in general), you should consider it. Many small business owners and self-employed have told me that they got sick and tired of their bosses, that they were doing all the heavy lifting anyhow, or that they felt they were the major contributors, weren’t recognized for their contributions, or underpaid what made them start their own businesses.

Being self-employed all of a sudden sound like a good option in particular if you are good at your job.

But you should be aware that this is a completely different ball game.

I am sure you imagine that if you are good at what you’re doing, you will be successful, but this may not be the case.

You will be successful if you sell well.

The rule of thumb is that until you have sufficient clientele, you will need to invest most of your time in sales, and after you have the break-even clientele, you will still need to invest about 25-33% of your time and effort in sales – forever.

I often have my co-editor Adi Barill review my posts and articles, and she told me today about someone who is now starting their business and is uncomfortable with having to spend time marketing their expertise instead of focusing on the work they love. In these cases, I recommend going back to being employed.

Having a vision of starting a venture is different.

In this case, being sick and tired of having a boss is NOT a good enough drive. The passion for making an impact and changing something dramatic is the right motivation here.

The general rule is that one will make the leap of faith into building a #startup if their passion is way higher than the sum of fear of failure plus the alternative cost.

The journey is about making an impact = creating value.

The simplest way to create value is to solve a problem and therefore I would say, start with a problem and then validate that people actually care about this problem.

Only then you can determine whether it is worthwhile to go on this journey.

Your validation should look like the following:

  1. Define the problem and who has it

If your answer is ‘everyone’ – then you are not doing your job. Be specific and describe how is the problem relevant to them.

Say, that during a friend’s gathering, you’ve heard that they are paying a lot of money for a dog walker, and you thought it could be a good idea to build an app for that (‘find my dog walker app’). The next phase will be to clearly define the problem and who has it.

The first thought would be ‘everyone with a dog’… then, you think about it again and you start to narrow it down, to ‘who can afford it’, ‘how often they are going to use it’, perhaps DINKs will be every day and others might be infrequent, in a city is more than in a suburb, lower income cannot afford, etc.

  1. Speak to users

Once you’ve defined the problem and target audience (or multiple segments), you speak with 100 people in this segment, to understand their perception of the problem.

You may end up with a realization that there are a couple of segments that it really matters to, but they need a daily solution and not an app, a trusted dog walker that will show up every day at noon time, and you have no idea how to address that with an app.

At the same time, you may realize that it is only in major cities that they care, and here there is a need for an app because the use case is infrequent.

  1. Determine potential market size, solution, and value proposition

Once you have understood the perception of the problem – only then do you want to think about 3 critical decision-making points.

  1. Is it big enough – is it worth solving?
  2. Do you have any idea what the solution may look like?
  3. Describe your value proposition – the story you are about to tell everyone.

Once you crossed all checks on these points – make the leap of faith.

If the problem is worth solving, and you are passionate about it (which you should be after speaking with so many people who validated the problem) – then it is time to commit to the journey.

Good luck on your journey, whichever path you choose.

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