5 Tips to Transition from Your Day Job to Starting a Business You Love



Steve Perkins

Career Transition, Entrepreneurship

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There are over 6 million new businesses started each year in the US, according to the Small Business Administration. And even before the 2020 surge of new business startups, small businesses made up 99.9% of businesses in the country.

Part of the motivation for many entrepreneurs and solopreneurs in starting a business is the desire to “help people”.

They know that piece of the puzzle but… now what?

This is often the stage where I intersect with a budding business owner. 

Greenhouse Team Photo by Abigail Grey Photography

I recently had breakfast with a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple years. It was so good to reconnect, but I could see in his eyes… there was something he really wanted to tell me.

I eventually asked what was on his mind, and he confessed that he was ready to leave his corporate job and start a business he’s been thinking about for years. On the side, he’d been helping his wife get her business off the ground, and though he had learned many things through his own research, the business was still struggling.

I began sharing some thoughts I deemed mundane – nothing special – and my friend began furiously taking notes. It wasn’t until I was in the car afterward that I reflected on what just happened. I was taking for granted the things I had learned through the startup struggle, but to him, I was sharing nuggets of wisdom.

I remembered how hungry I was in the beginning for advice from those ahead of me on the same path. And suddenly, I wanted to share my “mundane” wisdom with everyone out there who felt stuck in the same struggle. So, if you and I could have breakfast together tomorrow and talk about your job transition to start a business, here’s what I would share with you.

My 5 “mundane” tips:

1. Repurpose everything into content.

Just like what I’m sharing with you right now, take the things you’re teaching/coaching/consulting, and turn them into content that can be shared more broadly. Record workshops, document themes from coaching/consulting sessions, turn lessons into blogs, etc. Then, turn this content into free evergreen content online that allows you to start building an audience.

2. Before the job transition, start building a community of trust.

As you share your content, always point people to a place where they can both stay connected with you and gain from others in a similar situation. Any social media or text group will do, but I would recommend Mighty Networks and an email list on ConvertKit. This way, once you have a real business ready to offer your services, you already have trusting relationships built with people who want your help.

3. Take the pressure off starting a business by creating savings and financial milestones.

You’re probably subconsciously thinking, “This will either take off, or I’ll be poor on the streets”. The truth is, most land somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. That’s why you simply need to map out the minimum you’d like to live off, and the goal you’d like to hit by the end of the financial runway you have to operate from. Then, map out realistic milestone amounts that you expect to hit every 3 months along the way. At those points, check reality against your milestones and ask yourself (and preferably an unbiased confidante) how it’s going. That way, there are plenty of opportunities to change course. Many times, we just need to step back and ask ourselves, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

4. Stop viewing your current job as a drag. Use it to learn.

I think this one speaks for itself. You dread work and watch the clock until it’s time to leave. I’ll just cut to the chase – you’re wasting your most valuable resource as an entrepreneur. Time is on your side right now, since it’s already paid for. So use it well! Learn what you need to learn. Make mistakes while it doesn’t cost you. Shift your mindset.

5. Keep track of learnings.

I promise… you’ll want them later. Especially learnings about your message and your ideal customers. As you share your idea with people, what problems/concepts are resonating with them? What questions do they ask? As you start to help people, which ones are drawn to you and which ones do you enjoy helping? What are the situations in which you seem to produce the best results?

So there’s some of my ‘mundane’ wisdom for you! Enjoyed this post? Check out my podcast episode on Richmond Entrepreneur. I give a behind the scenes look at what it took to build Greenhouse and how talk crafting a vision for what you want will help you succeed in business. Listen here.

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