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A Beginners Guide: Quitting Your Job and Starting a Business

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A Beginners Guide: Quitting Your Job and Starting a Business

When starting or scaling a business it can be hard to decide what to focus on. You could be improving your website, networking, doing social media promotion, improving your product / service, hiring and training a team or any of another hundred tasks.

This article is the first in a series of articles which follow my journey in transitioning from full-time work into running a business. In July 2015 I launched an online bookkeeping business called Bean Ninjas and in 8 months we’d grown to $100k annual recurring revenue (customers on subscriptions).

I’ve learnt many lessons along the way which I’ll be sharing, but let’s go back a step and look at where I was before starting that business.

What is your why?

Starting a business is hard work and takes dedication and hustle. Having a ‘why’ gives you a reason to put in the effort and sacrifice time away from family and friends. Without a ‘why’ you might be able to hustle for a while, but not for the long game.

My why is very simple. I was sick of working late nights and weekends with no end in sight. I wanted to create a flexible lifestyle where I could enjoy my work and have plenty of time to spend with family doing things we love like surfing and camping.

Longer term, I would like to have an impact on the world, but my initial focus is scaling a business which can run without me (requires less than 10 hours per week of my time).

Transitioning from full-time employment

My first step after leaving my full-time role was to go overseas for a few months. This was a great way for me to get away, clear my head and do some deep thinking about what direction I wanted my life to take. It was on this trip that my business idea started to take shape (this wasn’t Bean Ninjas!)

I wanted a business that was easy to start and didn’t require much capital. My skill-set was in accounting systems and management accounting. I decided to start a consulting business in this area, as it was the easiest product / service for me to sell. Once I returned from the trip I registered the business, had a logo designed, built a website and then started hustling.

While I was building my client base I also did some part-time contract accounting work through a recruitment agency. While it took time away from growing my consulting business it meant I was earning a regular income and not eating into my savings.

Savings Equals Freedom

One of the scariest things about leaving your job is not having the security of being paid regularly. Something that helped me feel more secure was saving up a buffer of 6 months’ worth of living expenses before I left my job.

You are probably going to be living on a budget when you first start your business, why not start living on that budget now? Then you could do some hefty saving while you still have your job.

Saving doesn’t always come naturally, but with discipline and dedication anyone can put something away each week.

What to focus on while you have a job

If you are thinking about starting a business, there are a few things you can do while you are still working full-time.

  1. Decide on your ‘why
  2. Think about your transition from full-time work to a business
  3. Start saving
  4. Leverage your current role and build your skills and network

Where to from here?

My next article in the series will be going into more detail about growing your first business.

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“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"



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Showing 4 comments
  • Christian
    Reply

    This was so reassuring to read, thank you! It’s nice to know my nerves at this stage are normal, but that I’m also on the right track with living on a strict budget and saving for living money during the launch period.

    I look forward to the road map your series will lay out for me!

  • Meryl
    Reply

    Thanks Christian, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. It sounds like you are already on the right track with your budget and savings!

  • Cate
    Reply

    Couldn’t agree more about the savings Meryl – big big factor in helping create something great which is so much harder to do when money, although always a factor, is an issue in the early stages.

    • Meryl
      Reply

      Thanks for your comment Cate! Yes, having savings can have such a big impact on early success and also mindset. Saving done well becomes a habit a bit like exercise or cleaning your teeth. Something that helped me with this back when I was an employee was having a regular transfer to a savings account on the same day I received my pay. That way I never even missed the money!

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