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Get A Job vs Start A Business ?


Neville

Get a job or start a business

So you've officially become torn between getting a job or starting your own business....

....What to do??

I've seen this conundrum play out hundreds of times, and hopefully this experience can help guide your decision.  Read on my friend:

 

1.) Let's start why it's awesome to own a business:

Running your own business is super glamorized because people see all the good stuff about it.....and to be honest, there ARE a lot of good things about it:

When you're running the show, you get to do ANYYYYTTTHING you want!  Do you want your "global headquarters" (aka you with a laptop) located on a beach in Costa Rica?  Cool.....go!

You get to write off a shit-ton of stuff on your taxes. You even get to save more money by being a business owner (a normal ROTH IRA allows you to sock away $5,500/year in savings tax free, however a business SEP IRA allows you to sock away $53,000/year.  That's 10x more.  Giggity).

You get to be your own boss, call all the shots, decided what you want (and don't want) to do everyday.  It's 100% up to you.

Many first time entrepreneurs go through this short-lived euphoria of setting up their business and it's exciting and fun!

This is known as the "Playing Business" Phase.  It's where you get caught up in making business cards, making overly-complex business plans, thinking of incorporating an LLC, hashing out who's gonna be your C.T.O. and C.F.O. and Chief Whateverthefuckyouwant Officer.

And by all means, you SHOULD enjoy aspects of this!

It's fun!

It's exciting!

It's creative!

But it also doesn't make you ONE GODDAMN DOLLAR.

Soon this "Playing Business" euphoria starts to wear off, and reality starts to set in.  In whatever business you go into, there's going to be a lot more unexpected expenses and hassles than are generally reported.

It kind of goes like this:

Good and bad running business

 

PERSONAL SIDE STORY:

I have a friend who runs a big commercial real estate company.  It would seem like an envious and glamorous position to have millions of feet real estate under management, but if you were to go work for them, you would see the most whackadoodle shit of your life.  Tenants do some WEIRD things, people file dumb lawsuits, drunk drivers literally run into your buildings, homeless people setup camp inside buildings, insurance companies use borderline illegal tactics, people steal stuff, city regulations are always changing, moving a toilet and faucet for a tenant can cost more than $30,000 in plumbing alone.....it's just one thing after another.  

It's never straight-and-simple as it seems.

With that in mind, let's talk about the BAD parts of owning a business:

 

 

2.) The BAD parts about owning a business:

Let's just start with this my friend:

You tend to see the "highlight reel" of someone's life, not the bad sides.

For example, here's two pictures that make running a business seem awesome:

1.) this is a pic of me having fun on a $5,800 gravity flight where a plane flies in parabolas over the ocean and creates a "weightless" environment:

zero-g-neville

Pretty sweet huh?  That flight wasn't cheap, yet the disposable income from my business allowed me to do it without thinking much of the price.

....and in this picture below I took a two-week-long workcation to Thailand. Here I am working in a hammock on a private beach:

nev-hammock

Seems pretty relaxing right??

These two pictures you'll see on my social media accounts make owning a business seems pretty fun!!

But what I don't show you is that for every 1 cool picture like that, there's 5 or more boring pictures like this:

dark office neville lamps

That's a picture I took....

....in a dark-ass office.

....all alone.

....at 1:45am.

....on a Tuesday night.

....and my contacts were dry and hurting from looking at a screen for 12 hours.

....doing work I didn't want to do.

THAT my friend, is the part of owning a business that doesn't get much attention. Because I run my own business, it's 100% up to me to get things done, and sometimes this is what it takes.

Owning a business doesn't seem so great at that moment.

But people cherrypick what they choose to view something as.

It's great working on your passion or working for yourself.....but there WILL ALWAYS be sour patches in the journey.  Lots of them.  The most successful people I know have one thing in common: They simply work a ton.  That's it.

Yet that "boring" part of owning a business is rarely focused on.

I pulled these quotes from some of my notes from interviews where people ask about a work/life balance:

Question asked to Elon Musk:

"How do you balance your work and personal life, and take care of yourself?"

Elon's Response:

"I'm not currently performing a set of actions that will maximize my life expectancy."

 

Question asked to Neil DeGrass Tyson:

"How do you balance your work and personal life?"

Neil's Response:

::he laughs hysterically::  "I don't. If I achieve a balance, then I'm not working hard enough."

 

Question asked to Mark Zuckerberg:

"How do you separate your work and personal life?"

Mark's Response:

::he laughs::  "I don't."

The answers they gave all elicited laughs from the audience, but behind those answers are people who essentially work nearly every waking hour they have.  

When a lot of people think about owning a business they imagine freedom, money & passion.......not 24 hours a day of work.

 

 

3.) The GOOD parts about having a job:

This part should more accurately be called "Good parts about having a GOOD job."

If you're working a minimum wage fast food job and you're barely scraping by on that salary.....I'd imagine your job doesn't seem that great.

However if you're highly paid engineer and you're making a great salary.....life probably isn't THAT bad!

A steady job can provide you all sorts of sweet stuff:

  • You get a steady Income.
  • You learn new Skills.
  • It's hard to F-up TOO badly.
  • You learn how large companies operate.
  • You show up from 9-5 and take home a check.
  • You can balance work life and personal life.

I think one of the greatest benefits of having a job is the stable income. Every single month you get a nice check!

stable income drawing png

Stable income is great in a lot of ways.  You can measure out exactly how much you can spend, therefore you can plan & prepare very well.  You are pretty much guaranteed this income.

You don't have a feast-or-famine mentality like you sometimes get in a business.

It would seem that if you:  Work with people you like + Working on projects you like + Get salary/perks you like = You probably like your job.

I actually don't see the problem with having a job like this.  In fact I know tons of people at great companies who like their job at around an 85% level, and live a great life because of it!

 

 

4.) The BAD parts about having a job:

While having a stable income and job can be great, there's some obvious downside of having a job:

  • Your schedule always revolves around your job, not your own social activities.
  • You're sometimes forced to do things you don't want to do.
  • You're sometimes forced to work with people you don't like.
  • You're often pigeonholed into the same work everyday.
  • You get a stable salary, but the potential for that number skyrocketing higher is very low.

Being forced to interact with people you don't like + Working on a project you don't like = You probably hate your job.

As with anything in life, there's positives and negatives.  And despite all the good things a stable job can bring, it'll also bring some bad things.

 

 

5.) Get A Job or Start A Business? It depends on your Risk Tolerance:

A lot of young people working at a company will say this line: "I don't want to be like those old people who've been working there for over 30 years!"

But that's not looking at it correctly.  Those "old people" are in their 50's and 60's and are trying ride out the cushy gig they've got going!  They treat their job as a way to earn money and live a nice life.  What's wrong with that?

If you're young, hungry and aggressive.....then perhaps that lifestyle isn't for you YET.  But stack on 20 years of life experience, get a spouse, pile on some kids, get roped into a mortgage and maybe the view will change:

family expenses

It really just depends which stage in your life you're at.  The guy above needs some serious cash flow coming in to support his family, and he probably spends most of his time in one place near his home because of the kids' school, and he probably prioritizes family above work......so maybe he WILL want to ride out a cushy job for all it's worth.  A stable 9-5 job is probably ideal for this guy at this stage.

However if you're freshly out of college and wondering what to do in life, assuming you have low financial burdens, you can pretty much DO ANYTHING YOU WANT for a few years with very low consequence.

 

Personal Side Story:

All through college I had little side businesses going, and I was also WAY more frugal than I am now, so I saved nearly all my money.

By the time I graduated college, I had built up somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 in savings to live on.  My rent at the time was something like $320/month, and I had extremely minimal monthly expenses, so theoretically I could live for 1-2 years pretty comfortably off that money and still have some emergency cushion money.

So while everyone was busy getting jobs after college, I was able to just "test the waters" with entrepreneurship before I got a job.  I already had business(es) going at that time, and they were making money, so I wouldn't suffer any downsides by taking this path (like going totally homeless).

So going the entrepreneur route for me was actually NOT a risky move at all.

Some people think I riskily dove off a cliff into the unknown waters of business......but it's more like I slowly walked down a staircase into the water, AND had a life jacket on (my savings account), AND had a lifeguard in case things went terribly wrong (my parents).

 

 

 

 

6.) What to do if you're curious about starting a business:

Without fail, this is the specific path I've seen for people who've successfully transitioned out of their jobs:

Keep job --> Work on side project in spare time --> If it gains traction, go harder --> Quit job when side income becomes greater than job.

I'd say there's an 80% chance of you actually not enjoying running a business at all, or not willing to push/sell hard enough to make it.  If you can't successfully run a business "on the side" then you probably won't be able to run one full time either.

You have to be CURIOUS and WORK HARD at whatever you do, and expect that you might not make money for a loooonng time.

What if I told you the "marketing blog" you're starting will NEVER make a cent.  Ever.

Would you still do it?  Would you still slave over posts at 3am trying to make them perfect?

A lot of people want to follow their passion, but ALSO expect it to make hella money.  These are conflicting views, as your passion may not always make you a lot of money.

But also without some passion, it's unlikely you'll push hard enough to make a business.

Here's a thought experiment:

There's two YouTube channels started on the same day:

YOUTUBE CHANNEL 1.) A grown man starts a YouTube channel because he saw that some YouTuber's make lots of money.....so he starts doing product review videos and putting a bunch of affiliate links in the description. He hopes his new YouTube channel will make him millions like that famous YouTuber he is copying.

YOUTUBE CHANNEL 2.) A kid in his parents house who is absolutely obsessed with tech gadgets, computers, and programs makes a channel for fun where he reviews tech and does tutorials on hundreds of programs.  He does it for fun and it's his hobby.  Making money from it never entered his mind.

Which of these two YouTube channels will end up succeeding?

Channel 2 is the answer.

Here's a real life example of that:

This is Marques Brownlee.  He's been one of my favorite tech reviewers on YouTube for years.  He produces super high quality gadget reviews, has good opinions about new tech stuff, and gets access to all these gadgets before they come out:

marques

He's super influential with 3.5million+ subscribers. I was surprised to find out that currently he's only 22 years old.  One would surmise that being such an influence in tech AND so young: "This kid came out of nowhere!!!"

However if you look back on his YouTube channel, it goes back over 7+ years to when he was 13 years old.....and he did literally HUNDREDS of tech reviews and how-to videos per year since he was 13!!!!

In our How To Become A Famous YouTuber research we analyzed how long it took Marques to become popular, and the data shows it took him over 4 years of getting no traffic before he started taking off....and in that time he published HUNDREDS of videos just for the love of it!

MKBHD Youtube Channel Stats Chart

You can see his oldest videos here and notice he published several times per week for YEARS before gaining a lot of traction:

https://www.youtube.com/user/marquesbrownlee/videos?sort=da&flow=grid&view=0

marques brownlee old photo

Seriously, check out his old archives and click "more videos" to see them all.....it's literally HUNDREDS OF VIDEOS PER YEAR.

Clearly this kid had a passion for reviewing and showing off tech, and also one hell of a work ethic to consistently put out this many videos by himself, in his spare time.

So is it really any wonder he's one of the top tech reviewers today?

Is it really any wonder the guy that posts 4 tech reviews and amazon affiliate links gets frustrated "he made zero dollars" and promptly quits?

I can't wait to see Marques' face when someone asks him "How did you get 4.8 Million subscribers so quickly?"

His answer will be: "I consistently filmed, edited, and published over 2,000 videos over the course of 8 years."

 

Personal Side Story:

I've done the "passion" thing before, and I've done the "let's just grab some money" thing before.  They both work if you're willing to put in a lot of effort:

PASSION/HOBBY:

When I started NevBlog I didn't realize it would lead to other stuff.  It's just that blogger.com was an easy way to keep track of monthly finances in chronological order.  I never in a million years though NevBlog would make a cent.  I updated that blog for YEARS just because I wanted to track my finances, stay accountable, and remember what the hell I did the prior month.

I even have an ultra-old website Neville1.com that dates back 17 years to the year 2000 where I posted articles and pictures using Microsoft FrontPage 1997.  It was a hobby.  It was fun to me.

So when people ask me about how KopywritingKourse got to become such a large blog so quickly.....I don't think of it like that.  I think of it as a slow 17 year progression starting with some dumb personal website I made as an experiment and continuous improvement ever since.

 

STRAIGHT UP CA$$$SH:

A business I started in high school and made money all through college for me was HouseOfRave.com (I sold the business in 2011 so I no longer own it).  I drop-shipped rave gear. I didn't give a CRAP about raves, I've still never been to one till this day,  However I was totally in love with eCommerce and being able to sell stuff online.  HouseOfRave was started out of pure curiosity to see if I could start an eCommerce business.

It quickly started making money, however it never gave me as much joy as other hobby projects.  I kept it around to make money.

 

 

By doing something on the side, you will quickly figure out if you love it or hate it.

Many people romanticize the idea of owning their own business.  Many want to "be a blogger" and in their head imagine some nomadic lifestyle with money magically pouring in.

I'll hardcore push these people to START their own blog, even if it's ghetto at first.  Normally at this point they spend 90% of their time doing dumb stuff like picking out a blog theme or obsessing which email service provider to use in the future when they have 800,000,000,000,000 subscribers.

Almost without fail, within a month they've stalled out.

They stop blogging because they quickly realized they hate it.

We're humans and we tend to romanticize what it'll be like "on the other side."  We see only the positive aspects, but until we experience those negatives, it's difficult to realize those negatives even exist.

 

It's hard to figure out what you like.

It's easier to figure out what you DON'T like.

No no no YES

 

Personal Side Story:

I really really really expected myself to become a doctor when I was in high school (after all I AM Indian).  It just sounded cool to be a doctor, so I enrolled in this program in high school where I got to leave school for 3 hours every-other-day and shadow different doctors.

I think it was around the 6th week of shadowing doctors that I ABSOLUTELY KNEW I would not enjoy that work.

It just wasn't for me.  The empathy required, the paperwork required, the rules you have to follow, the amount of caution you need at every step, the amount of studying biology involved.....I could just tell my personality at the time would NOT have fit into that profession.

I still didn't fully know what I wanted to be, but I sure as hell knew what I DIDN'T want to be.  I could clearly tell that I was not willing to dedicate the next 10 years of my life to enter that profession.

Knowing this saved me years of time in college (had I not done that program, I would have enrolled in a pre-med course and wasted years of time).

 

 

"Bro....you haven't answered my question. Should I get a job or start a business??"

Here's my ultra-short answer:

If you have job + love it = Stay at job.

If you have job + hate it + curious about business = Milk your job long as you can and start something on the side.

If you don't have a job + don't have a business = Try both.

Try a bunch of things on the side.  Remember, it's easy to find out what you DON'T like.

 

 

Job Vs. Business Quotes From People I Respect:

My opinion is just ONE opinion.  Here's a few other viewpoints on keeping a job vs starting a business:

job vs business advice

job vs business advice

job vs business advice

job vs business advice

biz-vs-job

 

Hope reading this post helped you clarify if you want to go down the path of starting a business or getting a job! You can download this entire post and signup for my email list to get more great info about which way to go:

Download this entire post for your own files:

Get this whole post sent to your email so you can keep it for future reference or send it to a friend:

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Here's some related posts to keep reading:

Neville Signature

 

P.S.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing people's stories or opinions on this subject.  Comment below letting me know which you think is better (Starting a biz -or- having a job)?  What did you choose your path, and why??


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Guest Arnie

Posted

I really like the quote:

"If you have job + hate it + curious about business = Milk your job long as you can and start something on the side."

I literally wrote that down on a post it note. I've been debating if I should quit my job and go full time with a side business, but I guess that's a pretty dangerous move unless the side business is generating some income. Thank you for the clarity Nev.

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Guest Leo Tabibzadegan

Posted

Annie don't quit your job until you make at least a few bucks with your business idea! Too many new entrepreneurs (like myself) underestimate how valuable a service really needs to be before someone will open up their wallet and give you enough money to pay your bills.
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Guest Nancy Cool

Posted

The answer is no brainer. Start your business while you still have a stable job. When your business comes to a level to finance your life, then you have the life you dream. But don't forget that you won't have more than 1% chance to achieve this. You will most probably live like a moron corporate monkey until your game is over.
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Guest Spencer Harstead

Posted

I'm stuck somewhere in the middle. I stayed at the same job for a little too long and at this point, it's just draining me. I can't think of anything I'd want to do besides my own consulting. I've saved enough to have a bit of a cushion to figure out if I can make it work.
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Guest James

Posted

I have a full-time job and three side projects: a blog with $1000 in monthly passive income, helping my dad build his passive income, and a retainer client. These add up to about 1/4 of my yearly income.

If my job fired me tomorrow, I'd be fine and could actually probably get ahead while looking for a new job as I could dedicate 4 or 5 hours a day during my job search to building up those projects.

I think the job + side income is a good choice because I'm building skills on both sides. I work at a global company so I'm getting a formal education in marketing. But down the road, I might decide to focus more on the passive income.

Do you think there should be some trade-off between passion and profit?

A lot of the best money-making ideas seem to be more practical and boring.

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Guest Michael

Posted

I'm in the full time job + side project stage and I've been here for 2 years. I probably have 1 more year to go before being able to quit my full time job.

You are spot on in this post.

Owning your own business is a ton of hard work. As the owner you're required to do all of the tasks you love AND all of the tasks you hate until you can outsource them.

When I first started I was easily putting in 80 hour weeks for basically nothing. This went on for 6 months straight, and the business was BARELY growing. I'm talking < $2000/mo revenue. All profits were reinvested.

It took me 7 months to break $10,000 TOTAL revenue. 7 freaking months!!!

It sucked.

Buuuut...

Now I have systems in place and my business is almost on autopilot. I spend maybe 1 hour per week running it, and I clear $15,000/mo revenue now with cotinual growth.

In another year I'll be able to transition out of my full time job and either start another business or double-down and grow the crap out of this one (tons of growth potential still).

Entrepreneurship has this celebrity aura to it these days which is going to lead to a lot of broke, disheartened, young people.

The reality is that owning your own business is tough, grueling work that requires tons of determination.

Cheers!

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Guest Chris

Posted

It's wonderful to see someone successful paint a true picture of the costs to get there.

I think many of us get caught up in the dreams of nice toys and working a few hours at the beach. As you pointed out, the reality is quite different.

I'm fortunate to have a day job I enjoy, so it allows me to grow my business without having to worry about a paycheck. In my opinion, if you can tolerate your "day job", that is definitely the way to go.

Thanks again!

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Guest Leo Tabibzadegan

Posted

I was in the same position man, burnt out and hated waking up at my old job. I quit cold turkey and tried entreprenuring. Failed miserably for 5 years straight. It turns out the same excuses I had that prevented me from making money in business transferred over when I quit my job and tried learning about and starting my own biz. 5 years later it paid off, but I would never make that same mistake again. If you have a job spend 2 hours everyday after work to focus educating and building a consulting biz. Get paying clients ASAP. The job and burn out isn't the issue. I promise! :)
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Guest Danny Luna

Posted

Quiting a job... Never quit a job you have given your word to finish. However terminating a working relationship is a different thing. It's not just symantics, it's about who you are as a person. Never quit. If it feels like quiting, get your head and your heart right. If you're afraid of leaving a company for money reasons, create your world so that you destroy that fear. The easy option is to create a ton of passive income. The better path is to become the type of person who knows themselves and their value so well they fear no loss, because they know they can recover. This isn't a financial question, this is a philosophy question. The $ aspect is the easy to understand symptom. Until you get your inner world aligned your outer world will be hard hard hard.
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Guest Nick Gardner

Posted

I think if you want to start a business, you are on the right track, BUT there is no reason to leave your job to do so. Allow me to explain.

You have 24 hours in a day, 8 are spent on sleeping (which should be something more like 6 or less if you are dedicated to your startup idea), with a job 8 can be allocated to work...so there are 8 hours left. Sure, on a typical day 2 hours with the family and 2 hours of "other" is more than enough. If you aren't using the other 4 hours for the business you "are so dedicated to starting," you shouldn't be starting a business. 

I am a full time student at a large university, I live on campus, I work 25 hours a week, I get great grades and I still find time every day to work towards my startup ideas (sorry for the immodesty.) Yeah, it might be less progress than I would have otherwise but the point I'm trying to make is you don't have to decide between having a job (or going to school) and starting a business.  

You may hear the glamourous stories of the billionaire CEOs (Zuckerberg I'm talkin bout you) who dropped out of school to pursue their business...but for every Zuckerberg there's about 1000 college dropouts with failed businesses that are now just about SOL.

I'm all for the "you don't need a degree to get a good job" movement. But right now that's not the market we live in. I see that changing 10 years from now sure, but right now it's just not going to cut it for the average person.

Learn from your job, make some money to fund the startup, and work on your startup during all your free time. Once you having dedicated, PAYING customers, you can start thinking about quitting your job, or dropping out of school. If you have free time that you're not using towards your startup, then you aren't ready.

Good luck to my fellow entrepreneurs! And thanks Neville for such great content like this.

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Guest Kendra @ HeyKendra.com

Posted

I'm glad you wrote this article so I didn't have to (and now I can just send peeps who ask me about it here!)

A lot of people think going into business has to be a "risky" move but it doesn't. I built my consulting business on the side until it did two things:

+ earned enough to cover all my basic bills

+ started earning more than my prior J-O-B with less hourly input.

My old "job" was "easier"... however, there was a ceiling to the income and I wanted more flexibility. Now, I'm doing the same thing with my blog (building it up income wise until it does the same thing). I'll actually probably keep a few consulting clients for awhile because I think the income diversification is important but it's made growing both easier and more enjoyable.

As always, dig your articles and insight Neville!

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Guest Arnaud

Posted

Love your quote: If you can’t successfully run a business “on the side” then you probably won’t be able to run one full time either.

I think staying on your job is often underrated. One thing many people forget in their enthusiasm to leave their jobs is that it's way easier to get a mortgage (for residential/rental properties) when you have a job. Good luck getting a mortgage when you're not employed! If you have plans to go into property, hang on to your job first.

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Guest Will Robins

Posted

I am in the in between stage. Success (when I started out) was being able to do what I wanted. Now I have a few "successful" (Pays the bills) websites and "businesses."

I struggle between pushing to the next level and finding something I am passionate about enough to stay consistent. I think the starting point that you talk about really focuses on the expectation.

Expectation is the most important factor in the "business" vs. "Job" approach. You listen to a book and start quoting "JUST OVER BROKE" then I know where you are headed. I also know those of us like me that take a more realistic view having been on both sides of the fence.

My advice would be this. Stay consistent. Make both incomes if there are 2. Do both for as long as you can (seriously to the point you have no personal life). Then take a vacation and really think about your goals. Can you stay consistent forever with the "side business"? Do you have another 5 years of what you have built?

The hardest point is the difference between making a 100k a year and the next level. Do your aspirations meet your expectations? Are you realistic with your job and your business?

Don't eat greener grass. Stay humble and consistent. Remember that the "Dream" is to be able to support yourself financially forever. A house (Humble and small, Wife, 2 Kids, 2 Cars, Money in savings, and great friends that all suppport and believe in your belief structure (Christianity or Buddhism/Vegan or Paleo/Sports or Drama) is the dream)

Don't go chasing peace, love, and happiness. Work hard at creating it. Peace comes from choosing Joy. Joy comes from choosing to have confidence and overcoming difficulty, and love is a verb.

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I live in an area where jobs are in short supply and living wage jobs are more so. Definitely believe in keeping the job until the business is doing better than the job. Get the systems in place and work out the kinks first if that is an option.
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Guest Will Robins

Posted

This is good advice and I agree. Too many times we want to blame the environment and not own up to our own shortcomings.

The statement of "This Job Is Draining Me" is where I know that you will hate 1:45 a.m. sessions by yourself and bills stacking up with no end in site.

The other problem is that you know you have a cushion. Business owners that I see make it normally have a "have to make it today" attitude.

This is why it is so important to have something making money already. It is proven at that point, before you jump into the "own a business" shark infested waters.

Accounting, Sales, Media, Banking, Website and Tech, as well as Fulfillment and Customer Service have to be all accounted for. Any shortcoming in any of these areas and you will have a major problem. Take the security of the job and start finding out what you don't know. What is going to make the business not work is a better question.

Try it. Even if you think we are crazy. Try it. Give it 6 months and act like you have to make a living on only the "business" income. Put your jobs income in savings only. I guarantee you will have a different outlook.

Don't blame time either. We all have the same amount of time. Make the most and manage yours better than everyone else. You will have to when you are janitor and accountant and salesman.

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Guest John Thomas

Posted

Thank you for a balanced viewpoint on this. I have a full time job which keeps my family sleeping indoors and eating. These are good things.

But I do work on the side. So far it's mainly money that's been used to pay to educate me, but it's also been an education in different business models which can help inform my next choice to start up as a side business.

Great article. Thanks.

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Guest Jamie

Posted

Spot on, Neville! So many entrepreneurs glamorize the income and freedom but don't show the downsides. I like how you always show the whole picture, including all the hard work and sweat equity that truly goes in. Taking on a side project is definitely the best way to test the waters to see if having your own business will work for you, with the measurement being: if you can't run a successful business on the side, you probably can't do it full time.
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Guest Trevor R.

Posted

Michael, may I ask what sort of business you run?
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Guest Jacob

Posted

As someone who didn't even really start considering "start a business" vs. "keep a job" until the last year or so, I have to say that I totally agree with the approach of starting something on the side while keeping the job (as long as you're not in the low-risk situation Neville described himself in after college). If I had quit my job to focus full time on what's currently my side hustle, there's no way I could have kept up with my financial obligations—fortunately I knew that going in, so when I hit a slump after the "playing business" phase lost its charm I still had the steady paycheck to carry me through until I got back off my ass.

As much as it's getting more common to see resources (like this one) making a point to call out how much hard work it takes to start and run a successful business, a lot of people still get taken in by the crowd selling "It's easy, just go for it!" and not everyone learns the lesson properly just from reading others' experiences. If you're like me and have to learn a certain percentage of important lessons the hard way, the safety net of a regular paycheck makes a huge difference.

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Guest Chris

Posted

This may be the best article you've ever written. Candid, up front and honest. Nice work.
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Guest Josh Haroldson

Posted

Nobody says you have to stay in that job. Why not find something less stressful? Sure you might make a little less or not be "advancing your career", but I think the narrative of I took an easier job so I have time to build a business is pretty compelling to the kinds of companies you'd want to work for IF your business fails. If it doesn't, well then you had a less stressful time getting it off the ground and you're happier right now.
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I consider myself pretty scrappy, and managed to climb the corporate ladder to the top salary tier in my line of work, with no degree. During the climb, it was exhilarating and motivating to continue progressing towards more pay, better companies, a phat resume, etc. I was completely content working for the man, and giving my talents towards someone else's dreams, because honestly, I didn't know any better, and enjoyed the steady income. Believe me, I fantasized about owning my own business, but never had the confidence or the time to earnestly entertain my ideas.

After years of sitting on this complacent crest, with no where else to go, I witnessed my first corporate down-sizing. Employees who had given 30+ of their life to a company showed up to work with security and income, and left wondering how they were going to pay their mortgage next month. Luckily, I was spared the ax, but this has lit a fire under my ass like none before. NOTHING is guaranteed, job or business. But as long as I work for someone else, my fate is in their hands, not mine. And that just isn't good enough for me.

And yes, I'm fueling my business fantasies with sweet, sweet corporate cow juice ;)

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Thank you for sharing. I prefer to do business because no one can fire me. In today world where many jobs goes offshore it is safer to do business
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