How did you know it was the right time to start your own venture/ initiative? How would you advise someone who is just starting out with a project outside of their regular 9-5 job?

Nikita Ladwa

Founder of The Naked Laundry

It was the fear of regret, the adrenaline rush and the unknown which pushed me to do it. Three years of planning still isn’t enough to launch any brand, but learning along the way is better than not knowing how to move forward. With having my own fashion brand and my blog, equally as important passion is digital marketing which is my somewhat 9-5 position. Someone who is reading this right now and thinking of when to start that project they have been dreaming about, I would say DO IT! Build connections, put yourself out there and bounce off like minded people who will encourage you to reach higher!

Shazia Mustafa

Founder of Third Door

To be frank, I didn’t know that it was the right time, I’m not sure you ever do. I had an idea for a business back in 2006 and left my career to work on that, quickly realising I had no idea how to monetise the idea! I had no regrets as my attitude was at least I tried.

A few months after I had my first child back in 2007, the only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to return to work and further my career. However, like most new mums, I was reluctant to be far from my baby and wanted somewhere I could work in peace whilst my little one was cared for nearby. My husband was also studying for a self-funded MBA at the time as well as working full-time as a remote employee. When I suggested the idea of Third Door to my husband, he immediately understood the concept and based it as a feasibility study for his MBA dissertation. When he received a Distinction for his work, we decided to set up Third Door for real and two years after the initial idea we launched Third Door, in Putney, London. The world’s first coworking space, with an onsite flexible nursery, was finally open for business.

The timing may not have been spot on (I mean back then no one even knew what coworking was) but we completely believed in the idea and the stronger vision of creating a spaces where family and work could grow together. The conviction was so strong that we built Third Door as we could see that in the future, knowing that this would be type of spaces parents would be looking for. And I am so glad we did it when we did; to pioneer a whole new concept and see so many follow in our footsteps has been pretty amazing.

Right from the age of six, I had developed a habit of reading self-development books as well as watching videos of various motivational speakers. I also enjoyed reading books based on the autobiographies of successful people. All these have inspired me to start my YouTube videos.

Tatjana Apukhtina

Co-Founder of TeaPro

I think first it's important to find something you're passionate about. If you're only thinking about the money - forget it, it won't carry you through the lows.

Once you've found your passion, work out whether there is a problem you can solve. Then create an MVP - something you can manage on the side. Once the idea and the business has matured and you're starting to make a bit of income, that's when you're ready to quit your job. I won't lie, it's a lot of time and effort, but boy it's worth it!

Laila Datoo

Founder of a.life.more.mindful

I got to a place of pain and discomfort in my corporate role and that was the push I needed to start my own business. Not ideal and I wouldn't advise that to everyone but often we don't feel the need to change the status quo unless we feel that pain. I had also had my own experiences with burn out/ stress and knew I wanted to help other businesses . It felt like the right time although it is always a big leap.

My main advice would be to build up your side income as much as possible before quitting your day job - but also know what your tipping point is as sometimes we choose comfortable for too long. I had a strong vision of how I wanted my life to be and so I knew I needed to take steps to make it happen rather than wait for opportunities to come up.

Rani Malik

Co-Founder of Venue 5 and Social Dhaba

I felt something was not right there were too many stories in the media to do with women, men and situations that made me feel I wish I could help someone get the help they needed. There's so much help but there but people cannot be bothered to get out of there comfort zones and reach out. Me and some friends got together and decided to make a change

Teresa Faley

Founder of Letterbox Brownies

Since leaving university I just knew I wouldn't be truly happy career-wise unless I was working for myself, but I knew if I wanted to create my own business I would need a sum of money to get it started.

So I worked in a number of jobs for a few years, whilst growing the business bit by bit on the side - eventually I got to a point where I knew it was a matter of taking the plunge, quitting my job and devoting all my time to the business.

I had saved enough money to have a 'safety net' for the first 4-6 months, and had built up a client base that I could rely on for some income. Ultimately I knew if I stayed in my 9-5 job, I would never have enough time to take on more orders and without more orders the business would not develop - so I made the choice to leave...and I haven't looked back!

Sarah Asgaraly

Founder of Beyond Sarah

I was working in a job where I did not learn anything and where the culture was toxic. So, I decided I needed to start my own company, do what I love and under my own terms. I am turning 30 this year and thought if I don't start now, I'd never have the courage to start. I would advise them to truly pursue their calling and what they are passionate about.

Fei Yao

Co-Founder of NewCampus

There’ll never be a “right time”. For me it was very calculated: it was giving myself a set personal runway to experiment as I wanted to try out a few things at the same time. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was starting up, nor where I wanted to be to do this, so I made sure to save up at least 12 months of expenses for me to have time to figure things out. I treated it as an educational expense. For people who are looking to start out with a project outside of their regular 9-5 – I would advise to hold on to your 9-5 for as long as possible. You might need to give up your social life for a while, but on any given week you probably have 30-40 hours to work on your side project and look for positive indicators before you give up your stream of income. There are few things more mentally taxing than worrying about a project not going anywhere, and no money at the same time. When it starts feeling right, take the plunge! Worst case, you can always find another job for a while and try again. It doesn’t have to be a one time thing.

Praneeja Roy

Founder of Roy Events

As cliché as I can be, there isn’t a right time to start your own venture! You just have to take the plunge. Time management and keeping yourself motivated when you run your own business is a big challenge. Initially when I started out I had moved from a buzzing office environment to working on my own in my room! So the change was drastic.

If you are starting something new have a business plan, strategy in place, without a plan you will feel directionless and wont know where to start.

Shabari Saha

Founder of the London Vegan Business Network

At the time, I was thinking of starting my own vegan business but I wasn’t sure what to do or whether I’d be able to do it. I’d only ever worked for other people, so it was a really daunting prospect going it alone. I’ve had so many ideas in the past, which were all pie in the sky. However, I didn’t want to go back into the corporate world where it was full of politics.

I would advise anyone to just keep at it, while doing your regular 9-5 job, until you have reached a point where you can go full-time. It’s a lot of hard work, and there will be days when you’ll feel like it’s such a struggle. What you need to keep in mind is your why did you start your venture/initiative in the first place and use that to motivate you to achieve your goals and vision.

Tenesia Pascal

Founder of Earth To Earth Organics

I didn’t know really, I just did it. I find with anything that it’s better to start it than to wait until things are perfect.

I’d say go for it but be prepared for the long hours because your day now becomes 7-8 or in my case 5-7 it just depends on what works best for you. You have to sacrifice your time to build your business.

Carly Thompsett

Founder of Anaphase Store

To just do it! It’s like planning a baby – there will never be a right time. I always tell people, don’t live a what if life – if I hadn’t had moved to Cardiff would I have ever started my business, would I have achieved everything I have; well I don’t know but if indent give it a shot, how would I have known. even if you fail, you can still say you tried.

Priya Shah

Founder of BAME in Property

If you have an idea and a passion, just go for it. I like to describe myself as an ‘intrepreneur’, someone who has an entrepreneurial mind but is working ‘inside’ a larger company. This is fine, as sometimes you need this space and the resources to develop an idea. I was very fortunate to have backing by the company I was working in (Built Environment Communications Group) to start BAME in Property and that helped significantly. Having those around you who can help and support you is key – without this, it may be difficult to balance the side hustle with the main one.

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