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?
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.
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!
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.
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!
Every birthday party, a person always asks me advice on the 'perfect time' to start. What you're really asking me is if there is a guarantee, there never is. The best way to do something is to do it (or accept that you don't do it).
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.
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.
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.