Jamaica Gleaner

Turn­ing your side gig into a full-time busi­ness

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QUES­TION: I have read prob­a­bly all your col­umns, and as an en­tre­pre­neur, it’s re­ally good to find lo­cal in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice. I have just started an agri­cul­tural busi­ness and am still do­ing my daily job and it has been hard. I do not have enough time to prop­erly fo­cus on my busi­ness, and it has been suf­fer­ing, how­ever when I think of leav­ing my job, I think of all the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties I have. I am not sure what to do at this point. Have you ever been at this stage?

– Jodi

BUSINESSWI­SE: Thank you for be­ing a faith­ful reader, and I’m glad that you find the in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice I share use­ful.

Yes, I have been at the stage where I needed to de­cide whether to leave a good-pay­ing job, with good ben­e­fits and ex­cel­lent prospects for ad­vance­ment, to start a busi­ness.

For me, the de­ci­sion was very easy. I didn’t have any con­cerns or reser­va­tions about fail­ure be­cause of a num­ber of rea­sons, many of them quite per­sonal, but which I am pre­pared to share be­cause I be­lieve it is im­por­tant for as­pir­ing en­trepreneur­s and oth­ers to un­der­stand the mind­set, plan­ning, sac­ri­fice, and risks it takes to take a dream and build it into a busi­ness.

I was an en­tre­pre­neur at heart and be­lieved my tal­ents were be­ing muted.

My at­ti­tude is that busi­ness is risky by na­ture and fail­ing is of­ten nec­es­sary on the jour­ney to build­ing a suc­cess­ful busi­ness. I was, there­fore, open to it, em­braced it, and was de­ter­mined to bounce back in the event the busi­ness flopped.

I be­lieved in the vi­sion and po­ten­tial of my busi­ness, and I was con­fi­dent that there was a sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­nity to be the pi­o­neer of le­gal fund­ing and lit­i­gant sup­port in Ja­maica.

I had post-grad­u­ate ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, con­sid­er­able work ex­pe­ri­ence, and a track record of per­for­mance that I could rely on in the event that I failed. I was con­fi­dent that I could easily find another job if needed to help me get back on my feet un­til the next op­por­tu­nity.

I was mar­ried and my hus­band was op­er­at­ing a buoy­ant pri­vate prac­tice, which could cover our ba­sic needs in the event that the busi­ness was un­suc­cess­ful.

I had con­vinced my hus­band to sell our house, use some of the pro­ceeds to fi­nance the busi­ness and the re­main­der to fund the de­posit on another prop­erty that could bring in just enough rental in­come to cover the mort­gage pay­ment, while we moved into a fam­ily home, where we had no big mort­gage or ma­jor rental ex­penses to cover. This al­lowed us to min­imise our liv­ing ex­penses even as we wel­comed our first child.

QUIT­TING A DREAM JOB

I had con­sid­er­able train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence in risk man­age­ment and knew that if I had prop­erly iden­ti­fied the ma­jor risks and threats, planned for the things that could go wrong, and proac­tively man­aged those risks, I would in­crease the like­li­hood of suc­ceed­ing.

When I dis­cussed my plans to leave with my for­mer boss, he was very en­cour­ag­ing and shared some­thing that re­ally res­onated.

He said: “If I had to live my life over again I would prob­a­bly do the same thing that you are do­ing. The thing about be­ing in a job is that in or­der to be pro­moted, you need to work much harder and longer hours and the com­pany owns prac­ti­cally all your time. Once you do get pro­moted, you up­grade your lifestyle in line with your earn­ings, but those earn­ings are just enough to keep you go­ing from month to month.” It was great val­i­da­tion and mo­ti­va­tion.

By now, you should re­alise that leav­ing a job to start a busi­ness is not some­thing you do on a whim. You can re­flect on my own jour­ney and ap­ply rel­e­vant lessons to your sit­u­a­tion.

How­ever, in de­ter­min­ing your readi­ness for full-time entreprene­urship, please read my ar­ti­cle ti­tled ‘When To Leave Your Job to Start a Busi­ness – An 8-Point Guide’, which was pub­lished on Au­gust 24, 2014, and can be found at: http://ja­maica-gleaner.com/ar­ti­cle/busi­ness/20140824/when-leavey­our-job....

Other im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions have to do with the in­dus­try you are in, your abil­ity to iden­tify sus­tain­able and vi­able mar­kets, man­age prae­dial lar­ceny, chang­ing weather con­di­tions, and other en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors be­yond your con­trol.

Ask your­self how you can use tech­nol­ogy and new tech­niques to help you man­age these risks and oth­ers be­fore you re­sign.

My fi­nal point is that the po­ten­tial of your busi­ness ex­pands im­mensely once you are lead­ing it and work­ing on it full time. If you have done your due dili­gence, re­search, proper plan­ning and prepa­ra­tions, the only re­gret you may have is not leav­ing sooner.

One love!

Ya­neek Page is an en­tre­pre­neur and trainer and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of The In­no­va­tors TV se­ries. Email: ya­neek.page@ gmail.com; Twit­ter: @ya­neek­page; Web­site: ya­neek­page.com

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Ya­neek Page BUSINESSWI­SE

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