Whether it’s the appeal of increased flexibility, chasing a passion or simply a desire to gain one hundred per cent control of your destiny, taking hold of the reins on your career and going solo isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Firstly, it’s essential to understand what’s driving your desire, know what it takes to set yourself up for success, and ensure you’ve got what it takes to take the leap. Here’s what you need to know.
Are you ready?
There are plenty of important questions to ask yourself before leaving behind a steady paycheque and striking out on your own, but how do you know if it’s the right time for you? The truth is, it’s unlikely ever to be ‘the exact right time’- we always have holidays in the wings, upcoming expenses or commitments that can get in the way (or even use subconsciously as excuses). According to this article from Forbes, here are five signs you might be ready to make the move:
1. The dream doesn’t go away – despite a multitude of excuses, the dream of becoming your own boss has been following you around for years. This is a good indication that it’s a serious desire rather than a fleeting fantasy.
2. Climbing the ladder is no longer a thrill – despite having risen through the ranks and commanding an enviable salary, your job isn’t fulfilling, and your passion has waned. You find yourself constantly wondering if this is it for you.
3. You no longer fit your work persona – perhaps you were once that driven corporate that thrived in negotiations and presentations, or maybe it never really was authentically who you are. Often, our work personas become disjointed from our true selves, which can become tiresome and frustrating over time. If you’re finding it increasingly difficult to smile and nod, it might be time to embrace a change.
4. You feel suffocated – being hemmed in by ‘must attend’ corporate meetings and restricted to annual leave days and set work hours is no longer floating your boat.
5. The status quo has got to go – if the thought of another month or year in your current role is unbearable, it’s time to quit while you’re ahead. It’s not worth risking your reputation (as your enthusiasm deteriorates).
Make the switch gradually
Side hustles have become increasingly popular, with a recent report released by ING Australia revealing nearly half of those surveyed either have or are planning to start a side hustle. Quitting your job without a safety net is a leap too far for many, which makes the appeal of this more gradual approach attractive. Pursuing your passion (or future career idea) on the side will allow you to test the waters before jumping in headfirst.
Set yourself up for success
From finances to business plans, setting yourself up correctly from day one will make all the difference. Here’s what you need to consider:
- Find support – a mentor or support network is invaluable when times (inevitably) get tough. They’ll help you gain perspective, provide moral support and motivation, and keep you on track.
- Know your customers – upfront market analysis is crucial. A great product or service only exists where there is demand. Research your potential customer base, take a close look at any competitors and identify where you will fit into the market. Find out more about identifying your target market here, and include this detail in your business plan.
- Formulate a business plan – whether you’re planning on being a solopreneur or building an empire, a business plan serves the same purpose. It gives your business direction, maps out goals and identifies risks and factors that could affect your success. A robust business plan can help you seek finance and is invaluable as a tool to regularly check in with how the business is tracking. Download a business plan template.
- Choose a proven business model – becoming your own boss doesn’t necessarily mean creating a product or service from scratch. There are plenty of opportunities to become part of well-known franchises or become a member of an existing business model such as First National Real Estate. Choosing a proven business model removes a lot of the risk. It provides you with support, guidance and instant brand recognition while giving you all the benefits of being a master of your destiny.
- Get budgeting – consider any upfront costs such as marketing needs (things like websites and logos), along with ongoing expenses such as software subscriptions, office space and so on.
- Success takes time – recognise that you’re playing the long game, and it’s highly unlikely a new business will become an overnight success. You need to be prepared to put in the time and effort upfront. According to this study, it takes entrepreneurs roughly three years before their annual income reaches the same level as the job they left behind.
Ready to leap?
Before you give up that cushy 9-5, make sure you can tick these five boxes:
- You have a solid offering – it needs to be proven, not just a hunch.
- You have real potential customers – not just friends and family.
- You have savings to fall back on – be prepared to not pay yourself a salary immediately.
- You’ve got what it takes – check that you genuinely have the self-motivation and grit to stay focussed.
- You have the expertise – if you’re embarking on a career vastly different to your day job, make sure you’ve gained a solid understanding of the industry first.
The best of both worlds does exist
If you’re serious about becoming your own boss but finding the process a little daunting, becoming a business owner with First National Real Estate can offer you the best of both worlds. You’ll become part of an established network (with over 320 offices across Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific), access the support and backing of a large national brand, and enjoy the freedom and independence of running a business your way.
When you become part of First National Real Estate, you’re not buying into a franchise. You become a valued part of a not-for-corporate-profit real estate co-operative, meaning you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour and enjoy collaboration instead of competition with other agents in the network. Find out more about joining First National Real Estate here.