By John Meyer
If you’re anticipating the big plunge into full-time entrepreneurism, you must carefully evaluate various factors. The necessity for a full-time commitment is far greater than the flexibility of being a part-time principal, and it requires a significant change of attitude and lifestyle.
While you’re on the fence, considerations will include everything from finances to time, as well as the challenges faced by such a switch. If you find yourself with the slightest hint of hesitation and feel that you may not be ready… then hold off on going all in! Self-assurance – and self-doubt – are two powerful psychological factors that will impact your decision and its outcome. So, it’s important to be prepared.
As you brainstorm the decision making process and its contingencies, here are six issues to contemplate before going full-time:
- What’s your financial fitness? No successful entrepreneur lives as a pessimist, but no successful entrepreneur ignores the possibility of failure. As such, it is imperative to put financial considerations at the forefront when deciding between part-time and full-time status. The bottom line of the process is literally the bottom line: Do you have enough savings to carry you through the initial phase of full-time status based on a given consumption rate? If yes, you’re in good shape, possibly even great shape, depending on the financial cushion you have established. If no, then the decision has been made for you.
- What’s the magic number to making the transition? The second part of the economic equation is in determining a specific revenue number that will afford you the opportunity to seamlessly transition from part-timer to 24/7 business owner/operator. Don’t merely use your own calculations or estimates, speak with your accountant and lawyer for unbiased advice. Again, if you can establish an exact figure (not a hopeful ballpark total), you will know exactly when you can make the move, and if not now, then how much further into a positive cash flow stream you must progress. Timing is crucial and the numbers do have to make as much sense as cents.
- Who will play key roles in your organization? Dollars aside, a secondary consideration must revolve around delegation of responsibilities. Think for a moment about what your daily managerial tasks are comprised of … could any of those duties be outsourced for better cost effectiveness, thus freeing up valuable time for you elsewhere in the business? Conversely, are your commitments such that only you can handle them, given a full-time schedule? Such a dilemma used to be known as soul searching. For the part-time entrepreneur looking to go full-time, it is more applicably thought of as role searching.
- Are you willing to cut the cord with other employers? If you’re currently attending to your start-up in a part-time capacity, it’s safe to assume you are employed elsewhere. Should you move to full time entrepreneurial status, you must be willing to completely cut the cord to any/all other employment commitments. Full-time is exactly that, especially when it involves your proprietary interests.
- Just how passionate are you? The hallmark of every successful entrepreneur is passion: passion for self-employment, and passion for being the master of one’s universe. Check your passion levels, and see if they really are compatible with a full-time schedule. There is no middle ground with playing the full-time role, and you need to have enough passion and wherewithal to stick it out during tough times. If you don’t have the proverbial fire-in-the-belly, be honest with yourself now, and avoid countless problems later. There’s no shame in staying part-time if that’s what you’re more comfortable with.
- How thick is your skin? Once you have gone full-time, you must become bullet proof to negativity, criticism, and opinions contrary to your vision. Everyone will have something to say, and most of that feedback will range from worthless to counterproductive. Dedicate yourself to the jobs at hand to make your full-time efforts as productive as possible. Let outsiders speak their respective pieces, and file such commentary accordingly.
As you make perhaps the biggest decision of your life, it’s important to ask yourself the right questions and answer them honestly. In doing so, you stand a greater chance at success in your chosen field.
John Meyer is head of Strategic Partnerships/Marketing at The Company Corporation. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and connecting them to resources that help them thrive. He is also a political strategist and art collector in his free time. Follow him at @Company_Corp.