1. Get an online presence now. Setting up a presence online will help your brand – even before you start your new business. As an extension of your business, managing and honing your personal brand online as soon as you can – via a static site, a blog or an LinkedIn profile – is a MUST. It’ll help you network, connect with the right people and build an audience before you even have a business idea to launch.”
2. Start meeting people ASAP. People do business with other people. Simple as that. By going out there and start meeting other entrepreneurs, could-be-customers, or even people you don’t necessarily like, it would help the founders learn about themselves as well as establish a network of friends (or foes) that would tremendously impact the business when it does launch.”
3. Cut back on living expenses. I’ve talked to a lot of 9-to-5-ers who want to become entrepreneurs. One of the hardest things for them is to cut back on their personal expenses because they’ve become accustomed to the corporate lifestyle – money is spent more freely if you know you have a paycheck coming in two weeks. Entrepreneurs don’t have this luxury, so it is important to keep your expenses low to keep your peace of mind.”
4. Join the founders institute. The connections, experience and know-how in business building that you’ll get will be invaluable. Also, realize that starting a business for “freedom” or “better income” in the short-term is grossly unrealistic, you’ll be working 16-hour days and paying yourself peanuts at the start.”
5. Take one step forward. Most people in this position sit around do lots of planning. The thing I’ve found is that when you take the first step, the view changes. The second will be revealed and then you keep moving forward.
6. Test the water before diving in. Considering trying your business idea part-time while keeping your day job. This will allow you to determine if you have a profitable idea and actually enjoy the new business before giving up the security and benefits of your full-time job.”
7. Stop being disgruntled, start being grateful. I was the epitome of disgruntled when I decided to leave my last job and it took so much energy away from my business to be angry and frustrated. If I could go back, I’d stay in gratitude for the learning experience while I made the transition. Be thankful that this non-ideal job is showing you want you really want in life and stop whining. No one likes a whiner in a 9-to-5 or entrepreneurship!”
8. Learn more about marketing. The biggest challenge you’ll face in any new business is generating new leads and customers. For that reason, the most valuable thing you can do before you start a business is become a student of marketing – and, specifically, “direct-response” marketing. If you want a good free primer of direct-response marketing, check out the I Love Marketing podcasts.
9. Incubate your startup at work. Jobs are scarce right now, and a startup is expensive. As much as possible, incubate your business while retaining a full-time job. Speak about your ideas with colleagues to receive immediate feedback, take lunch at your desk and spend 40 minutes brainstorming, and save money to finance the idea. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll be working 15 hours per day, so start immediately!”
10. Work after hours. Start working on building your own business after hours. If you really want to escape that cubicle but you still need that steady paycheck, you have to put in the time after hours to get yourself as far along as possible before making the leap into entrepreneurship.”
11. Stop waiting for the perfect moment. There is never a right time to quit your stable job to set out on your own. If you keep waiting for the right time, you’ll be waiting forever. So do as much research as you can, confer with friends/mentors who have made those tough decisions, and then make the leap. There will be ups and downs, that’s part of it. Living your dream isn’t easy, or else everyone would be doing it.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.