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Updated 06 Dec 2020

What to know before you quit your job

Being self-employed is demanding. Often entrepreneurs are neither ready, nor prepared for the transition of being their own boss. These challenges can be mitigated through proper planning before pursuing their entrepreneurial dream.

Lusanele Mahlutshana , 29 June 2018  Share  0 comments  Print

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Emerging entrepreneurs often face challenges soon after moving from employment to self-employment. How can they be prepared for this transition and manage their expectations?

Here are four things to consider before quitting your day job.

1. Be prepared to work much longer hours

There is an illusion that being your own boss means that you don’t have to work when you feel like it, you don’t have to keep to office hours or that you don’t have to work hard.

The truth is that while self-employment does offer some flexibility, it does not mean less working hours. It actually means more than the usual “eight to five” office hours as everything, from start to finish, is waiting for the boss.

Related: Start a business without quitting your day job

This is especially true when the business does not have any other employees yet. A mind-set shift is needed, and one must be aware that there is great commitment needed to make the enterprise work.

2. Be prepared to work for less money

Sometimes the business does not move fast enough in terms of sales or income. This puts more pressure on the entrepreneur, which affects his or her focus. One of the ways aspiring entrepreneurs can plan for this is by putting aside savings for the early days and odd times that the business is not breaking even. 

It might be a few months before there is enough income to earn a salary. Therefore, preparing for this will ease the pressure. Paying off current debt is essential.

If you can initially pay insurance and other premiums for a minimum of six months to a year, it will ease the financial burden in those start-up months. Planning for essential expenses and having a reserve to pay for these, is important.

3. Be prepared to go to less parties

Sometimes, the new position of self-employment demands adjusting one’s lifestyle. This includes missing some social events to save money, to get rest or to use the time for the running of the business.

Related: Don’t quit your day job (just yet)

This sacrifice is necessary for the transition into self-employment, as well as maintaining that essential work/life balance. Start saying “no” to non-value add activities right from the start. This will make being unavailable easier and lessen the guilt when the business demands more time.

4. Be prepared to do two jobs

A good way for potential entrepreneurs to move into their own business is by starting to do it on a part-time basis. 

A lot of people have started their businesses as a hobby, taking their personal time to do what they love like baking, making crafts, fixing cars, organising events, etc. They use weekends and public holidays to test the demand for their product or service. They then leave employment when the market demand can no longer be met by only working certain hours - when their business venture demands full-time attention.

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About the author

Lusanele Mahlutshana

Lusanele Mahlutshana, Operations Director of Tradelane Training & Project Management, specialises in women and youth entrepreneurship development. She is responsible for business development, training, mentoring and providing consulting services. She has managed various incubation programmes for emerging entrepreneurs in different segments. She holds various qualifications in Marketing- and Project Management and she is a certified International Labour Organisation (ILO) trainer in various spheres. She is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Strategic Management at Wits Business School.

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