Quitting the nine-to-five to make your dream a reality


Dreaming about starting your own business but afraid to say goodbye to your regular income? Leaving behind the comforts of guaranteed full-time work can be a scary thing, but as Australian entrepreneur Lisa Messenger says “the key to success is to do”.

Here are our top tips to make that dream a reality.

Do your research

Before you pack up your desk and hand in your notice, take the time to plan your exit strategy.

Have you created a business plan? Looked into finance? Ask yourself the hard questions – can this make money? How much will rent and equipment cost? Can you test the market first?

Side hustles are a great way to see if you can make a business work, limiting the financial risk. Perhaps it’s maternity leave, taking a sabbatical or some extended leave away from work to focus on your ideas.

Sydneysider Jessica Oliver, who left her full-time marketing job to pursue her biscuit baking business, Little Biskut, used her maternity leave to turn it into a small business plan.

“I researched products, I taught myself new skills and did a lot of test baking,” Jessica says.

“I tried to lay as much ground work as I could before making the final decision to not return to my 9-to-5. Social media was a great way to get some feedback, and it's free insight!”

You can find handy templates like this checklist to make sure you’ve covered all bases.

Do expect hard work

One in five small and medium-sized business owners work at least 60 hours a week, showing that becoming your own boss takes a big commitment. Have you considered the amount of work involved?

Hours will be long but the positives of running your own business often outweigh the negatives.

Despite the work hours being “crazy compared to a 9-to-5 job”, mother of two and cafe owner Megan Fellowes says being her own boss means her hours can be flexible.

“I can whip out during 'quiet' times or quickly pop over to my daughter’s school if needed. And for me, being in charge of my own happiness and doing something that I love all day is worth all the sacrifices.”

Of course, failure is a (costly) risk, which is why research beforehand is important. Being open-minded and resilient are also key to managing any setbacks.

And never forget why you’re doing it in the first place.

Do it for the right reasons

Research carried out by Silver Chef and Customer and Partner Experience revealed that new business owners didn’t spend enough time on the evaluation and research stage before jumping into commitment. This was more about the lack of knowing what to do than risk taking behaviour. Oliver says, ultimately, “Being passionate about what I do means sometimes it really doesn't feel like work.”

And isn’t that the dream?

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