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Do I Have To Quit My Day Job To Start A Business?

I meet a lot of people everyday and when the conversation about what I do for a living comes up, it’s often greeted with admiration then a declaration of “I don’t think I could do that – just leave my job to start a business”.

I hear that exact phrase so very often and it got me thinking how much we as people operate under black or white thinking – that life is “all or nothing” – a very common cognitive distortion. The reality is that no one just makes that decision off the whim even if it looks like that. There’s some considerable thought that goes into it and each individual’s risk appetite is very different and that has to be taken into consideration by the individual in question.

Here’s what I always respond: Why can’t you have both? Why do you think that quitting is the only way?

I left my Big 4 Auditor job to focus on business full time but I was willing to be homeless if it came to that because that’s just me. But there are also many people successfully holding up both ends. Granted, building a business requires undivided attention at some point if it’s to grow but if you just want an extra source of income initially, then you don’t have to do as much as someone who, in contrast, sees their business as generational legacy from day one. Either focus is okay as long as it’s in line with what’s important to you and complements your value.

I’ve been in business full time for 8 months and one thing I can say is that there is no one way to do start/run a business because especially in the early stages, your business is you and you don’t have one way of getting things done. Therefore, quitting a full time job to just start a business on a whim is not the only or best way.

So, if you know owning a business is one of your life goals but you’re crippled by the thought of having to to quit a full time job, here are some thoughts/journalling prompts to help you adjust your mindset:

  • Assume you already have all the resources, support and confidence needed to start your own business today – how differently do you think you would view the possibility of starting your own business?

  • Think of someone you consider a mentor or you would like them to be a mentor because you respect and admire them – how might they differently approach the idea of starting a business?

  • What other possibilities are you yet to consider when it comes to preparing yourself mentally and practically for owning your own business?

  • What do you really want that you know starting your own business might be able to give you?

Abuja, Nigeria

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