Business Development · Strategy

At what point do you quit your day job to jump full time on your startup?

Kashif Jehangir Assistant Manager Administration at Private Company

November 29th, 2016

This is the question that’s been bothering me for months now… I started freelancing about a year ago while being full time employed. It started just as a couple of hours per day thing. Soon, I became successful and work started piling up. The day was simply too short. I started sleeping very little. In the morning I would go to my full time job dead tired. At some point I started to fall apart and I began to think about freelancing as a full time job. As a matter of fact I am still thinking about it.. But at the same time I am afraid of the uncertainty that comes with it. I just know that I can’t keep up like this much longer. Could you please help me by sharing your opinions and stories on this subject? One more thing, I live in a developing country where it is not so easy to find a decent job.

Julia Rosa Owner, Satori Online LLC

November 29th, 2016

Kashif,
First, even in developed countries, as where I am, the job market is very competitive.  And that is even harder if you don't have a degree, or years of experience and the connections to get another.

With that said...in my opinion, there are two different scenarios.
Scenario 1 - full time job, not much income coming in and just starting
Scenario 2 - full time job + a full time freelance business or other.

1 - Don't quit until you have 3-6 months of consistent hours that will sustain your lifestyle, plus 3+ months of living expenses, including business expenses.

2 - Your health is #1.  If the full time + freelance is interfering with that, start planning an exit plan. If you get sick, where are you then? Do you get paid by your job? Can you continue freelancing?  It's not worth it and WILL set you back in the end.
It sounds like you have consistent work.  Does it sustain you? If so, make your plan...maybe 2 weeks or 1 month of saving as much as you can, and then resigning.
Fear of the freelance drying up, will keep you where you are at. Fear is what stops people from taking some very worthwhile risk.  
You sound like you're in a great position to freelance, and you will have people that recommend you.  You will have the energy to market yourself.  You will have time to work in a more focused fashion and get more done in a smaller amount of time. 
So, in reality, you will gain more then your full time hours for marketing, sleep and balance.

Congratulations.  Live.  And plan as much as you can.  Keep a positive mindset and things will fall into place and direct you the way you are to go.

Good luck!

Henry Daas Coach-Approach Strategic Advisor

November 29th, 2016

I ran my first biz as a side hustle for 18 months before I quit my day job. At that point, I had done $600k top line in a low margin biz but it was enough for me to make it full time - or so I thought. First full year as a full time gig I took home 1/5 of what I made in my previous day job! Year two, they were equal, then year 3, 150% and never looked back.

Although it was 25 years ago, I DO remember 'checking out' of my day job during that 18 month period. In fact, I got a 0% raise when my review came up because mentally all my energy was on the side hustle. There's a chance I might have been shown the door had I tried to continue - we'll never know! Moral of the story is it is hard to be beholden to two masters - at some point you must choose (or others might).

Hope that helps!

Shahab Riazi Sr. Manager, Enterprise Services, SAP

November 29th, 2016

I think you will be shown the door at your full time job if you continue doing that because your performance will suffer. My suggestion is to gather up as much in reserve resources and take the plunge when you have 6 months to a year of reserve in the bank

Amr Selim Customer Success Expert | Technology Consultant | Keynote Speaker. I help businesses grow by improving CX & Performance.

November 29th, 2016

From what you are describing here, it looks like NOW is the time to do that leap! Normally once you pass the 50% mark (i.e you are making money from your business which is equal or more than 50% of your full time job's salary) There is no "one size fits all" though, everyone has different circumstances, but hearing you say "work is piled up" brings good news, it means you already have enough orders, you need to deliver them on time and with the best quality, and might be why you have to spend 100% of your time

Jade Handy Owner at State Of Mind Coaching & Training

December 1st, 2016

I left my last employment after having built another side business up over a year and a half or two. I felt I was ready when I was making more during my days off than the rest of the week, sometimes more than the rest of the month! The clincher for me was I had decided on a date several years prior to leave and by that date I was 100% confident I could more than quadruple my business income by being able to work more than quadruple the time. My wife was also pregnant with our 4th child so it wasn't a decision I made lightly, but after all a decision is a decision.