Regularly daydream about escaping your monotonous 9 to 5 to pursue a business idea you're passionate about? It's time to start making moves to become an entrepreneur.
The idea of entrepreneurship is enticing: An opportunity to turn your dream into your full-time job, assume autonomy and ownership in your career and make lots of money — if you're successful, that is.
After all, taking the leap from a steady paycheck to being a founder is a big risk that should only be taken under two conditions: A) you have enough money saved up to be comfortable for a while and 1) you're passionate about your idea and confident in your business plan. Confused? Both are equally important: hence the "A" and "1" ranking.
If you're looking for inspiration and guidance to making your founder dream a reality, we've got you — and by we, we mean dozens of entrepreneurs who've shared their secrets to success.
Here is definitive advice on entrepreneurship and starting a small business: from what it takes, to what industries are ripe, to when to quit your job.
Tip No 1: Find out what it takes
In the name of tough love, here's a hard truth: About half of small businesses do not make it to their fourth year.
More than 70% of those fail because of incompetence or errors arising from a lack of management experience: mistakes like expanding too quickly, for example. If you want to beat the crowd, you'll need some guidance. A lot of business tips cost cash money, but good advice can be free — and the best kind is from those who have been there.
Tip No 2: Know the market
We looked at businesses that soared and failed, and listened to serial entrepreneurs about what they wish they had known when they were starting up. Here are their secrets.
Feeling unsure? This encouraging fact may help seal the deal: now is the best time to start a business in years. The rate of new entrepreneurs in the U.S. increased by 15% from 2014 to 2016, according to the Kauffman Foundation, although it is still below pre-recession levels. "After a long Great Recession hangover, entrepreneurship is finally rebounding in the United States," the nonprofit's 2017 State of Entrepreneurship report says.
Tip No 3: Get going
You know companies aren't just built on dreams, but on actions as well — and not just action for the sake of action. It takes innovative, efficient and creative action to stand out in the saturated world of startups.
Make sure to learn these seven smart moves that successful side-hustlers-turned-startup-CEOs tend to make. Then plan your next move!
Tip No 4: Know when to quit your job
Before taking the big leap from 9 to 5, be sure to have a solid plan for paying your bills after you jump. To pile on the cliches, the end goal is to ride off into the sunset, but you can't do that if you don't plan ahead — especially because new businesses often take a while to turn a profit, and may also require additional unexpected startup costs.
The risk is scary, but with the right financial and personal resources lined up, it could be well worth it.