This past month was a little challenging for me, as I made the decision to part ways with the company that I’ve been connected with over the past 10 years. It was not an easy decision for me, by any means, and there are a lot of men and women there who I will miss dearly as I embark on my new journey. However, this decision had little to nothing to do with the actual company, as opposed to where I am in my life and what I think makes the most sense for me right now. Ultimately, I think it’s time for me to embark on a new chapter in my life and become an entrepreneur to fulfill my own dreams rather than others. This isn’t a decision that all people can make and is predicated on my specific situation. However, there are three things you can take into consideration to see if perhaps it’s time for you to take a leap of faith to see if you can become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Besos of the world…instead of just another person in middle management.
YOU’RE TIRED OF PLAYING “THE GAME”
Anyone who has worked in the corporate world know exactly what I’m talking about when I refer to “The Game.” It’s those times in your life when you have to make a decision to say what you believe is right or give the politically correct answer that 95% of others would. It’s those times when a company makes a decision, and you cannot understand the thought process around it nor was your opinion asked. It’s when that senior person in the company, who has the reputation of being the person “you can’t ever win with,” challenges you on something and you have to decide if you can continue to let people run over you or not. The Game is a reality of life and if you work for any company of substantial size, there is no way of getting around it. The question is are you to a point in which you feel that if you continue to play, it will hurt your sense of integrity and respect you have for yourself as a person. If the answer is YES, then it may be time to move on.
YOU THINK YOU CAN BUILD A BETTER MOUSETRAP
Before you decide to jump out and start your own business, you better have a good idea of what exactly you are going to do. Lucky for me, I’ve known I’ve wanted to create my own business since I was 12 years old and have consistently thought of different ideas of how you can do things faster/cheaper/more efficiently, etc. For this reason, I have business plan on top of business plan of things I can potentially do that I think could be a viable business strategy. Some are just incremental improvement on already existing industries and concepts, while some may be revolutionary in nature. However, like anyone who’s ever read the b-school of Design, you can’t truly know if you have a great idea or not before you test it and get feedback to ensure it’s as amazing as you think it is. This type of research can take a lot of time and energy, and if you’re working a full time job, it may be hard to do both at the same time. Therefore, if you truly feel that you have a great idea that may be a hit, then it may be time to end that 9-to-5 and embark on your own research journey to see.
YOU’RE EMOTIONALLY CONFIDENT AND FINANCIALLY READY TO TAKE A BET ON YOURSELF
This is a big one because many people don’t go into business for themselves for two reasons. 1: They don’t have enough money to float themselves if they don’t get a paycheck for some time and 2: (and this is generally the case more than the 1st) They don’t believe in themselves enough to bet on their success. Financially, I’ve been planning for this for some time now and knew that one day this would come. While I didn’t quite think it would come this soon, I’ve put myself in a position in which if I don’t get a paycheck for some time, my lifestyle really doesn’t have to change that much. That has afforded me this opportunity to focus on research and development and incubate ideas without feeling the pressure of needing immediate income to deviate me from my plan. In regards to the second reason, over the past 10 years, I have been given some of the best training and growth experiences that anyone could’ve asked for from a company and in life. I’ve grown and learned so much through my MBA education from Georgia Tech and my day to day leadership opportunities from my previous company that I have been put in special place of supreme confidence in my own abilities and decision-making. And while, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers, I know that I possess all the tools to help me identify the best answer possible.
Entrepreneurship. It’s not something you take lightly and is not for all. It takes a certain amount of courage to be willing to separate yourself from the masses and join the few who are willing to put their entire success on their own shoulders. However, if you consider the questions above and feel you can answer all three affirmatively, it may be time for you to stop betting on others and put it all on the investment that no one knows more about than you: YOURSELF.