by Zoe Uwem
When starting a business, it’s important that you get it right from day one as any serious mistake can hinder your progress.
Oftentimes, you’d find successful entrepreneurs talking about things they would have done differently at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey had they know.
While it is good to learn from mistakes, it’s better to avoid them altogether. Avoiding these mistakes will not only increase your chances of succeeding but will also help facilitate your dream of becoming your own boss and travelling the world.
If you are on the verge of transitioning from a day job to the entrepreneurial life, here are 7 mistakes to avoid:
Mistake #1: Failing to Conduct a Feasibility Study on Your Business Idea
When quitting your job to start out building your own business, you might be tempted to overlook the importance of conducting a feasibility study on your business idea. You know that scenario where you want to dash out of that job and stop taking orders from a boss, right?
Feasibility study helps to tell whether your new found business idea is viable or not, so it’s important that you carry it out whether you’re rushing out of your job now or you’re planning to quit in a year.
Conducting a feasibility study doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task, though you may need to take your time to do it rightly for best results.
However, if you find it a little difficult or time-demanding, I recommend you outsource it.
Mistake #2: Not Having a Business Plan
Jumping into a business without prior planning can lead to some costly mistakes you won’t be happy to make. But unfortunately, that’s what happens with many people most times.
Feasibility studies and business plans share some similarities.
I decided to bring this up immediately after the idea of conducting a feasibility study because sometimes people do mix these two up. Just because they share some similarities doesn’t mean they are the same.
Feasibility study entails you studying to see how viable your idea is while a business plan covers everything from how much you need to start, to your marketing plan, to your break even analysis, to your exit strategy and everything in between.
Business plans are more complex than feasibility studies; however, you can turn a feasibility study into a business plan by further studying and planning on other aspects of the business and adding more information to the conducted study.
A business plan doesn’t have to be 50+ pages.
In my own case, when I was about to start my freelance writing business, I had all I wanted summarized in 3 pages and in just about 1,255 words. I called it Executive Summary. But I think the length of your business plan really depends on the type of business you want to do, or at least, on what you want.
Just like in the case of a feasibility study above, if you find it daunting to write a business plan, I recommend you outsource it, too.
Still thinking you don’t need a business plan? Here are 10 Reasons To Write a Business Plan (Even If You Think You Don’t Need One)
Mistake #3: Banging the Door at Your Employer and Colleagues
Because of one thing or the other, an employee may want to show his anger at his employer and/or colleagues by wrecking everything he could and storming out of the office lividly.
Never do that, even if you were wronged and mistreated, never do that.
You never know what role a former employer/colleague might have to play in your business in the future.
Banging the door at them will only lead to more injurious things or at least, you won’t have the boldness to contact them again if you ever need their help in the future.
For instance, when quitting a job to start up a freelance writing business, you might need either your former employer and/or colleagues later on in life, maybe for referral purposes or something. Who knows!
Mistake #4: Not Collecting Materials
Unfortunately for many, they only remember that they were supposed to collect some relevant materials after they’ve already walked out of the door.
When leaving, don’t make the mistake of going empty: honestly and openly ask for relevant materials.
Using the freelance writing business example in #3 above, if you ever wrote a material for the company and now, you’re starting up your own writing-based business, why not ask for that material and ask for the permission to use it as sample clip in your new freelance writing business?
Materials you may want to collect include:
- Reference/recommendation materials that are not proprietary to the firm
- Email addresses and phone numbers of people you may want to stay in touch with (good for lead generation)
- Performance appraisals etc.
Mistake #5: Not Planning Ahead Financially
One thing I find common with a lot of folks is not having a solid financial plan when leaving their day job behind.
They are just so full of eagerness that they jump out of a paying job into building a business but without planning out their financial future first.
You may think this isn’t important since you’re “soon” going to be making money from your new business, but here’s the thing: having some money saved up somewhere will not only ward you off from making dumb decisions like accepting low-paying gigs from clients but will also keep you from going back to your 9-to-5 day job.
So before quitting, you should have at least 6 months’ worth of savings for you to fall back to in case your new business does not quite bring in the profit as quick as expected.
This is especially vital if you’ve got bills to pay and/or a family to feed.
I’d even recommend keeping your day job while building something on the side and only going full time when you feel you can survive with just the income from the business.
Being a professional teacher, that is exactly what I am doing—keeping my day job while building a writing-based business I’ll be proud of and that’s what the next point is really about.
Mistake #6: Not Building Something First
I know a handful of wannabe webpreneurs having trouble with this—they quit their job without building their dream website first.
When this happens, procrastination may set in, thereby delaying their progress.
“Let me take a little break. I just resigned; I’ll start this next month” they’d say.
My advice is this: Don’t wait until you quit. Build something first (say a website) even while you’re still keeping your day job.
If you want to create a business website for instance, don’t wait to have enough money to pay a professional designer. There are numerous free tools, like WordPress, available online which you can take advantage of to create what you want.
Mistake #7: Waiting for the Right Time or for Family and Friends to Say “Yes”
The trouble with procrastination is that it impedes progress. When you’re supposed to be looking to go from point B to C, you haven’t even started out yet at A to B.
And a lot of time, people blame their lack of progress on “the time not being right.”
In some cases, they are waiting for the support of their family and friends.
Well, let me tell you this: You don’t really need those.
You don’t need the opinions of your family and friends because sometimes, their opinions may be all that will stop you from smelling success or achieving your goals.
All they’ll tell you is to keep a “real” job.
Say no to procrastination and start now because now is the right time. The world’s moving fast, there really isn’t too much time and so you shouldn’t waste any.
The idea of quitting a job to start a business doesn’t have to be dreadful. In fact, the whole process could be really enjoyable if done properly. And it starts with avoiding these mistakes.
Avoid these mistakes and you’ll be on your way to not only building a successful business but also to building a life that matter.
Zoe Uwem is a successful freelance writer, copywriter and content marketing strategist who is technologically clued up. He writes for and helps businesses spread the word about their products and services. Zoe owns and runs the Freelance Writing HQ, a community for freelance writers. Find Zoe on his website, ZoeUwem.com or follow him on Twitter @ZoeUwem.
Lewis Tse Pui Lung | Courtesy of Zoe Uwem