“Quit your job to start a business.”
This is such bad advice that I hear all the time given to would-be aspiring entrepreneurs.
Let me just put this to bed.
You don’t quit a job to start a business, and I’m going to tell you why this doesn’t make any sense for so many reasons.
So you have 168 hours in a week you work for a company. Let’s say you have an hour per day there and back to drive.
You have 23 hours in the week left over to start a business. If you can’t start a business in 120-something hours you were not going to start one successfully with 168 hours. Because I can tell you one thing about great entrepreneurs: they manage their time exceptionally well.
So this idea that the only way you could start a business is to quit your job doesn’t make any sense.
The only way this doesn’t apply is if you are sleeping on the couch of your friend’s apartment or living in your parents’ basement and you have no responsibility. McDonald’s will find a way to go on without yo.
Let me share with you my personal story because I have yet to specifically quit a business that day to start a business that I wanted to start the next day. There was always an overlap.
I moved to Virginia to start a direct mail magazine. It’s a publishing business.
It wasn’t in this area at the time. I had heard that three other publishers had tried to do it but each of them had failed. I had advertised in this magazine with a business that I had in another state but at the time, the city I was moving into, Charlottesville, was in Money Magazine. It was voted the number one city in America to live two out of three years. We just had a newborn baby and it seemed like the perfect place to move to start a family. Great area, just unbelievably beautiful area.
The Rock lives around here. Dwayne Johnson actually worked out the gym I used to work out at. He’s actually bigger than what you think. You think you’re going to meet somebody and they’re not going to be as big in-person. He’s just as big in person. I bumped into him at the water fountain. He had on headphones and a notebook like four inches thick to track his workout. So that’s another subject.
Just tell you. The city I live in is absolutely gorgeous.
So I move here and I need to get a job because I want to start this business but…based on this myth, I should have just moved here and started my business.
The problem is, I don’t know if you realize this, but kids have to be fed. I had to make money.
If you go home and you say, Honey, I got this great idea, I’m going to quit my job tomorrow and start this business…it may not go over as well.
So I moved to Charlottesville and I gotta get a job, so I start research and selling cars. When I liked about it is people come to you. I didn’t have to go out and prospect or any of that. I did my homework and I found that people do not buy cars during the day. Typically they buy their cars on Saturdays or in the evening after they got off work.
When I interviewed I negotiated a crazy deal that they somehow agreed to, that I would come to work at 3 P-M, and when I sold the car I could go home. They told me I did not have to come to the Friday early morning staff meeting. They would just go over that information with me when I came in. I agreed to work all day on Saturdays and I told him I never needed a Saturday off. And why did I do that?
Because I heard 80% of the cars are sold on Saturday, so I got rid of all the hours where I knew people didn’t buy cars. I got a job at a dealership when I’d never sold cars. Don’t know anything about cars, never even changed the oil in a car before, but I owned a Honda. So I get a job at a Honda dealership and become their top salesperson.
I had never sold cars before. My first paycheck was $5,138.
I got a job to start a business. I didn’t quit a job, I got a job. Why? Because there’s 168 hours in a week.
Negotiate Your Schedule
I negotiated a good schedule and I basically allowed my employer to be my number one investor. They didn’t know or think about it like that but in my view, I let them pay my living expenses and health insurance.
Allow your employer to be your investor. Do like I did. Broker a better work schedule. Just ask your employer, if you can adjust your hours. Maybe work would possibly work at home one day. It doesn’t mean that you rip your employer off. It means you do what they’re paying you to do, but you work a schedule that gives you some freedom to start your business.
I worked on my business from the time I got up in the morning, went to work at 3pm, sold a card by 6pm, and home by 7pm. They never expected me to sell a car every day. Well, I pretty much did.
Become a Contractor for Your Employer
Define the job description, what they’re paying you and offered and do it under a contractual relationship where you just basically deliver exactly what it is they want.
There’s a lot of jobs where you don’t have to go to the actual place of employment to do your job, so maybe you negotiate that. Become a contractor for that. You just change your working relationship and get paid for results and not hours.
Allow your employer to be your investor let them pay your paycheck.
I would tell you to hire yourself last anyway in a start-up. Hire talented people before yourself. Hire people that can help you grow sales. I’m typically always the last person hired in the start-up phase because I want to bring on more talent.
Then I used the magazine business to support myself while I created my next business.
When I moved to Charlottesville, I couldn’t get anything fixed.
So another start-up I created was within the home renovation industry. I started this business and it absolutely takes off. Now, I could have paid myself but I had the publishing business at the time. I took what could have been my salary and hired a person who was familiar with construction and had a 20-year background and a contractor’s license.
Keep the Job You Love
I kept my job, brought this person on, and hired myself last in the startup phase. It was probably three years into it is before I started paying myself. I just kept amassing talent.
Keep the job you love, if you love it. What if you’re a teacher, a coach, policeman, or fireman. I had a business partner who was a golf pro. You can do both.
Keeping your job allows you to work on your business and not in it. You can’t be there every hour. You don’t have a business where you’re everything flows through you, which is a bad business model. I want to sit above my business look down on it, making sure it runs properly. Create systems, recruit, retain talented people, but I don’t want to be in the intricacies of it. Why? Because I want to start another business. I don’t want any business to be dependent on me so I amass talent.
If you don’t hire yourself first, eventually you’re going to be the highest-paid person if you’re the founder. I was able to hire two and three people for what I could have paid myself. I amassed incredible talent initially and allowed my businesses to grow and grow and I hired myself last.
This idea that you need to quit your day job is just absolute rubbish.
Do not quit your day job. Keep it, start your business, hire yourself last.