When is it time to quit my job to chase my dreams? This is a question I hear very often in my interaction with people I coach and even amongst friends who come to me for counsel. There is one thing I am certain about, and it is that, most people are fascinated with the idea of starting a legacy for themselves but are oblivious of how gruesome the journey is. Entrepreneurship is a business everyone is allowed to take interest in. In fact, anyone can be successful at given the right drive and guidance.
The idea of risk has been misbranded in our time, such that it is misguiding people. To take a leap, to quit a job and chase a venture you have passion for in itself is risky simply because you do not know the outcome. Since we cannot control unforeseen challenges, it is in our power to tread with caution as we make our leap. One of those cautious steps is not to simply quit job because you have conceived a brilliant idea you are convinced will be successful. Have you thought of how you will raise capital? How sustainable is this business and can it stand after it hits a point of inflection?
Many articles and messages being these days preach about how one can truly show dedication to a new business. One of the habitual tropes is that quitting to dedicate full time to a new business shows dedication and is an evidence if passion. But is it really? When I walked away from my position in the bank over 20 years ago, I had no idea how I was going to start my business. I just knew that a few months before taking that daring step, I was restless and eager to see the concepts I had for my beauty spa come to life. I was driven to start my business and I proved my passion by leaving my passion. It took everything in me to kick-start my business. I barely had any capital to keep the business running a few months in, because the inflow of business was not as great as I had anticipated. I had no cushion to fall back on and had barely any friends and family who had the capacity to support me.
It is true that sometimes we need to leave all else and take the leap in faith. But taking the leap requires an application of wisdom if we want to come out on the greener side. We can go in for our dreams at any point in time; we simply need to be smart about our approach to it. Yes, it can be absolutely tiring to keep a regularly paying job while running your side hustle. However, it will not always be that way. When the appointed time arrives and the seeds you have sown are mature enough to stand on their own, you will know that it is time to quit
Despite the fact that it was challenging to run my new business without much support, I kept going. At some point in the business, I needed some financial funds to cushion the business. It was an unbelievable step for me to take, and till this day, I sometimes marvel at my boldness. I found people I could trust my business with while I returned to working for someone. I channeled all the benefits and profits I made from that job back to my business. Yes, sometimes the seasons will call for it. And contrary what we are being nurtured to believe, there is nothing wrong with going back to source for funds the right way. Out of all the options I had to support my business, taking a bank loan, borrowing from friends or family, selling some assets, etc., I chose to put to use some soft and hard skills I still had to generate income.
Hybrid Entrepreneurship is a model I believe many of us can go back to. In a publication by ResearchGate, hybrid entrepreneurs was expounded as individuals who engage in self-employment activity while simultaneously holding a primary job in wage work. Hybrid entrepreneurship may have positive and negative influences, but essentially, there is a healthy exposure to opportunities of learning. The publication highlights that a positive signal about performance prospects may inspire hybrids to leave wage work and enter self-employment, whereas a negative signal may induce abandonment of their self-employment activity.
It is crucial to note that not all entrepreneurs set out to take up the journey full-time. “Some enjoy a dual status of having a high-paid, secure, and prestigious job while also deriving some extra income from entrepreneurial activity that can further improve their lifestyle. It is neither good nor bad that some hybrid entrepreneurs do not have growth intentions and do not intend to switch from the hybrid entrepreneurship to full-time entrepreneurship.” – Technology Innovation Management Review, March 2017.
A critical piece of research written by Dr. Joseph Raffiee, which showed that hybrid entrepreneurs, those who work while starting a venture have a 33.3% lower chance of a hazardous exit. That is a significant number. As an entrepreneur, you have the odds of success stacked against you just by thinking about entering this field. If you can eke out any advantage or edge, it could mean the difference between success and failure. (Forbes 2018)
In a Black Enterprise publication of 2011, Felicia Joy, who was public relations specialist for the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in 2003, was not quite fulfilled in her position. She quit her job to launch a seminar company offering daylong seminars in hotel conference centers. After 6 months, the business came to a grinding halt. Joy re-entered Corporate America and decided to keep her regular paycheck as a Director of Corporate Communications at the Mirant Corp while pursuing her business–becoming what she has dubbed as a “Hybrid Entrepreneur. Since then she has been able to own and represent a diverse portfolio of companies, including Ms. CEO Media, Inc., a fast-growing media enterprise that creates actionable, inspirational content to enable women entrepreneurs to achieve their greatest potential. There have been other famous Entrepreneurs like Joy who managed to build successful business empires while working the “9-5” job. Steve Wozniak of Apple, Pierre Omidyar of eBay, and Phil Knight of Nike, practiced hybrid entrepreneurship.
Being a hybrid entrepreneur can be demanding but with intention and guidance, you can come out the top.
- Create Your Path
If you take time to do some research, you will find that there are many paths to achieve success. This is why gaining clarity for yourself and creating a path that aligns with your demands and dreams is necessary. Do not be pressured into leaving a wage paying job to start your own business if you do not feel it is the path for you. Self-clarity will reveal your capabilities and your true desires, and sometimes that path is maintaining your wage paying job while making something meaningful of your passion.
- Do What It Takes
Being able to follow through with action on your decision is the only determinant of whether you made a great decision or a poor decision. Do not get stuck at just making a choice. Be mindful that it will take dedication, extra time and effort to successfully manage both interests but do what it takes. You can seek help and support. In fact, in your journey, you will find others who believe in the same things you do. Partner with them to make it happen. Doing what it takes does not mean you should do it all by yourself. What it means is that, you must find the best, most suitable compromises that will help the growth of you and your passions.
- Do Not Stop
One day, it will become difficult to get out of bed. You will want to do absolutely nothing when it comes to your day job or your passion. That day will come, and when it does, do not stop. Do not give up. Take a break, do something to take your mind off the hustle, spend time with people you love. Then return to the board and take the next steps in your journey.
- Stay Winning
Although we may have the privilege of a support system, we must be open to making more sustainable and lasting changes. It is necessary every now and then that we redesign our lives. This will require us to look thoroughly at our lives, our routines and our relationships. There will be people and things we need to let go of to create mind-space for our new life. Making adjustments is a form of sacrifice and we should willingly accept the changes.
I am very passionate about entrepreneurship and I am equally driven to making sure that people with similar passion make well informed decisions. You can create your own model to suit who you are so you can freely pursue the things that matter to you. Although there are existing standards, they only exist to serve as a guidance for what you can do. What is important is that you create your path and do what it takes to keep winning in your entrepreneurial journey. All the best!
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017. She has also been featured on CNN.
She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org and @dzigbordi across all social media platforms.