You Need To Commit To The Entrepreneurial Jump

You Need To Commit To The Entrepreneurial Jump


You’re screwing your employer by stealing time from her, and you’re screwing yourself by not giving your start-up the best odds of success. Rather be monogamous.

Ready to Launch?

However, before you quit your job, make sure you have two years of run-way, and make sure your spouse is on board. Ignore your Excel forecasts. Your start-up won’t be capable of funding your lifestyle, school fees and mortgage.

You need enough cash in the bank and, more importantly, you need low personal overheads. Overheads kill. Driving a fancy car? Sell it. Get a skedonk for under R100 000. It’s cheaper on petrol, insurance, speeding fines, and you’re not a target for hijacking.

Own a fancy house? Sell it. Rent the place you live in. If you do the math, you’ll find that in most suburbs in South Africa it’s three times cheaper to rent than to own.

Related: 3 Brilliant Books To Help You Launch Your Business

Kids at private school? No decent government schools around? Move. Nowadays, with cheap flights and fast broadband you can run your business from anywhere. There are great government schools in towns such as Port Elizabeth, Durban, Bloemfontein and George. Paying R1 000 per month on school fees is a lot easier than R10 000 per month. Also, when your kids go to government school, your skedonk will attract fewer looks of pity.

Running with a fast crowd? Change your friends. Mates that drink Johnny Blue, drive Porsches and go on annual ski holidays to Verbier are a drag on your bank account. Get your personal overheads down. It extends your runway. The longer your runway, the better your odds of success.

Consult Your Spouse

Next, make sure your spouse is 100% in. He or she must be comfortable with the financial risk you’re taking, and the time commitment you’re making. A start-up requires your focus 24/7.

There are no more guaranteed annual family holidays, weekends off, or stress-free payroll days. When it’s your business, everything else comes second. Being an entrepreneur means working harder than most people will ever work so that you can have the financial freedom that most people will never have.

Your spouse will have to pick up the slack on the home front. Maybe your spouse married you for your trust fund or your earning potential. Maybe your dreams come second to their financial security. Maybe they didn’t sign up for the simple life. Sorry for you, you married the wrong person. The good news is that you now know and can get divorced. Better sooner than later. Keep moving till you find the right person.

Okay, you have enough runway and your spouse is all-in. Now… quit your job. Walk into your boss’s office, plonk yourself in front of his desk, and say: “You can take my job and shove it!”

I’m joking. Don’t do that. Life is long and most start-ups fail. Odds are you’ll be back to ask for your job again, or at the very least, you’ll be trying to sell something to your old boss. Don’t burn the bridge. Do everything you can to keep the relationship sweet, except for agreeing to work part-time.

Related: 10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!

Ignore the Haters

One of the unexpected consequences of quitting your job to start a business is that you become an office celebrity. People will begin to treat you like Jack Ma (founder of the Alibaba Group). Everyone wants to be Jack, but everyone also kind of suspects Jack is insane.

To your face, colleagues will express their admiration for your courage, behind your back the same people will smirk and start a betting pool on how long it takes before you come back grovelling for your job. And so starts one of the most important lessons of being an entrepreneur: It doesn’t matter what people think.

It only matters that you deliver the goods. You may fail, you may succeed, what is guaranteed is that some people will badmouth you.

Related: How Billion Rand Business USN Was Launched From a Small Kitchen

Dogs always bark at moving cars. An entrepreneur must learn to block out the critics, focus on the job at hand. If you deliver the goods, no one cares about the bad stories. If you don’t deliver the goods, no one cares about you.

Read ‘Be A Hero’ today


Alan Knott-Craig
Alan Knott-Craig is a successful entrepreneur and best selling author. Founder of over 20 companies in the tech space, he was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2009.
  • Chris

    This is the best explanation of what it requires to start your own business. Probably the best motivator that Alan did not mention to kickstart your business is being made redundant or being retrenched. Here there is no going back. However you really need to be in the Entrepreneural frame of mind before this happens. All the rest is true, If you do not want to sell your home use part of it as your offices and use the rest a collateral for accounts loans etc. you will need everything you can get your hands on.