How many times have you ever wanted to walk into your workplace and tell your boss he’s fired?
I’m not talking about when you’ve had a really bad day and are acting out of anger.
I’m talking about when you’re financially stable on your own and have the ability to replace your existing income with your own business.
Over the last five years I’ve coached and mentored hundreds of aspiring Entrepreneurs that have had the opportunity to do just that. However, some are still locked into the security of a good paying job, so when is the right time to tell your boss he’s fired?
A couple of months ago I sat down to have dinner with a young Entrepreneur who had recently married and was deep in the trenches of a brand new startup. He also held a job at a large consulting firm where he pulls down a solid six-figure yearly salary.
His main question for me, “Ryan, right now all my income stems from my job… When am I going to be able to quit?”
He went on to explain his frustrations with running a startup while maintaining his secular job. Four hours a day fighting traffic during his commute, limited time with his new bride, and even more limited time to expand his business.
Unfortunately he was trapped by his job because it pays the bills. Between car and house payments he was also paying back his student loans. Not to mention the capital his startup relies on also stems from this job.
This story is all too common from Entrepreneurs. But there is a solution…
First, let’s just get very honest here… Startups suck.
After you realize that it’s not going to be all Bentleys and private jets, we can prepare to take a course of action.
Here’s what I told him:
Put Your Wife First
I explained to him that how important it was to have a support system and how you are in life is how you are in business. If your personal life is all up in the air, the chances are it’s going to greatly affect the way you run your business.
This took the young man off guard as he was expecting a much different response.
My next piece of advice:
Eliminate Your Debt
This is a toughie for a young guy just out of college making over $100,000 a year.
Unfortunately culture has taught us that as soon as we graduate and get married we need to mortgage up that new house. With that salary comes the upgraded car. The student loans will get paid as some extra is left. This only begins a vicious cycle that is going to greatly reduce the chance of you firing your boss.
I know you’re hoping your startup is going to take off and be a multi-million dollar corporation, and that is possible. But when you’re in startup mode you have to stretch every dollar.
Learn to live below your means
If you’re making $100K a year you’re also going to be paying a nice bit in taxes. I like to take that post-tax amount and split it into half. Immediately take 50% of that and just pretend you’re making $50K a year.
Yes, that means you’re going to have to drive your old car until the wheels fall off.
Yes, that means you’re probably going to have to rent a bit longer than you hoped.
OR you’re going to have to settle for the $250K condo vs. the $500K home
While this doesn’t necessary seem ideal, it’s only a temporary solution. As long as you’re gaining leverage over your debts, you are on the road to financial freedom.
You cannot even think about leaving your job for your startup unless your own personal finances are in order. Once again, how you are in your personal life, is a direct reflection of how you are in business.
After I finished explaining all of this to the young man, we were both finished with our meals.
While I could tell from his body language, he was expecting a completely different conversation, as we didn’t even get into his revenue model or how he was going to make his startup profitable.
The point I tried to get across to him and also want to get across to other aspiring Entrepreneurs, first you need to have your personal life in good working order as a “good idea” or “solid business plan” will only take you so far.
Sure, you might have the “next big thing” and I hope you do. But how can you even think about quitting your job if you’re locked into paying down debts? Unless you’re doing something super shady or win the lottery you’re not going to become a millionaire overnight.
Take this first step and then we’ll discuss the business end :).