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If you’re thinking about leaving a stable job to start your own business, you likely already know that there are considerable risks involved. Of course, the risks are often worth the reward of pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams. While having confidence in your idea and your ability to bring it to life is essential, it’s also important to set yourself up for success. 

That’s why we asked the members of Forbes Coaches Council to tell us about the most important things professionals should consider doing before making the leap into full-time entrepreneurship. Here are 14 steps you can take to better prepare to start a business before quitting your current job.

1. Bootstrap Your First Year

I encourage budding entrepreneurs to bootstrap for the first year, if possible. This gives them the financial flexibility to weather the ups and downs of the market. Most companies don’t make a profit the first year, and they will learn within that first year if they truly love owning a business. – Michael Quinn, HireMilitary

2. Take Baby Steps

Start today! If you want to start a new business, you don’t need to make a dramatic change all at once. If it’s possible, start little by little. When you have the basics covered, take the next step. A new business will require a good state of mind, motivation, vitality and focus. It will also demand a lot of time. Taking baby steps will allow you to enjoy the process and learn along the way. – Michelle de Matheu, The Mind, Body & Soul Stylist

3. Be Careful Of Falling In Love With Your Own Ideas

What you think is novel and innovative may not disrupt the market as you expect it to. The cold-hearted truth is that nobody cares until you tell them how you are solving their problem better, faster and more creatively for less money. – Kirsten Garbini, Dineo Pact (Pty) Ltd

4. Start Your Business On The Side

My uncle, a serial entrepreneur, gave me the best advice when I was considering a new career. He said, “The days of having one job are over.” Starting a new job does not have to be linear. However possible, consider ways to start the new business without leaving the old one. It may take a bit of effort, but you could find a proof of concept before leaving the security of a current job. – Christian Buck, Christian Buck Consulting

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

5. Test The Thickness Of Your Skin

I would test the thickness of your skin when it comes to the sales process. In starting your own business, you must generate revenue. Many professionals don’t have sales experience or, more importantly, don’t enjoy the idea of sales. You will hear “no” many times along the way. Ask yourself, first, how well you normally handle rejection and, second, how comfortable you are asking others to buy from you. – Pamela Schilling, Archer Career

6. Be Willing To Fail And Pivot

Business owners who succeed are those who are willing to fail. When you start a business, if you have done your research and have built your foundation, you may succeed, and you may suffer many failures. Be willing to embrace the lessons learned in failure and pivot as needed. – Janet Zaretsky, Empowered Women Enterprises, LLC dba Janet Zaretsky

7. Ask What Is Required And Identify Your Motivators

First, ask what elements, behaviors or risks are required for this move. Next, identify what your current motivators are. I don’t mean what political or religious causes you’re interested in, but rather what makes you get up and go to work every day. This can be understood with a scientific behavioral survey. Compare both findings, and your decision-making calculus will be improved. – Kevin Black, Kevin Black Consulting

8. Visualize A Positive Outcome

Being an entrepreneur is special. Its very essence is to create and bring something into manifestation that didn’t exist previously. Don’t be deterred if your idea doesn’t have widespread support. Your job is to design a solution, process or product that the general public didn’t think it needed. The world needs your brilliance. Visualize a positive outcome and make it happen. – Joel Davis Brown, Pneumos

9. Self-Audit Your Drivers And Strengths

It’s one thing to think of how something could be; experiencing it is another. While the “laptop lifestyle” sounds glamorous to many, it requires a certain personality type not only to make it work, but also to make it enjoyable. Before making the leap, take a self-audit of your drivers, strengths and energizing and draining activities. Conduct informal interviews for more insights. Then, start small. – Petra Zink, impaCCCt

10. Plan To Build Savings And Momentum

One of the key aspects of starting one’s own business is to do some good planning. Don’t just think to quit and start your venture. Build your savings to last for at least one year. In many cases, you can build some kind of base for your new business during extra time in your current job. Once you have set some kind of momentum, then you can plan to jump-start. – Avinash Anand Singh, Blue Dot Transform Consulting Pvt LTD

11. Be Ready For The Shift In Power Dynamics

Watch out. Power dynamics will completely shift. When you’re a leader in an organization, you are given respect because of your title. People listen to you. You hold the power. When you run your own business, nobody will give you the time of day unless you work hard to earn their attention. You need to sell. The customer holds the power. Be patient and humble and then enjoy the success! – Lisa Christen, Christen Coaching & Consulting LLC

12. Forecast Your Revenue

Know how your money flows. Create a revenue forecast with several options for your pricing and possible outcomes. Consider your potential business expenses while being mindful of your personal expenses as well. And work with a professional—either a financial planner or an accountant—to help you decide if you should work part-time while starting your business or leave it completely. – Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching

13. Build An Entrepreneurial Mindset

Build an entrepreneurial mindset before you go out on your own. I often tell my clients that, as an employee, you’re living in a bubble. Employee life is very different from entrepreneurial life, and if you’re not prepared for the reality of this, you’ll internalize challenges and setbacks in a detrimental way. It’s best to prepare yourself for what this life means for you before leaving your job. – Carol Parker Walsh, Carol Parker Walsh Consulting, LLC

14. Don’t Let Fear Stop You

Do not let fear get in your way. Fear keeps most from pursuing their dreams or moving forward. Whether it is fear of what others will think or fear of failure, its tight grip can keep you from moving forward. Starting your own business can be one of the most gratifying things, but we have let society teach us that it’s too difficult. Fear will keep you from becoming your best self! – Melissa King, MELISSAKING


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