Starting a new business can be daunting. There are many issues to consider including whether to continue in your current job. Will you stay or will you go?
There are ups and downs to either path you decide to follow. The decision on whether to drop a day job will be different for every entrepreneur –based on each one’s unique situation, timeline and goals.
During a time when you may be plunging your own capital into your new venture and possibly not earning any income for the near future it may make sense to moonlight while maintaining your current job. Ask yourself if you have the time and energy to develop your company on the side? Consider your current financial situation. How long will you be able to continue to pay your rent or mortgage while living without that reliable paycheck? Do you need to maintain health insurance or other benefits that your employer provides?
Moonlighting may allow you the chance to test the waters of a new business to decide whether it’s viable–before you quit your full-time gig.
Are there less tangible, but also crucial, benefits to maintaining your job? Often entrepreneurs start companies that are related to the fields in which they’ve spent some time or even their entire careers. Does keeping your job enable you to build industry contacts or seek advice from colleagues that you might be able to apply to your new business? Does it keep you on top of trends that will be beneficial in your new path?
Staying on your job may mean it will take longer for your company to get off the ground and longer before its profitable.
Quitting will always be an option, but getting your job back if your new business stalls or fails may not be snap.
There are downsides to continuing to work full-time while you’re launching your own business. If you’re working full-time you may not be able to devote as many hours and your undivided attention to your new business. Consider when you’ll be able work on your business. Nights and weekends will probably be the answer.
It also might be tempting to consider your company as a hobby rather than as the livelihood you want it to be.
Entrepreneurs also need to weigh what effect starting a new company on the side will have on their performance at their current jobs. Will it be hard for you to focus on your full-time post because you’re thinking about your other business? Will dividing your attention put you in jeopardy of losing that paycheck?
Even if you decide to keep your day job while pursuing your dreams, don’t despair. Research published in the Academy of Management Journal in 2013 indicated that entrepreneurs who maintained their day jobs while starting a company reduced their chance of failure by a third.
Take famed entrepreneur, Richard Branson’s advice on the topic of whether to stay or leave your day job.