The long hours, the demanding deadlines, the dreaded performance reviews. If work has become merely a chore for you, it might just be time to fire your boss.
More and more employees are taking the plunge in saying goodbye to their careers and jumping into entrepreneurship. Working for yourself and starting your own business isn’t for the faint-hearted, but with the right circumstances and the right personality, it can be a revitalizing jumpstart to your career.
Here are five signs that it’s time to fire your boss and work for yourself:
1. You aren’t satisfied at work
If just the thought of going to work every day is a drag, it’s a likely time for a change. One of the most common feelings from future entrepreneurs is that they are stuck and can’t progress in their current career paths; in essence, they could do and be so much more if it wasn’t for their current job. Being unsatisfied at work can creep into the rest of your life and cause conflict and stress. Some people hold onto lackluster positions for a variety of reasons, such as a good paycheck, friendly co-workers, or a quick commute, but if even the side benefits of your job aren’t doing it for you, you should probably fire your boss.
Some people find they aren’t satisfied with their position, but they still love the work they are doing. Many people find that they started their careers with insatiable passion for their jobs, but that drive is gone now. For example, you may work in the non-profit sector and find the work incredibly rewarding, but the nuances or requirements of your job might drag you down. Feeling passion for a cause or industry but wanting to control how you work is one of the first signs of an entrepreneur—you see what can be done and want to be involved, but you have your own ideas of how things should operate and what your schedule should look like.
2. You want more freedom
One of the main reasons entrepreneurs break away from traditional jobs is because they want to be able to control their own destiny. If you are itching to set your own schedule, make your own business decisions, and potentially have unlimited earning potential, you’re probably ready to be an entrepreneur. Owning your own company gives you total control about how, where, and when you work. Instead of being at the mercy of your boss and company, you can call the shots and be in charge. But beware—with the added rewards comes added risk—with no one holding your back, it’s up to you to make all the decisions about your future, and there often isn’t a safety net if it doesn’t work. Be sure that you are willing to pay the price for the freedom you crave.
3. You have a strong idea
The basis for every new endeavor is a great idea. Before taking the plunge from the security of a traditional job, take a good look at your idea—is it better than what is already available on the market? What need or problem is it solving? How can you stand out from the competition? It can be helpful to test your idea with market research and focus groups to validate its importance and to give you something concrete to show potential investors. Not every idea is business-worthy, so if the research doesn’t pan out in your favor, head back to the drawing board. It’s better to learn now that it won’t work than later. On the flip side, creating a business plan early can also lay the groundwork for your idea, should it quickly gain steam.
4. You have a strong support system
Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t an individual pursuit, although most entrepreneurs tend to like to work alone and be self-motivated. To be successful, you need strong support, both professionally and personally. In fact, new entrepreneurs who have even one person in their corner tend to be more successful. Find a friend, mentor, professor, or relative to be your support system as you take the big risk to jump into entrepreneurship. They’ll be the one to serve as your sounding board, provide emotional or monetary support, and to be by your side the entire way. Your support person doesn’t necessarily have to become your business partner, but they can be a great resource.
5. You have a back-up plan
There’s something to be said for charging full-steam ahead into a new endeavor, but you also need to face the facts and realize that the majority of new ventures fail. If you fail, you’ll be in good company—even Oprah Winfrey was famously fired from her first job in television. Before setting out on your own, think through what your other plan would be so that you have something to fall back on, whether that is another idea or going in with another entrepreneur to potentially save your company. With a back-up plan, you won’t be afraid to fail.
If it’s time to leave the comfort of your traditional job for the greener pastures of entrepreneurship, be sure to do your research and think your decision through. If you’re ready to make a move, enjoy the uncertainty and great fulfillment that can come from being your own boss, go ahead!