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How to Transition from Employee to Entrepreneur, by Daniel Arroyo

Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2013-08-07

Founder Feedback gives you insights from the startup trenches. In a post on his blog, Daniel Arroyo, Co-Founder and CEO of Flaretag, shares advice on how a corporate employee can transition into being an entrepreneur. Daniel would know - he worked for 10+ years at Nokia before quitting his job and beginning the entrepreneurial journey. 

You can read the original post on his blog here, or read the excerpt below. 

To learn more about Making the Leap from Employee to Entrepreneur from people who have been there and done that, join us at an upcoming Founder Institute event.

"The purpose of this next post is two fold:

1. Are you really sure you want to be an entrepreneur?

2. Give yourself the best possible chance by preparing in advance.

The following activities are mostly risk-free (check with you employer and spouse first though) and achieve the two points stated above.

 

Moonlighting

There’s no better time to start working on your idea than now. Use weekends and nights and keep your day job or consulting gigs. Aside from the obvious benefit of trying something without having to start the “money clock”, it will test your ability to work insane hours and see if you are truly passionate about your idea.

The devil is always in the details, so the sooner you get started, the better you’ll find out if the idea (or the whole entrepreneurship thing) is for you.

 

Joining an Entrepreneurship Program

You need to start building your network, getting to know other successful entrepreneurs, and meeting like-minded people. If you have been in the corporate world for a long time, chances are most of your friends are corporate employees too. The startup community is different and you need to start appearing in their circles. Let them know you’re serious.

The best way I know for a first-time entrepreneur to effectively achieve this is to join an entrepreneurship program. I recommend The Founder Institute; they’re great and helpful, and as an added bonus, you can keep your day job while you’re part of it.

The pressure of having a day job, building you product during nights and weekends, and going through a demanding program like the Founder Institute makes you stronger and tests your persistence and time management skills -  features that you will need later as things get worse.

 

Preparing your Finances

You are making good money, right? Now it’s time to learn how to live without it. This is perhaps the hardest part of the transition.

Your goal is to put aside in a savings account all the money you make. You might not get there, but try to get as close as you can. Cut costs, learn to live on the cheap, and re-evaluate all your recurring expenses.

Once you make the decision to quit your job, the clock starts ticking and two main factors will determine your runway (available time before running out of money): Monthly expenses, and savings. There are no paychecks anymore.

Generally, the longer your runway is, the more you learn about your product and market, the more you can fail and learn, and the bigger your chances of success.

Start trimming now, don’t wait!

I hope this gives you ideas on how by the end of a 3-6 month trial period using these methods, you either know that entrepreneurship is not for you and you still have your job, or, you can take the entrepreneurial path with much more confidence, a bigger runway, and a network of people that can help."

Flaretag, a complete solution for Real Estate Mobile Marketing that allows you to create beautiful mobile pages, QR codes, sms, email and social marketing campaigns, has launched in private beta. Flaretag is a Graduate of the San Diego Founder Institute. Follow Daniel Arroyo on Twitter at @CoDanny.

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