Taking the plunge: From working a day job to becoming your own boss

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With my background being in visual arts I have always been interested, or should I say desperate to discover, what it takes to escape the 9-5 day job and the hours people spend working for somebody else. That just ain't for me, baby, and I'll do whatever it takes to avoid it come hell or high water.

So naturally, when I saw a talk at DIBI titled "Going Solo: How to leave your job, start a business and still feed the kids" I was sold. I sat in the lecture room ready to soak up any knowledge Ted Roden threw at me. Although within the first five minutes of the talk my romanticised vision of living life as a free spirit were crushed.

Ted was honest... brutally honest in fact. To sum up his talk, leaving your job to work for yourself was going to be really bloody hard. You're more than likely going to end up working more hours than you previously did and as your own boss. In Ted's words, you're going to be a prick. You'll get no holidays and no guaranteed pension plan. Despite this, starting your own business is definitely a risk worth taking if you're willing to put in the time, stay focused and most importantly believe in what you're doing it is possible to succeed.

Below are some of the key points Ted mentioned in his talk:

  1. Founding: Before you start anything, make sure you pick the right product, (Caution: Here comes the heart-breaking bit.) Having passion doesn't pay the bills. Of course you need to be passionate about your product to succeed, but it's more important that your business is going to be financially viable. Makes sense. I'm probably most passionate about cheesy 80s chick flicks, i.e Grease 2, but nobody's going to pay me to watch them. Shame.
  2. Forget about raising money: Really?! Yep, this shocked me too. But once he explained, again it made total sense. Building an excellent product or business takes lots of time, and it is so much more worthwhile and beneficial to spend your time on this. Once you have an awesome product, the investors will be coming to you.
  3. Don't talk about your idea: Talking about it makes you less motivated according to Ted and apparently when you are talking about your business your brain tricks you into thinking you're being productive when in actual fact you're just wasting time. In short, just get on with it!
  4. Come up with a number: How much will you have to make before you can leave your day job, and when you have this number, how much will the company have to make before you can do this? Once you have 'gone solo', keep track on this number everyday.

Ted Roden's final words of advice?

Start up is not about making money and be prepared to work damn hard. Before Ted left his job to work onwww.fancyhands.com full time he worked days at the New York Times and then hours every evening on his business after his kids were asleep. And finally, "it's not about starting, it's about exiting".

So now I'm curious to know, how many of you have managed to succeed in quitting your day job and either working freelance or on your own business, and how did you get on? Any tips you're willing to share with me?

For more info on Ted: http://www.dibiconference.com/ted-roden/

Or you can find him on twitter @tedroden

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