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When to Jump from Career to Entrepreneur

tory-johnson-150x150by Tory Johnson, host of the Pennsylvania Conference for Women Spark & Hustle Small Business Boot Camp

You’re working full-time at the job you’ve always wanted, but can’t seem to shake the dream of starting your own business. How do you know when it’s time to make the leap? Start by finding your “why.”

In my sixth book, SPARK & HUSTLE: Launch and Grow Your Small Business Now, I share the post-traumatic-pink-slip syndrome I went through after being fired from the position I loved.

Even after getting another job in my field, that panicky feeling stuck with me day after day.  It was the fear of knowing my paycheck was subject to the decisions of other people—instead of completely within my control.  In a flash I realized the only way to shake it would be to start my own business—and sign my own checks.  It would be the best way to ensure that my family never had to experience the whim of a boss who no longer wanted my services.

Only when you know your “why”—the reason you’re so passionate and determined to be your own boss—will you know you have the commitment necessary to tackle all the challenges that small business ownership brings.

Next, find your “when.” Some people just up and quit. Others start their businesses on the side and keep their day jobs. There are many options in between, of course like Emily Bennington’s path:

She was a successful marketer, earning the praise of higher-ups, but she was tired of watching consultants swoop in to take the creative part of the business she craved. She spent two years working after hours on her business consulting practice before knowing she was ready to make the full-time leap.

When she attended my Spark & Hustle conference, she met other women who explained it was harder to grow a business on the side than to throw yourself into it 24/7. So, Emily dove head-first into financial freedom, and ever since, has gotten paid to pursue her passion.

Be Emily. Make the decision based on your financial situation, personal circumstances and ability to handle uncertainty.

Here’s a short checklist to get started:

____Savings to satisfy your sanity

____Child care or elder care arrangements

____Affordable health insurance

____Personal support network

____Other essentials in place based on your personal preferences


Tory Johnson is the CEO of Spark & Hustle, a weekly contributor on ABC’s Good Morning America, and a contributing editor to SUCCESS magazine.  Connect with her at