After 17 years working for an asshole boss, my 38 year old wife, who worked her way up from an inspector to the President of the company ended up quitting one day because she “suddenly” had a yen to start her own business. She never really told me she had this desire, but she at one time thought she’d be able to buy the business from her aging boss which ended up falling through for other reasons because the bank valued his assets at half the cost he thought he could sell,it for and, therefore, comfortable retire (aside: lesson on that don’t run all your extravagant pedrsonal expenses through your business). She was perfectly capable of doing so but she was fearful and I think she was somewhat relieved. In all business deal he was very wary and litigious and she had signed a non-compete contract with him long, long ago.
Several years later she someone at a trade show who sold her on the idea that “fear was conditioned into her” and that “opportunities are what you make them if you only have unwavering conviction.” Real “The Secret” kind of stuff; “if you will it, it will be…” After several sessions and several thousands of dollars, she decided, with their emotional support that cost $120/hr that straight up quitting her job and starting a new on from scratch. Without warning she met with him and tendered her resignation based more on her new-found feeling of “taking the leap” and finance it with retirement money. After all, most success stories had done the same thing — or so they told her. You hear about those guys who bet on themselves with the retirement and life savings, but never the ones, the vast majority that do so and fail in the first year or linger on for several years, never setting the world on fire, before packing it in.
The former was her. With my help and business savy we started a company. We agreed she’d be the CEO and I the COO handling different facets. The company struggled for identity. We had a lot to offer, but which made the most sense to focus on? Her boss, feeling slighted and betrayed (a pure narcissist), also ended up trying to sue us as well despite being different enough from his business. Apparently the “legal” advise the self-help group gave her about quitting negating her non-compete contract ended up being false. We avoided being sued and won the right to do business, but his tactic was effective and the legal costs destroyed our financial cushion.
The business struggled in the first 2 years and there was no profits. However, after 9 months of this she declared she she wasn’t cut out to be an entrepreneur and found another job. I remained as the sole operator in the company and after 5 years it now turns a decent profit. Five years is roughly 10,000 hours of time put in. During that time I worked for others in various capacities to make ends meet. The point is, it’s a process. It’s not a “eureka moment.” Start your business, but don’t quit your day job until it can support you for the year. In my experience, it’s like raising a toddler. You have put serious work in at first before you can take some time off or pay for that fancy new car. “Overnight success” is the new post-Great Depression Era fairly tales. The American Dream was founded on the principles of hard work and imagination being rewarded. THAT is what a success story is made of.