Too many entrepreneurs yo-yo back and forth between running their business and working a full-time job. They feel pressured to go “all in” because that’s what other entrepreneurs told them to do. However, they end up in survival mode, and their savings account gets drained to pay the bills.
What if quitting your day job to focus on your business is bad advice?
If you’ve given up your day job to pursue your business but find yourself struggling to survive, it’s not a sign of failure. Research is clear: It’s better to keep your day job while starting a new business.
Research proves you should keep your day job
In 2014, two management researchers studied the decisions and outcomes made by over 6,300 entrepreneurs over a 14-year time span. Entrepreneurs who kept their day jobs were 33% more likely to succeed than those who didn’t.
The researchers said that entrepreneurs who keep their day jobs “benefit from the ability to learn about the quality, potential, and feasibility of their business idea” while they build it. In other words, having a regular source of income pays the rent and puts food on the table while you figure out how to run your business.
Starting a business without an existing source of income is like jumping off a cliff without a parachute. If you aren’t ready to jump, don’t jump.
Stop the swing and get stable
If you’re struggling to pay your bills, you need a day job. Don’t wait for your dream job, though. The faster you get into action, the sooner you’ll have a paycheck. There’s no shame in being an entrepreneur with a job. Having a job doesn’t mean you’re a bad entrepreneur; it means you’re responsible and have the guts to do whatever it takes.
Having a day job will give you confidence and peace of mind, knowing your rent, food, and other bills are taken care of. You’ll never build your business if you’re stressed out about paying rent or having your car repossessed.
Get committed to your goals
No matter what strategy you use, only intense commitment to your goal will produce results. You’ll have to do things you don’t want to do. This includes getting up early in the morning to maximize your waking hours, and ditching habits that give you an excuse to quit. Habits like quitting at the first sign of rejection, or quitting when you don’t like having to change the way you work with people.
You have to be more committed to your goals than to your habits to achieve success. To illustrate this point, consider the goal millions of people fail to achieve year after year: weight loss. It’s not complicated and there are systems that work, but old habits destroy progress.
Nutrisystem, the world’s most well-known weight loss system with a track record of success acknowledges the need for personal commitment to reach a goal: “One of the biggest mistakes that people make when dieting is reaching their goal weight and then reverting back to their old habits. Needless to say, this is exactly why so many people gain the weight right back and become yo-yo dieters.”
The system doesn’t get you results automatically – you have to create your results by changing your habits.
The same can be said of entrepreneurship. You have to be more committed to your goals than your habits if you want to be stable. To stop yo-yoing between survival mode and your business, you need a consistent source of income. For most people, that’s a day job.
We’ve all read plenty of “rags to riches” stories of entrepreneurs who made it big by starting with nothing. These stories are inspiring, but not always completely true. You don’t need to ditch your stable income and struggle, just to have a good story to tell.
Beliefs are habits, too
If you’re not sure you should keep your day job, perhaps the first habit you need to break is believing that having a day job is wrong. Keeping your day job ensures your survival and can even help you learn how to run your business.
Being in survival mode is scary. Keep your day job and spend your free time working on your business instead of stressing about money. Don’t concern yourself with the opinions of others. You don’t need to build your business in a fortnight.