This week I was reading Against All Odds: My Story by Chuck Norris. The story he shares about getting his karate business started reminded me of something Dan Miller is often asked to comment on during his weekly podcasts. Often someone who is working for an employer gets filled with entrepreneurial spirit and asks Dan how to get out of their job and afford their lifestyle while building their business.
They are caught in a scenario where they have a great idea and a strong business model, but not enough income from the new business to support operations or the lifestyle they are accustomed to.
What To Do
The answer Dan often gives is to not immediately quit your day job. Rather, spend your free time building up your business to the point it is making 50-100% of the income you were making through an employer. The reason for this is that as passionate as you are about building your business, there may be circumstances outside of your control that can crush your business, particularly during its infancy. Once you have business income you can count on, you can reevaluate your situation and decide if it makes sense to quit your day job and become a full time business owner.
(Dan if I am off on my summary of your advice please correct me!)
Big Dreams - Small Beginnings
In Chuck Norris' case he wanted to start a karate school once he left the Air Force after the Korean War. He was working at Northrop Aircraft as a filing clerk in 1962 and earning $320 a month. It wasn't the greatest pay, but he said it allowed him to support himself, his wife and newborn son. Rather than giving up his position as a filing clerk, he kept that job and opened his karate school as a side business. He started with 10 students each paying him $10 a month (1/3 of his day job salary).
For the next two years, he worked at Northup Aircraft 8am to 5pm and taught karate 6pm to 10pm. In one year he had grown his karate school to 30 students and had raised tuition to $15 per month, giving him $450.00 per month. He was now making well over the $320 he was earning at Northrop Aircraft. He gave it one more year and in 1964, two years after he started, he quit his day job. He now had enough students and income to become the full time karate instructor / business owner he had dreamed of.
Regardless of how many biographies you read, you will learn that just like in Norris' the vast majority of highly successful people didn't experience overnight success. You will also see that we can have and achieve anything we want. The key is a focused, unrelenting dedication to achieving the goal along with a legendary work ethic.
What About Your Dream?
In Chuck Norris' case it took him two years to break away from a job he didn't care for and earn enough money to make his passion for karate his full time vocation. Of course, that led to a lifestyle that far surpassed his wildest expectations. Now consider your own ambitions. If you start today, how long will it take you to achieve YOUR dream?