We’ve all daydreamed of it. On any given Friday afternoon at 3 p.m., you gaze out the nearest window down the long line of cubicles and wonder why you aren’t your own boss, making your own schedule, and fitting in an afternoon golf game while wowing your newest client. For most, it’s a simple pleasant thought that keeps you going throughout the workweek. But for the determined and driven few, it’s an action they question why they didn’t do it sooner.
Leaving the comfort of a cushy job is a tough decision. Over the years, you’ve slowly worked your way up the seniority ladder and your coworkers make coming into the office enjoyable. It was, however, a decision that entrepreneur Tim Gutwald has yet to regret.
The Calgarian left his job as a corporate consultant in the oil and gas industry to start his company, Midnight & Two, after he started working on it as a side project (between midnight and 2 a.m., hence the name). The startup handcrafts natural, high-performance grooming products and is most well-known for their shaving soap line.
Although the company now has a dedicated manufacturing facility producing the brand’s signature irritation-free and all-natural grooming products, Gutwald won’t soon forget the time he spent developing the line in his small apartment kitchen debating if he could make a go of it.
“I naturally think in terms of six months to one year down the road,” Gutwald told YouInc. “I have goals, and work backwards to define what needs to be done today, this week, and this month. I try not to overthink it, I just wake up in the morning and move forward.”
Midnight & Two product being developed in Gutwald’s small apartment. Source: Midnight & Two.
For over a year and a half, Gutwald grew his business significantly through word of mouth. But by early 2016, he knew he had out-grown his apartment and a decision had to be made to commit to running Midnight & Two full-time. Gutwald says it was an easy one.
“Though I really enjoyed where I was working, I was starting to get bored due to lack of challenging work,” explained Gutwald. “Midnight & Two presented a new challenge for me. The timing was just right to resign from my position and move onto trying to grow my own business.”
Midnight & Two is competing well in a new, emerging market (luxury/natural grooming products) and is adding new product releases to their offerings. Their current focus is growing their online business, as well as expanding retail reach and distribution network.
If you’re still reading this and your confidence is growing, here are a few more gentle nudges. According to Business Insider, these are the seven signs that it's time to transition from employee to entrepreneur:
You're passionate about your work, but not your job
You often feel like you need more to fulfill your day, and you’re constantly thinking of alternatives on how to accomplish tasks and different methods of finding success.
You're tired of just thinking about it
Daydreaming is making you itch and there’s a nagging feeling urging you to break out on your own. If you find yourself beginning to resent your own entrepreneurial dreams because you haven't done anything about them, then traditional employment isn’t a fit for you at this point in your life.
You want to help others
Entrepreneurs take pleasure in building a team and giving opportunities to others. If you don't want to feel responsible for the success of your team, stick with the cubicle.
You have support
It is rare that successful entrepreneurship is accomplished alone. You need someone to have your back while you're out risking everything to accomplish your goals. It can be a spouse, a parent, a committed investor, or even an educator. If you’re in the lucky situation where food, shelter, and a shoulder to cry on are available while you're trying something new, then jump on the opportunity.
You have a great idea
It takes more than the will to lead to be a successful entrepreneur. You've got to have something that will add value to what's already available in the marketplace.
You've got a plan
Your big idea must have a plan for realizing them. Base your steps on careful market research, forecasting, and financing.
Also have a backup plan
The cold hard truth is that many startup businesses fail. No matter how unstoppable your ideas may seem and how carefully you plan, you're putting yourself at risk of your venture failing. Make sure your backup plan can keep you afloat until you are able to try again with a new strategy.
The key message is not to be afraid to fail.
“Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint,” advises Gutwald. “It’s very unlikely that you are going to strike it rich (or even get to a level of sustainability) within a year, or even two (or three). I see a lot of entrepreneurs that try something for three months, then get discouraged and quit. It takes time. You need to be committed long term to truly give it a shot.”