Tips and Additional Resources

Expert Tips for Quitting Your Job and Making Your Side Project Into a Reality

First Steps to Your Business Dream

The first step is stop treating it like a side business. If you want to start something you must treat it as a such – invest in it with both time and needed resources and focus on it. When you start thinking about a "project" as a business, everything changes and great things can happen. – David Hauser, CTO and Co-Founder of Grasshopper
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. – Steve Jobs, Apple CEO
My advice is simply, JUMP! As long as your side business is a ‘side business,’ it will never become real. If you want to make it happen, you need to take a running start and jump off the cliff. – Michael Katz, Chief Penguin at Blue Penguin Development

Advice On When to Quit Your Day Job

Wait to quit your job until you have something substantial that you can grow. If you are living at home or have a spouse that makes enough money to live on, then take the risk if you feel confident that your project can go. The most important thing is to make sure your spouse is on board; otherwise having issues at home will affect your business. – Stephanie Biscow, Co-founder and COO of Black Rhino Solutions
There is no hard and fast rule for when a person can jump from one business horse to another as there is risk in everything in business life. That said, the key is to be organized and have a business plan that delineates as many variables as possible as to how you will go from A to Z. – Matthew Reischer, CEO of Legal Marketing Pages Corporation
There’s an entrepreneur right now, scared to death, making excuses, and saying, ‘It’s not the right time just yet.’ There’s no such thing as a good time. I started an apparel-manufacturing business in the tech-boom years. I mean, come on. Get out of your garage and go take a chance and start your business. – Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour
Keep your day job and try selling whatever it is you sell at night or via the web. See if there's a market. If there is, continue working it until you can reduce your day job to part-time, and hopefully later, you can quit your day job and focus full-time on your side project. – Lance Walley, Co-founder of Chargify

Getting Your Finances In Order

When it is time to turn your side project into a business, you will want to consider forming a corporation or LLC to protect your personal assets and potentially save on taxes. You will also want to open a bank account so that the corporation/business has its own bank account so as not to co-mingle funds for tax reasons. – Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation
Make sure to do your books correctly because if you don’t, it becomes a big pain later. Try to figure out what the standard business practices are for finance, legal matters, and everything else. Start these processes right away so you’re not playing catch up later. If you’re doing your books correctly from the beginning, it’s a lot easier than spending money on an accountant down the line. – Alex Hoffman, Co-founder of Dormestics
For me, the key was developing a business with low overheads and developing slowly but sustainably. – Ian Taylor, Founder of Ian Taylor Trekking
You need to beef up your cash emergency fund before you make the leap from side project to full-time business. The general rule of thumb is 3 to 6 months' worth of expenses for an emergency fund, but in leaving behind a regular paycheck you're taking on a bit more financial risk if things go south with your own venture. Aim to have a year's worth of essential expenses (like your rent and grocery money) saved. – Kali Hawlk, Founder of

Marketing a Brand New Business

Don’t rely on ‘one silver bullet’ when it comes to getting the word out. I keep a lot of irons in the fire so if one partnership doesn’t go through, or one deal turns out to have much less impact than I’d hoped, I still have plenty of other things in the works! – Kathryn Minshew, founder of the Daily Muse
Believe it or not, I built my entire business through word of mouth referrals. I genuinely love getting to know my clients and love to make them 200% happy…I am very passionate about (and completely believe in) the work that my clients are doing. This passion guides me towards amazing projects and people. – Ritika Puri, Founder of Storyhackers
When it comes to marketing a brand-new business, stick with free or very inexpensive channels that are proven to work. This means social media, email marketing campaigns with a service like MailChimp, and creating a website with a spot for your own blog. Having your own space online means you have your own platform -- so you don't need to pay to be seen on someone else's. – Kali Hawlk,

Building Relationships and Networking

Find other people that share the same side project interest. Build your support system. If your side project is making frames for comic books, you don't want to go to your MBA friend as your only support system. – Christopher S. Foltz, Founder of Social Policy Institute
My #1 tip would be use the ‘three day rule.’ If you say you will call somebody back, DO IT. Within three days. Whether you have the answer or not. – Katy Kassian, Founder of Buffalo Gals Mercantile
Have support. Make sure you have a strong support structure in place from a mentor, family, or a significant other to help you through the ups and downs. – Kaleigh Moore, Founder of Lumen

General Side Project Advice and Inspiration

My advice to someone thinking about pursuing their side project is to just start! Start your business lean to minimize upfront expenses and to test your idea with the market. For example, use a Website builder to create a website yourself instead of hiring someone to create one for you, which can be very costly and reduces your control over it. – Brooke Barbier, Founder of Ye Olde Tavern Tours
My two biggest challenges have been overcoming negative chatter on my ability to be a successful entrepreneur and evoking self-sabotaging behaviors. I've used a combination of methods and techniques over the years but the SINGLE BEST is keeping a running tally of wins (big and small) has been incredibly helpful in overcoming both. – Jacqueline Shaulis, Founder of

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