written by Samuel Kwame Boadu
As Africa especially Ghana becomes more digitized as we here news of digitalization and access to the internet is something we all enjoy though very expensive in Ghana as at now, more and more graduates and those working under companies want to quit their day jobs to start their own businesses. The word “entrepreneur” is thrown around a lot these days especially the unemployed, with many people seeing it as a means to enjoy a whole new level of professional, financial and personal freedom.
It is not difficult to see why, either. Having the ability do what you love, when you want and on your own terms is certainly attractive, especially when you could potentially build it into a sizeable income. Don’t be too quick, however, to stop your day job to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams. Many of today’s best-known entrepreneurs consider doing so to be reckless and unnecessary.
Further, there is a lot involved in transitioning from being an employee to becoming your own boss than you may realize. Changing your mindset, your thinking, your ways and actions from that of an employee to an entrepreneur is a major key to successfully bridging that divide. If you operate with the mindset of an employee — a person who is used to working for others and being paid by them — you will almost certainly fail. When you work for other brands and institutions, you do what they tell you to do. As an entrepreneur, you decide what the next best step is, and you execute that step in your day-to-day actions. The latter requires both a significant mindset shift and major discipline(a character that must be developed).
At the same time, in our rapidly changing economy, you would almost be doing yourself a disservice not to start a business as most people call it sideline business. But, how can you do so while working full-time?
If you’re willing to sacrifice much of your free time now to reap the rewards later, to me you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur. Often called the “hybrid path” to entrepreneurship, many successful entrepreneurs started their business while still being employed full-time. This is something most won’t tell you because they project their brand more than where they work.
Research has shown that those who kept their day jobs while starting their businesses were 40 to 50 percent more likely to be successful than their risk-taking counterparts who quit immediately to start a business. Leveraging your full-time job in the early days of your business, allows you to build on firmer financial ground, increasing the likelihood that your enterprise will last and thrive through the initial stages. In addition, being entrepreneurial within your existing job allows you to build the necessary skills and traits you will need as you transition from your employee to entrepreneurial role.
Being impatient and chasing short-term gratification or hype just to proof to friends you doing well by quitting your job and going all-in, is risky and often ill-advised. Building slowly and steadily for the long-term is often the wisest course of action.
Still, with all that being said, the time couldn’t be more right to start your own business and become self-sufficient. Unlike in years past, having a job no longer guarantees financial security.
Rapid developments in technology and the ever-increasing digitization in Ghana puts creative and business-building tools in the hands of everyone. Whether you have skills to market or a great idea for a product, you too could be the next Dangote or Tony Elumelu
Though the thought of running your own business, spending your days working on something you’re passionate about, and choosing how and where you spend your time is enticing, realize there are days if not years of sleepless nights, cash flow shortfalls and mindset hurdles between you and your destination.
By building your business while working full- or part-time, you will have the cash flow in the short term to get your start up off the ground. Once your business or start up begins bringing in an income which rivals that of your day job, then and only then should you consider whether to pursue it full-time.
Building a business is not for the faint of heart. But, if you’re willing to work crazy hours, delay gratification and learn from your failures, you can build both a business and life like few others. After all, “Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream.”