Don’t make the leap without thinking about these 3 key considerations.
Context: A Golden Opportunity?
The world after the Pandemic and "great resignation" is not what it used to be. Even while the service sector continues to command strong demand for labor, the dust is still settling in tech; gone are the days when joining a big firm guaranteed stability. Even these giants are now grappling with the rapid changes and unpredictability of today's marketplace.
Amid the uncertainty and volatility in the labor market for knowledge workers, there is a silver lining: for those brimming with insight and innovative ideas that could generate strong revenue, now is an opportune moment to put those ideas to the test. US startups still raised nearly $28 BN last quarter, despite a major slowdown in venture capital. Most importantly, even while angel and seed funding activity is down, the median deal size is up, according to Pitchbook (“Q1 2023 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor”), demonstrating that market appetite for new and disruptive solutions remains strong. Venture firms still need to deploy capital to earn their fees, and entrepreneurs with validated ideas and clear revenue trajectories are the most likely to capture funding from investors.
Navigating the waves: When to make a pivot
No career is a straight line; most professionals experience waves of satisfaction and face multiple points for reflection and potential pivot [Figure 1.0]. As you surf the waves of your careers, it’s helpful to seize upon those moments of reflection and explore opportunities to either double down on your current path or make a career pivot. It can be challenging, when one is in a plateau or even a career trough to see over the next hill, but an honest assessment can help you decide how to accelerate or redirect your career, and lift your overall professional satisfaction. Below are the 3 key points you should consider before making the move to start your own business.
1. The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: What is your optimization framework?
Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. It's essential to introspect and ask yourself, "What am I truly seeking?" If it’s the allure of a consistent paycheck, the path of entrepreneurship may not be for you. Do you work hard but want flexibility in your working hours? Do you yearn for the opportunity to not just earn a wage, but to build your own wealth? Are you willing and able to maintain the energy needed to overcome adversity and work toward big ambitions? These are the allure of a successful venture.
A successful venture is one that generates revenue and profit. If your values, interests, and efforts align on a concept that holds clear meaning and value for others–something that people are willing to pay for–then entrepreneurship may be viable for you. Take time to document your motivations and weigh them against your professional experiences: how do your wants/needs/values line up with what you’ve experienced so far in your career? Do you need to make a change? Ultimately, the question that every potential entrepreneur should ask themselves is not, “Should I do this?,” but rather, "Is my concept something that I MUST pursue? Will I be left with a lifetime of 'what ifs' if I don’t take the leap?"
2. The Network Challenge: Do you have the right support system?
Launching a new venture can be lonely and exhausting. Do you have the right support system? Have you convened an informal “board” of advisors with whom you can test ideas, talk strategy, and vent about concerns and frustrations? It can be hard to find people who understand the situation and can balance the optimism of the entrepreneur with the incisive, critical feedback of an advisor.
As practical venture activators, the team at Fabrik Labs is dedicated to ensuring your success–whether that means advising entrepreneurs on the initial steps to pursue their passions, helping vet ideas, build on successful/tested ideas, or redirect entrepreneurs’ energies to more fruitful opportunities.
We especially love to delve into industries that scream for innovation, and we take pride in partnering with seasoned professionals and innovative trail blazers alike, leveraging both domain expertise and fearless innovation to bring about change. When aspiring entrepreneurs combine their specialized knowledge with our resources and activation methodologies, new companies sprout. This synergy can mean the difference between an idea that fades and a product that grows and scales.
3. Walking the Line: How do you make this pivot without risking your livelihood?
Making the move into starting a new business venture can be daunting. If you're debating whether to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, deciding whether to leave your current job may be the most difficult decision of all: whether to leave the sense of stability in your current job, or whether to “burn the boats” and jump into the rocky waters of a new venture.
We encourage entrepreneurs to “walk the line” and approach employment and building a new venture as a flexible, multi-point decision, as opposed to a binary one. Is there a way you can test the idea and business model while you are in your current role? Is there a way to work fewer hours in your current role, maintaining flexibility, while you begin your journey into entrepreneurism? Is fractional or contract work an option for someone with your skillset to help retain income and fund your business as you take your leap into creating your own business?
To be sure, you should read your employment contract carefully and ensure that you can own your own business on the side. Start with the intention of carving out time and space for your new venture, and seek out resources and frameworks to help you move through go/no-go evaluations at various points in your entrepreneurial journey. It can be helpful to leverage frameworks like the Lean Canvas or the tools we offer at Fabrik Labs, as well as objective perspectives of your informal “board.” Once you feel like you have validated your ideas and “kicked the tires” enough to move forward, we advise you to move forward without regret. You are ultimately responsible for your own career satisfaction, and you have the power to change the trajectory of your career path. More often than not, the effort to build your own venture will be the instructive and defining effort that will help you decide what you want–and don’t want–in your career.
There are many factors to consider as you look to move into the world of starting up your own venture. Focus intently on the reason you are making this move: what do you optimize for in starting a new venture and does this move your life toward a place of greater satisfaction? Then give yourself the chance to test your hypotheses and evolve in your career.
Want to explore entrepreneurial opportunities or test an idea yourself? Reach out to the team at Fabrik Labs to set up an initial conversation.