If you are thinking about it and have been for a while, then the answer is probably yes. Making the move, however, can be fraught with challenges.

In addition to the operational steps — like market research, feasibility studies and business plans there are several intangible areas to explore before venturing out. Use this guide to determine whether and when to quit and start your own business.

Temperature check

Having the right mindset is critical to success as a business owner. It requires balancing a lot of opposites:

  • big-picture thinking with an attention to detail
  • firm decision-making abilities and a flexible approach
  • strong work ethic and the ability to turn it off

Having the right temperament is important because on any given day anything can happen, especially in the early stages of a business.

Similarly, successful entrepreneurs also understand the role of physical stamina and productivity zones. Knowing the best times of day to handle manual versus mental tasks, ideal amounts of sleep, and best practices for food and caffeine are all helpful to ensuring you have the sustainable energy to run an organization.

Regardless of the type of business, running a company can take a physical toll. Thus, before going forward, take a minute to reflect on and understand your own capacity, reserves, stress triggers and what can counteract and replenish those things that drain you.


Find your why. It is critical, and there are plenty of tools out there to help you do so. Be super clear on it, and then make sure it is significant.

Business owners understand bad times are possible. Having a clear why will provide the drive to deal with rejection and crappy clients, along with last-minute emergencies and working at inopportune times. It will be the bridge between financial tough times.

Conversely, having a clear why can provide the source of inspiration, creativity and motivation. If your why is just to get out of a bad job, you will be posting your resume in no time. Make sure it is clear and sufficient.


It can be extremely helpful to get feedback about you not the idea from someone you trust. Then, compare that to feedback from someone else.

Get as much feedback as you can from people who know you well. Find out what they think are your strengths related to running a business. Where do they see challenges for you or areas for improvement? What unique qualities do they think you bring to the table?

Common themes and disparate opinions can both provide important insight.

Up-front effort

Finally, have you prepared? While it may not be necessary to create a formal business plan, it is imperative to think about each of its components before launching.

Do the work, test the idea, research the market, understand the feasibility and realistically assess the profitability. If all of this sounds boring or tedious, find a partner who thinks it is fascinating. Just realize, that finding, embracing and using this knowledge to start a business must happen. If you are not interested in doing it, find someone who is.

The bottom line: The idea of starting a business can be incredibly exciting. Use this guide to determine if your current temperament, rationale, stamina and resources are in line to support your success.