There comes a time in every entrepreneur's journey when he or she needs to ask: Should I quit my day job and do this full time? For some of them, giving up the corporate life is an easy choice, but others need to weigh the pros and cons of keeping their steady source of income and benefits.
It's hard to turn back once you make your decision, so you need to have absolute, unwavering confidence in your business before you do. Nine entrepreneurs shared how they knew it was time to leave their jobs and devote themselves to their businesses.
"Entrepreneurs are driven by a desire to create something new. As the tenth person hired at my former company, I got to enjoy the rush of helping to grow a startup into a successful enterprise. Over the course of my decade of employment, I wore many different hats that instilled within me the confidence and knowledge I needed to strike out on my own. Having identified a need in the market that I knew I was prepared and capable of solving, I was confident in my strengths and knew the right kind of team members to hire to account for my weaknesses. The experience I gained prior to starting Exabeam was invaluable, but I was feeling the urge to create something from nothing once again." – Nir Polak, co-founder of Exabeam
"In a larger corporate culture, the thrill of the chase is no longer fresh. In bigger tech companies, there are great things like stability, operational focus and working for a leading, well-known brand. However, there is an incredible amount of time spent facing internal, political issues that are not productive. The concept of creating new ideas and truly taking a risk on something is lost a bit. The day-to-day grind can be tough and in some ways can grow stale and stagnant." – John Donnelly, chief revenue officer of Attend.com
"I had my big idea for my business during the height of my sales career. I didn't just quit my six-figure job to dabble in entrepreneurship — I made a very educated decision to build a profitable company that solved a problem for millions of women. I researched the process and problem of name change, determined how big of a population experienced the problem, and then looked to see if there were any other companies providing a great solution. When I realized that it would take me years of nights and weekends to complete the research and creation of MissNowMrs.com, I knew I had to quit my job to launch the company." – Danielle Tate, founder and CEO of MissNowMrs.com
"I could see that the healthcare industry is going to transform and there are tons of opportunity for improvement everywhere. Many older healthcare technology companies have built their solutions to solve traditional challenges facing the industry, and are simply too big to change as fast as the industry is evolving. The technology itself used by traditional healthcare tech companies is at least 10 to 15 years old, which is very limiting in addressing newer challenges in the industry. Most importantly, a personal experience with my own mother's health care was the last straw that drove me to take action." – Asif Khan, founder and CEO of Caremerge
"When our revenue grew five times month-over-month in March of 2012, it prompted a serious conversation with my wife Carolyn about whether it was the right time to leave my job and devote all of our energy to Babiators. It seemed that it was likely that we would be able to start paying ourselves by the summer, but it still meant taking the risk of three to four months without income, with no guarantee of success. However, when we then heard that we were going to be featured on the 'Ellen [Degeneres] Mother's Day Special' that May, it became clear that it was an 'all hands on deck' moment that had to be seized." – Matthew Guard, co-founder of Babiators
"I was inspired by a student's sustainability project in my senior English class. I became obsessed with green chemistry, research and how to make effective personal care products from unique, natural ingredients. Every day for the next three years, after the school day ended and on weekends, I experimented with natural ingredients to develop the perfect solution. With a local customer base and positive testimonials, my students repeatedly asked when I was going to 'go for it.' Deciding it was time to jump into my own research lab and commercialize my formulas, I left the classroom to pursue my new venture." – Tawana Weicker, founder of Sweet Salvage Skincare
"My parents are both from Delaware, where Capriotti's Sandwich Shop originated in 1976, so they both had very fond memories of the sandwich shop. When our family moved to Texas, we would always stop by a Capriotti's on family vacations back to Delaware. When the opportunity came to bring the concept to Texas, I knew I had to. I wanted to bring a slice of Delaware back to Texas and pay homage to my parents." – Jennifer Burnett, franchise owner of Capriotti's Sandwich Shop
"After working for a Pizza Hut franchisee in Iowa, my current business partner and I were offered the opportunity to purchase it, which spurred us into researching franchise opportunities. After coming across Pancheros and speaking with them, we decided that it was the next logical move for us to open our own, especially since we already knew the market. I already had a solid understanding of the franchising industry, and having worked in quick service for the majority of my career, running my own franchise location and becoming my own boss was too enticing to pass up." – Dan Sacco, franchise owner of Pancheros Mexican Grill
"Leaving my job was always only a matter of time. I had learned everything I had to learn. I was bored, and I couldn't stop the rebel inside me from doing what I needed to do — follow my heart. Entrepreneurship isn't something sane people choose to do. Those of us who do it, do it because we can't help it. We may try to fight it, we may try to do something else with our lives, but if we decide that what is important is our happiness, there is no other way to go. Was my life easier at my job? Yes. Did I enjoy the fancy dinners and comfortable salaries? Yes. But there is nothing better than doing that one thing you love." – Catalina Girald, founder of Naja Lingerie