When to quit your job for your startup

If you want to make your startup your full-time career, there will come a day when you leave your job for it. But when's the right time? Too soon and you can risk cashflow difficulties - too late and you can miss opportunities.

Myles Carr and James Ivill are the founders of Little Tap, a craft beer bar and restaurant based in Tarporley. Here's there advice for knowing the right time to take things full-time.

Founder pic

How long were you working a day job whilst starting up?

We started the application process in May 2015, and completed this process in August. During this time we both worked a 70-hour week, spread over either a five or seven day week. This continued up until Christmas when we both left our positions and focused solely on the business.

How did you manage your time?

As we were both working in separate parts of the country for the majority of the week we had to allocate set time each day. This was usually around three o'clock -  we would Face Time to work out what we had both accomplished, and what was left to be done before the day was up. It incredibly important to make sure that the time was allocated to ensure the application was consistent.

When did you know it was the right time to leave your job, and was it a difficult decision?

Christmas came at a point were all the formalities were starting to be finalised, also we wanted to use this time to do "product research" with friends and family.

What were the key things you need to think about when making this decision?

The main things were to ensure you had enough money budgeted for the time leading up to opening in order to give sufficient notice, and to leave on good terms as it gives you a boost when progressing. It's difficult to balance both business and work life, so make sure when you leave you can fully immerse yourself in the business. However only you yourself will know when the time is right, so calculating the timescale is key.

How did you prepare for it?

In our situation we knew what was going into the business, and also out monthly outgoings. So we were able to forecast what we would need until opening. We always kept out employers well-informed and because of this they were very supportive.

How are you finding things now you’re working full-time on getting the business ready to open?

It's a relief and a curse at the same time. Yes, it's brilliant to be fully focused on the business - however it's frustrating when you hit little stumbling blocks as you notice the time so much more. You just want to be in there, open and working. It's incredibly exciting to finally have total control over everything. Finalising all the tiny details, planning the project and late nights arguing over salt and pepper mills no longer seem like a chore.

Any tips for startups wondering when the best time to move from employment to working full time on their business?

Ultimately the only person who knows when it's right to move full time into the business is the startup. It's a combination of time management, budget forecasting and personal circumstances. The idea of it is daunting but when you make that decision it's one the best decisions you'll make.


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