Signs You Shouldn’t Go All-In On Your Business

A decision many of us have had to make when starting a new business is whether to go all-in and invest a full-time effort into building it.

I’ve gone back and forth on this over the years. I initially thought that it was completely necessary to quit your job and go full-time on your startup in order to give it a respectable effort. I don’t think this anymore.

Before I dig into this, here’s a caveat: if you have the money and time to invest full-time into your business, you totally should. This advice is for those of us who have a lot to lose by going all-in and have to make a strategic, risk-reduced decision.

What I’ve learned about going all-in, several times now for the majority of my businesses, is that there were a couple of red flags that were presented to me that I wasn’t wise enough to recognize as red flags.

I know now that it’s entirely possible to sense a business’ viability without going all-in and risking financial comfort, your current paying job, or career.

Contrary to the mainstream narrative, stepping into entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be a go big or go home moment. You can make a safe transition to entrepreneurship without risking immediate losses by properly recognizing the red flags. Here are the red flags that your business isn’t ready yet to onboard you full-time —

Your sales can’t fund your salary.

You don’t need a ton of time and money to prove that you have a viable revenue model. If your product/service isn’t selling at the volume required to fund you as a full-time employee, you are not going to magically figure that out once you go full-time.

Going full-time in order to add extra grind and hustle to this effort doesn’t change this reality. This is what does: 1) find strategic support via sales coaching, training, or hiring a salesperson 2) audit your business model to see what’s the culprit behind sales not hitting its stride (Is it the customers you’re targeting? Lack of demand? Lackluster sales channels?)

Don’t go full-time into your business until your sales are ready to fund your full-time employment. In the meantime, get to the bottom of whether you’re missing something crucial in your sales strategy, or are in the presence of a more definitive nail in the coffin — not enough demand.

Traction is non-existent.

If your business is exciting to your audience, you are going to hit traction. If your voice isn’t exciting, traction will not happen — period. You will see people responding when you’re selling something and followers on your social platforms continuously keeping pace with what you’re doing.

If you’re building something that feels noteworthy to your customer, your customers will show you through action.

If you don’t see a group of usual suspects crowding around your marketing channels, something’s up. And it’s a sign that the engines aren’t roaring yet for the business to take off once you go full-time.

Cash flow doesn’t have a rhythm.

You can technically be a 6-figure business, but not hit that number till December 31st of the year.

What happens in the other 364 days of the year? Is your business set up to handle 364 days of zero cash flow, or are you in full anxiety and stress mode every single day?

If your cash flow doesn’t have a rhythm you can manage or build a business around, don’t go all-in until you figure out how to create a controlled sales rhythm that feels good to you.

Full-time aimlessness is likely if you jump in too early or don’t have a game plan. Before transitioning into your business full-time, make sure that your business already has significant traction and is on the brink of meaningful growth.

For more wisdom that turns your startup chase into a victory lap, get my Friday morning emails, (lovingly called The Crux) in your inbox.

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