I quit my job at Google to launch my own media company. Here's what entrepreneurs need planned out (and in the bank) before ditching the 9-to-5.
- Cami Galles is an artist, entrepreneur, and former sales executive.
- In 2016 she quit her job at
- Galles first saved up cash for six months of expenses and proved her business idea was viable.
"I'm leaving Google."
When I told my boss about my plans to quit in May 2016, he did a double take.
Google was considered the No. 1 company, and my promotion to senior account executive of Google's Marketing Platform was hours from being announced.
But after a decade of building someone else's dream, generating millions in sales for my employers, I knew it was time to bet on myself and launch my own digital media and entertainment company.
Although it was a scary risk, and earned me lots of side eye, I'm so glad I left Google. Today, my business is thriving and I'm proud to call myself an entrepreneur.
These days, people don't think I'm crazy for leaving a cushy corporate job. Instead, they ask me how they can quit their 9-to-5 and start their own business, too.
Before you leave your job, here are the things you really need before you change
1. Health insurance
Have a plan for health insurance before you leave your job. A health setback can crush your capital and sink your business before it starts.
Though insurance is a major worry for many people looking to leave their jobs, you can find affordable options. To continue your employer's insurance for a few months, check out the COBRA options. You can also use Marketplace, a resource to compare prices of health insurance in your state, choose a plan, and simultaneously find out if you qualify for government healthcare. Even if the enrollment window is closed, changing jobs is considered a major life event. That way you can enroll right after you leave your job and seamlessly stay insured.
2. Cash for 6 months of expenses
Don't dive into entrepreneurship without any savings. It'll cause stress, anxiety, and leave your wallet crying for mercy! Try to save at least six months' worth of cash before quitting your job. That way, you'll have a comfortable savings cushion to cover you through the first lean months of being an entrepreneur.
3. A determined mindset
Without the right mindset, all the business plans and org charts in the world won't save you. If you don't believe your business can be successful, who else is going to believe it?
There are two key traits you should strengthen before you leave your job: mental stamina and positive reinforcement.
A new venture or
To improve your mental stamina, keep an eye on your why. You should have a strong reason why you started this business. When you keep that reason in mind, it strengthens your mental resolve and keeps you pumped about your journey (even when your bank balance is less than exciting).
As your business gets off the ground, look for all the positive reinforcement you can find. That could be anything from your first sale to a like on Instagram.
To keep things positive, sometimes that means NOT talking about your business with family members who won't get it. Of course, discuss this with partners or people directly affected by your career, but the uncle who always criticizes you? He doesn't need to know. You can give him an update when you're raking in the dough.
4. Proof of possibility
Look for other people in your field who are making it
Check out your competition and study them. What works for them? What doesn't? What would you do differently? All that information will help get your idea moving forward even faster.
5. A passive or low maintenance income stream
Going from a steady salary to zero ongoing income can be tough. Try to find a passive income stream to take some of the pressure off your business. That could include:
- an investment property
- selling items on eBay
- pet sitting or dog walking
- driving Uber on weekends
If adding an income stream doesn't work, you can always cut back on expenses. Cancel memberships you don't need, consider selling your car and using public transit, or get a roommate to save on rent.
6. A quality headshot
This photo isn't just for your website. It'll be plastered all over LinkedIn, social media, your email signature, other social-media profiles, speaking opportunities, and entrepreneurial bios. If a publication wants to feature you, you don't want to send them a selfie.
Invest in a professional photo that represents your personality and business. This is your first visual introduction of your brand, so it's worth getting right.
7. Know the answer to 'So what do you do?'
You should be able to summarize the value of what you do in just a few sentences.
For example: "I'm a singer and entrepreneur who helps women and brands connect with each other through music, media, and events. That way, my clients experience enjoyment while generating revenue."
This description can change slightly based on who's asking the question. Just be sure to include the value you bring and say it with a smile. When you answer this question with confidence, that speaks volumes.
With these tips, you'll be able to say goodbye to your 9-to-5 and start your business with confidence.
Cami Galles is an ex-Google executive turned entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience spanning music, digital marketing, and real-estate investment. Learn more on her website.
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