How I Knew I Was Ready to Quit My 9-to-5 and Start a Business

These questions can help you find out if you're ready to start your own business.

You might think that when I landed my dream job at CNBC as the anchor of the only global show on the network, I would have been satisfied. It was a coveted role, to be sure. Instead, that anchor’s chair became my launch pad for so many other things.

I had a million ideas about the additional stories I wanted to cover, the series I wanted to add into our program and even new show formats to try out. I didn’t just go into that first meeting with my boss with notes — I had full-on decks, complete with interview ideas and photos. I was ready to be an innovator and take the network by storm.

There was just one problem, and he quickly reminded me of it: I wasn’t the boss. And when I walked back into the office one morning after flying back from a story I was covering in California to find HR waiting for me in his office, I knew it was game over.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

On cue, the HR lady handed me a manila envelope with the little red tie on the closure. I opened it in silence and, awkwardly, attempted to read it while they watched. Inside, I read what was the eulogy for my entrepreneurial dreams: no more traveling, no more enterprise stories, no more long-term series. Just sitting in my anchor’s chair and reading the news of the day.

I couldn’t do it. I wanted more. And that’s when I knew I was destined to start my own business. All I could think was, “I’m the boss now.”

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Are You Ready to Be Your Own Boss? 

If you think you might be ready to start your own thing, too, ask yourself these 10 questions first:

  1. Do I have the support I need? Am I in a position right now to be without extensive health insurance?
  2. Do I have one year of savings in the bank?
  3. Have I researched the field I want to go into? And have I talked to people in the field or others who have taken the leap?
  4. Have I tried to do this on the side? How’d it go?
  5. Do I have a business plan or clear pitch for the business?
  6. Have I been thinking about this nonstop, been pleased with my part-time experience and will never forgive myself if I don’t go all-in?
  7. Do I have enough contacts and items on my résumé in case I go back into the “normal” workforce? Am I keeping all of these materials updated?
  8. Have I come to terms with the idea that I will have a precarious income and not be able to budget in the way I used to?
  9. Have I stopped the pie-in-the-sky thinking and accepted the idea that I am going to fail at some point?
  10. Do I have a robust support system — even if it is one person or a mentor?
Make Your Money Work Better for You

If you answered with an enthusiastic “yes” to all of the above, then you’re looking at your own boss epiphany and it’s time to strike out on your own. If not, it’s back to the drawing board to make sure you’re financially, mentally and physically prepared to take this on full time.

You might “just know when you know” like I did when I left CNBC, but you’ll be in a much better place to succeed if you set yourself up for it first.

Next: 5 Things I Wish I Had Together Before I Started My Own Business

About the Author

Nicole Lapin

Nicole Lapin is a finance expert you don’t need a dictionary to understand. She was the youngest anchor ever at CNN and CNBC, where she anchored the only global finance show on the network, “Worldwide Exchange,” while also contributing financial reports to MSNBC and “Today.” Lapin has also served as a business anchor and special correspondent for Bloomberg Television. She is the money saving correspondent for “The Wendy Williams Show” and reports on the business of Hollywood for “The Insider.”

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