Author:Blank, Michael

TO MAKE THE LEAP from employee to entrepreneur takes bravery and planning. We all are taught to go to school, get good grades, and then get a job. What we do not learn is how to set up our own business, and all the steps it takes to build a profitable company.

First off, recognize the "moment" you decide to be an entrepreneur, when you realize that you no longer want to work for a company in a "job." For me, it was in 2004. I had read Robert T. Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!, and that book connected so much to me that I completely changed my entire financial and professional outlook.

Another book that inspired me to take the leap to entrepreneur was Timothy Ferriss' The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich. It really opened my eyes to the possibilities that you actually can work a mere four hours a week. I thought that was fascinating.

Once the decision is made to become an entrepreneur, you need to get your emotional and financial foundation ready before you take the big leap out of the corporate world. I was very fortunate to have money in the bank from a software IPO. Most people do not have a big savings cushion, so it is best to have other things in place before giving up your day job.

You must have a strong "why" to succeed as an entrepreneur. Mine was that I really wanted more control over my time. It did not appeal to me to have to go to work. Next, you need a financial runway, which either can be savings (like I had) or income from another source. This other source could be your day job (in most cases, it is), or a spouse working, or going from full time to, say, part time.

Along with getting your emotional and financial foundation, you have to get your loved ones ready for this change. You need your support system onboard because things are going to be quite different at home.

Of course, you also have to set up a home office. You want to present a professional appearance and have a place to go in the morning. In other words, you cannot be working in your PJs. Once you have your home office set up, you need a consistent daily routine. You want to "go to work" during certain hours. As a married father of four, setting boundaries with my family is an important part of keeping the peace at home.

Your family has to understand that, when you go in your office, you are working--and not available to run errands, answer...

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