Should I Quit My Job?

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I work in an office day in and day out doing the same thing over and over again, with little prospect of moving up the corporate ladder - I'd like to start my own online business and work from home, even if it's just to set up a passive income stream.

I'm comfortable enough, but really not satisfied or happy with what I'm doing. I would like to have my own business that I can use to get more out of life... or at least get rewarded for the work that I put in.

I have a bit of cash saved up that I could use to get things off the ground, but I know almost nothing about how to build a website and run an online business.

Everywhere I look there are websites saying how easy it is to make money online, but they all seem a bit... I don't know. Flashy? Seems like a bit of a scam to me. Is it possible for an individual with no experience to succeed online? If so, how would you recommend I get started?

3 Ways to Quit a Job (and Start Your Own Business)

Depending on your appetite for risk, there are 3 primary ways you can go about quitting your job in order to start making money online (we'll talk about ways to make money from a website in just a bit).

Each option has it's own set of strengths and weaknesses that you'll need to think about in order to pick the option that's best for you.

1. Burn bridges

Quit your job and start a business

Simply put, you walk into the boss' office, hand in your resignation and walk out again; head held high. This is a great strategy if you are never planning to work there again. Or, if you absolutely know that you can find a job easily if the new business goes down in flames.

One real advantage of going all in early on is that you are able to devote all your time and energy to your new business. This is really important as it is not easy to succeed online. There's a lot of competition from lots of people who are all working hard for their slice of the pie.

The downside, of course, is that you won't have any income from your job and this means that you either have to live off savings for a finite amount of time, find investors, or take a loan and go into debt. Either way, you likely have a limited amount of time before the website MUST make money (even if it is only just enough to keep going, initially).

2. Dip your toes in

Work part time and build a business part time

Depending on what type of work you're doing, it may be possible to wangle a work-from-home arrangement or a part-time position. This means that you'll still have a bit of income to keep things going (and invest into the startup), but it also means that your time is split.

Not being able to devote all your time and energy into an online venture is a serious problem. It will be difficult to be productive enough without hiring people to help out.

If you have enough financial resources to hire people, you might be able to get things off the ground, but, of course, you'll have to spend plenty of time and effort training new employees or part-time contractors.

3. Don't rock the boat

Keep your job and build a business in your spare time

You could keep the current job and work on a site outside office hours - in the evenings and on the weekends. This option has the least risk because you are essentially maintaining your current paycheck, but starting a little online business on the side in the hope that it will generate some passive revenue - or at least something; anything.

The downside to this is that it is almost impossible to make any kind of impact without a genuine passion and investment in time and energy. But, that's not to say it is completely impossible. There are people who've done it, although they are in a vanishingly small minority, and it gets harder and harder to squeeze cash from the Web as more and more competitors pile on each day.

The upside is that there is little to no financial risk (other than the relatively small costs of creating and hosting a website) because of your continued earnings.

So you've quit. What now?

Once you've decided on the best way to leave your current job in order to seek an entrepreneurial fortune online, it's important to know where to find the best advice, resources, tools and services to make starting an online business as quick, cheap and painless as possible.

For online startups there are three primary steps you need to take to get the ball rolling. It's important to do these in the right order because it is very easy to waste a lot of time and energy on something that's already been done, or won't work (for whatever reason).

Don't make the mistake of thinking that having a website is the first step. Websites are super easy and cheap to build these days (even without any Internet or Web design experience) so they can wait until you have found and validated a great idea that plays to your strengths and has strong potential to make money.

Anyway, keep an eye on the following three business idea resources..

1. Find ideas

When browsing through these sites looking to find an idea that resonates with you, it's important to keep in mind not only what interests you, but also what is practically possible for you to undertake - given the resources (financial, physical, skills, expertise, etc) available to you.

Often, you'll find that one idea might spark another in your own mind and that new idea might be worth exploring. We wrote an article about how to come up with good business ideas that may help refine and explain this process.

Small business ideas

SME Pals has a moderated, growing list of innovative small business startup ideas
Whether it's a completely new idea, or something that has been done before but applied creatively to produce something new, you will be both inspired and entertained by our visually rich list.

Browse by idea category or share your own ideas and have them spread around the world - and maybe, just maybe, end up finding the perfect business partner or investor.

Springwise

Springwise uses a community of idea finders to discover innovations from around the world
Springwise is a veteran in the business innovation space, and they have a large established network of people finding and sharing ideas that qualify as amongst the most creative in the world.

KickStarter

Kickstarter is a crowd funding platform for startups
I love browsing kickstarter, arguably the Internet's leading crowdfunding platform, because many of the startups pitching here are really early stage - more like an idea than an established business.

Companies pitching for funding also have to make attractive and informative crowdfunding pages, that explain exactly what they do - extremely helpful for an entrepreneur on the lookout for inspiration.

2. Create a business plan

Once you've got a great idea, it's time to put it to the test. The best way to learn more about the industry and marketplace you are about to enter is to do some real research into it. Find out who the players are, who the customers are, how and where you'll fit in, what the competition is doing, and so on.

Often, putting time and effort into a good business plan can help you do everything from validating the idea, to discovering new opportunities and even better ideas.

It's also important to use a business plan template that is tailored to the needs of a small, online business startup. With that in mind, the best one around is available for free here:

Download a free business plan template

3. Get a website

If responsive Web design, HTML5, CSS3, PHP, and VPS sound like greek to you, don't panic. Over the last 5 years or so, website builders that allow anyone to design and publish their own website using graphic user tools have exploded in popularity because they make it easy to create a cutting edge site without needing to know anything technical.

Of course, you still have to know which site builder is right for your business based on what you want to do - i.e. sell products, offer a monthly subscription service, write a blog, and so on. I recommend you read the following articles before making a decision on which builder to use:

  1. How to create a website - a guide for complete beginners
  2. Top site builders matched to site type

When you're ready to get started, you can pick a step-by-step guide to help you through the process of creating a site on whichever platform you've chosen by clicking on one of the images on our create a website resource page.