Before quitting your job to be an entrepreneur

When you ask a successful entrepreneur the story of their success, typically somewherin that story they quit their job in order to pursue their business idea. It’s often a part of the story that gets glazed over, but as many aspiring entrepreneur would know it really is a pivotal move. It’s not so easy to quit a job especially if you are dependent on the income from said job. As someone who is more conservative with money (as most accountants are), I would advise on taking some preparation steps before making the jump to be a full-time entrepreneur.

Consider pursuing the business idea as a side gig

Some business ideas can be pursued as a side gig until it grows large enough to pursue full-time. This is a good way to test the waters and see if the business idea is a viable one that can also support you financially. And let’s be honest, some business ideas are just not going to work out so this is a good way to get a little taste of entrepreneurship with less risk.

Being a bit of a serial entrepreneur myself, I had several side gigs including selling soaps on Etsy, starting a tutoring business while in University and starting a Shopify store based on the basic drop-shipping model. These were all fun and each experience has shaped me as the entrepreneur that I am today.

Freelancing or contracting while starting a business

Freelancing and contracting offers an excellent way of making some side income while the business is growing. When I first quit my job, I was lucky to be contacted by an agency who wanted to hire me on a short-term basis to contract for a bank. Freelancing nowadays can be entirely done virtually and from home. I used upwork.com and freelancer.com to look for contracts. If you’re lucky, you can even convince your old employer to keep you on an as-needed basis.

Going all-in

As my friend and mentor, Yanky Li from Openhouse.ai believes, a truly good business idea deserves 100% dedication. So if you’ve decided to dedicate yourself to your business idea congratulations, now you need to keep close watch on how long you can survive while making little to no income. And if you cannot survive with little to no income, then I recommend seriously reconsidering this option.

Personally, when I started to realize the lifestyle change I had to undergo I had to make some quick and fast decisions. It wasn’t an easy task to go from a senior software consultant salary to no salary. I first considered what was important to me (my business, my family), and cut out some unnecessary costs.

  • I cooked more at home and started going to Chinatown for some really cheap meats and fresh fruits. I can cook dinner for a whole week for under $30. I also froze meals for later consumption. I also cut back significantly on ordering food deliveries.
  • I picked events to go to that offered free food, which saves me from paying for an extra meal. The events doubled as a means to grow my network. With very little exceptions, I declined to go to paid events.
  • I stopped buying clothes and make-up almost entirely, which wasn’t so difficult since I often worked from home. Surprisingly, for the first time in my life, I felt content with my existing wardrobe.
  • Getting coffee and meeting for coffee was purposeful, but I actually stopped going for a routine drink at coffee shops.
  • I wasn’t willing to go to a cheaper hair salon, but instead I grew my hair long and reduced the frequency of needing a haircut. I stopped getting routine procedures like getting my nails and eyelashes done. I learned how to wax at home.
  • I’ve not gone on a vacation since I started my business.

5 Lessons that I’ve learned in my first year of starting a cloud accounting firm

It has been several months since I’ve last blogged and I have a good excuse for that. I’ve been busy! Like any entrepreneur trying to make their vision come to fruition, the first year of building a business is just immensely challenging. I’ve been busy learning some really critical lessons in my industry and as a new business owner of a cloud accounting firm.

Documenting the process of becoming the president of a cloud accounting firm was something that I’ve wanted to do, but in this first year this process took precedence to the actual documenting. Moving forward, I will be blogging regularly and sharing my journey through various mediums including this blog. I have also been sharing this journey through social media, Twitter and Instagram @fintcloud .

Here are some critical lessons that I’ve learned in my first year of starting a cloud accounting firm, which I plan to elaborate on in more details in future blog posts.

#5 Partnering with the right people

Networking and meeting new business contacts can be really exciting, but sometimes some skepticism is warranted. I’ve learned that treading carefully is a good idea, and doing some background research on those you partner is worthwhile. It’s kind of like checking out a Yelp review before trying a restaurant.

#4 Managing growth

When I first started the business, I was super gung-ho for new clients and growth. I realized that I really had to pull back on business development in order to for me to first build the operations in a way that was sustainable. It’s a good problem to have.

#3 Having the right software stack

There was a bit of tinkering to figure out the best software stack for my company. Keeping an open mind and staying flexible really helped here. I plan to blog more in future about the cloud applications my company uses on a daily basis.

#2 Taking on the right clients

When I first started the business, I wasn’t choosy about the clients that I took on. As long as they knew how to use e-mail, it was a green light. I really had to take a step back from that to redefine my ideal client. This is still a work in progress, but long story short, we had to let go a few clients who were not a good fit. Letting go the wrong client can have a positive impact on profitability, resource availability and staff morale.

#1 Hiring the right way

When I hired my first employee for Fint, I was very naive in thinking that anyone can learn anything. This isn’t true, and that’s a hard fact. Motivation, drive, ambition, discipline are just a few factors that go into determining whether someone can do the job. When hiring employees, contractors or even interns, it is so important to do this the right way, consciously. Not everyone can do the job. I will most definitely go into more details about my learning on hiring in a future blog post.

Your Start Up and E-Commerce Accountant

Jenny Tran, CPA, CMA

@fintcloud