Things to expect when you quit your job to become an entrepreneur

The opportunity to pursue your dreams, have complete creative freedom and the power of being your own boss are just a few of the perks of being an entrepreneur. We spoke to a few successful small business owners who left their jobs to see if the grass is really greener. Here’s a few things you can expect when you make the plunge:

Your Family May Not Approve

Michael Le dreamed of sharing his Vietnamese family’s traditional recipes with Australia’s vibrant, multicultural food scene.  Founder of Vietnamese street food store, Great Aunty Three, Michael’s journey began with the exploration of his roots, in Can Tho, a city in southern Vietnam. 

“I went to local street vendors and ate amazing food. Some were selling it out of little carts or trolleys, some in front of shops, and the nightlife was buzzing”, he recalls. With an exquisite sensory experience dancing on his palate for a few years down the line, Michael made the decision to forfeit the stability of a 9 to 5 job in IT in favour of starting his own business. 

“I felt drained, a part of me was just not happy in that corporate environment. I felt like I was living someone else’s dream, not mine.” 

This caused tensions in the family, with Michael highlighting, “when I proposed my business idea to the family they wondered why I’d want to give up a stable job for ‘peanuts’ and something that could potentially ruin my life”. Breaking away from the stable life his immigrant family had toiled so long for was met with disapproval, but Michael’s jaded feelings gave him no other option but to pursue his passions. 

Michael’s newfound passion and the support from his mother eased the difficult transition period. “My mum was the only person who believed in me and gave up everything to give me a good life. She was the one who kept me driven to succeed”.

You Will Constantly Be Learning

Entrepreneur and vibrant personality Liz Kraelin thought a career in the industry would provide her all the knowledge she needed to start YouChews, an online marketplace for nutritious office catering.

Source: YouChews

Source: YouChews

Though her qualifications as a dietician informed her business, Liz quickly discovered that her new career path meant she had a lot to learn about the entrepreneurial world. Attending seminars, meetups and information sessions, Liz quickly developed important insights into what it would take for her business to succeed.

Source: YouChews

Source: YouChews

“I didn’t know what a startup was, and really didn’t know how to start a business. I just put into practice what I’d learnt, told people about my idea and went to local quality food vendors asking them to be my business partner.”  

Source: YouChews

Source: YouChews

Through the support of her community, Liz as able to source employees, suppliers and clients to get her business running.

Source: YouChews

Source: YouChews

“Australia just seemed so entrepreneurial to me. I started researching the market, seeing what was happening in food scene, and I found out it was so vibrant!” she exclaims, reliving the excitement.

You May Have To Keep Working For A Little Longer

Before he brought the community together, owner of Bicycle Garage Jeremy Scrivener was a practicing physiotherapist.

“I used to sit out here on the stoop, with my business partner, drinking coffee and counting passing cyclists,” he says with a grin, looking out at the bustling streets of Sydney’s Inner West suburb, Lilyfield. 

Realising the market opportunity with cycling in Sydney rising almost 200%, Jeremy was eager to chase his dream and set about opening a cycling business.

Source: Bicycle Garage

"It was the first time I really wanted to set up a business"

In order to supplement the start up costs and research time it took to build his business, Jeremy had to continue working part time.

“I visited as many Melbourne bicycle and motorcycle shops as I could over five weeks! I noticed that some of them had started incorporating cafés into the stores, and knew early on that I wanted to do the same.

“It took almost 6 months to secure a DA (Development Application) permit!” 

Source: Bicycle Garage

 

Legal battles also came with a hefty price tag, costing the business between $25-30k before it even opened, but the business has paid off and Jeremy has since worked solely on cycle Garage.

Your Passion Is Your Greatest Tool

Repressed Records liberated a dying industry by bringing vinyl records back into popularity.

Owned and run by Chris Sammut since 2002, the fully independent record store keeps its doors open to a loyal customer base looking for a retro way to enjoy their favourite musicians. 

With a rock n’ roll attitude, punk aesthetic and hardworking demeanor, Chris labelled passion as the most important part of succeeding in his business.

“We want to promote what we like and what we’re excited about,” Chris enthuses. 

“We’re genuine music fans, not entrepreneurs who’ve spotted a money-making opportunity, so everything comes from a genuine place.”

“There’s nothing worse than feeling awkward trying to sell something you don’t believe in.”

Chris tells us the key to operating a successful business is about discovering things that fit in with you brand, not following trends.“It’s about making your own scene and not depending upon distributors and other labels to push things onto you”.

Bianca Farmakis