How you can make the leap from employee to entrepreneur

Do you have dreams of launching your own tech startup, but don’t even know where to begin? Well, you’re not the only one. All around the world, there are millions of people who work jobs they don’t like, while having the aspirations of starting a career in entrepreneurship.
If you have an idea for a company but haven’t put in the effort to pursue it, what is holding you back?

by Founder Institute

theDesk Leighton Centre Causeway Bay

For most people, their reluctance to start a company results from not having a solid outline that clearly defines the steps they need to take to build a business.

If you’re one of these folks, then, have no fear.  We’ve created a simple roadmap to help you turn your idea into a reality.

Determine if entrepreneurship is for you

Entrepreneurship is about more than just coming up with an idea, turning it into a product that people love, and retire by the time you’re 35. It’s a years-long career, but more than that, it’s a lifestyle choice. You have to make sure that you’re getting into the startup world for the right reasons.

Before making the leap from employee to entrepreneur, ask yourself these questions:

• Why do you want to start a company?
• What’s your definition of success?
• Are ready to handle failure?
• Are you passionate enough about your idea to devote the next 10 years to create it?

Identify your skills and interests

Everyone has a unique set of strengths and hobbies, but not all strengths and hobbies are ideal for starting just any company. Whatever idea you have should be built around your strengths and interests, as they are what you will lean on when things get tough and are what will motivate you in the long-term.

Before making the leap from employee to entrepreneur, ask yourself these questions:

• What are your strengths? These can be personal and professional.
• What are the talents and skills that you have that you think will make you the perfect entrepreneur?
• What are your interests and hobbies, and what are the pain-points for each?

Read more: How to establish a startup in Hong Kong the right way

Launch a “project” before launching a startup

If so far you’ve concluded that you’re ready to start a company, you still might be wrong. To make sure you’re mentally on the right track to launch a startup, take the initial step by first launching a project — something that is easy to put together, but at the same time is something that you’re not so committed to so that you won’t get too attached if it doesn’t go anywhere.

Before making the leap from employee to entrepreneur, ask yourself these questions:

• Is your project simple — does it solves only one problem for your target customer?
• Does your project have a clear revenue stream?
• How big is your target market? Ideal markets should have at least 10 million people.
• Is your project something that won’t take up too much of your time, money, or effort?

Conduct lots of research and get lots of feedback

A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs think that by sharing their idea with someone, it will get stolen. This isn’t true. As Adeo Ressi, co-founder and CEO of the Founder Institute says,

“Don’t worry about people stealing your idea. If it’s original, you’ll have to ram it down their throats.”

Not only is this true, but it also means that sharing your idea is a vital part of doing research and getting people’s reactions to it.

Read more: Your questions answered: The benefits and costs of co-working at theDesk

Before making the leap from employee to entrepreneur, ask yourself these questions:

• What are the trends currently happening in your target market?
• What are people’s reactions when you give them a brief description of your idea?
• Why have some other companies that tried to create something similar to your idea failed?
• Based on feedback, how well does your idea solve a problem?

Are you ready to start a company?

So you’ve made it this far, which is a good start. By now, you should’ve evaluated your reasons for becoming an entrepreneur, identified your qualifications for starting a company, launched a small project, conducted plenty of research and gotten feedback on your idea.

But what now?

You have to ask yourself one simple question: Did you enjoy the process of self-evaluating, ideating, researching, iterating, and getting feedback?

If you didn’t enjoy the process, then analyze if entrepreneurship is right for you. Maybe you’re better off where you’re at now, or maybe you’re better suited for another role in a startup. Or maybe launching a company isn’t the best choice for you right now. And that’s totally fine because everyone has reflected on and choose what’s best for them.

However, if you did enjoy the process thus far, then great! Because you just might have what it takes to launch a meaningful tech company. Now go out and continue getting feedback on your idea, researching your marketing, and putting together a potential team.

Good luck!


About Founder Institute
Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 60 countries, the Founder Institute is the world’s premier idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program. Through a challenging curriculum and strong post-program support, Founder Institute provides aspiring entrepreneurs with structure, mentorship, and a network to start an enduring company.

theDesk is proud to be a supporting partner for the Founder Institute (Hong Kong Chapter) 2018 program, which kicks off on 9th July 2018.

Exclusive for theDesk members: Be part of the Founder Institute Hong Kong 2018 fellowship

The final application deadline is on 24th June 2018.

Learn more

Kick off your entrepreneurial ambition at theDesk

A place to do your best work in a supportive space. From full-time tenancy to short-term arrangements, we offer affordable, flexible co-working in great locations.

Contact paul@thedesk.com.hk or ryan.leung@thedesk.com.hk to find out more and arrange a visit.

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