4 Ways to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur – Ask Evan

Ask Evan is a segment on this blog where I answer reader questions. This week’s question comes from Wezi:

Hi Evan Carmichael,

Thanks for the information you have sent me so far. My biggest challenge is how to start my business while I am working. That is, it is very difficult for me to be at my work place and at the same time run my own business.

I am afraid of quiting work, because I have my doubts in business.


Dear Wezi,

It’s the dream of almost every employee I know to quit their jobs and start their own business but most people never take the plunge. Here are some tips to help you get going:

1) Use Your Job for Market Research

Hopefully your current job has something to do with the business that you want to start. This way you can learn about the industry, meet potential customers, and improve your skills while still getting your regular paycheck.

If your job has nothing to do with the industry you want to jump into then you might consider switching jobs so you can get more industry experience. If your longer term goal is to have you own business then you want to give yourself your best chance of success and learn as much as you can about the business you want to start before you actually go out and do it.

2) Negotiate Your Hours

When you’re ready to commit more time to your own business try to negotiate more flexible hours with your boss to free up some time. See if you can work a couple of half days, for example, or only come in Mondays to Thursdays. This way you can still earn some money from your job while you build up your business.

Note: make sure you’re adding a lot of value to your boss before you go in and ask for flexible hours. If you’re just an average worker it’ll be easy to say no. If you’re a superstar and they might risk losing you then it’s far more likely that you’ll get a yes.

3) Get a Customer

It’s a lot easier to quit your job when you have a customer paying your bills. A lot of entrepreneurs leave their jobs to start a business and then have to go back and get another job six months later when their funds have run out.

Find someone who is willing to pay you for what you do and work on their projects in your extra time. If you have a day off because you’ve negotiated time off then use it. Otherwise look at your after hours time to deliver on your projects. When you have someone who is willing to write you a check then you’re on the right path to starting a successful business.

4) Start With a Service

Product based businesses are expensive to get going and expensive to fix if something wasn’t quite designed well (which always happens with new products). Try starting a service based business first which you can get going with zero startup capital (just your time) and make it fit into your schedule.

As you build up a client base you can get to know their pain points and potentially release a product to help them. It has a much higher chance of succeeding because you’re building it around paying clients and you have your service based business to support you while the product side of your business grows.

Good luck Wezi!

Readers, do you have any other ideas for Wezi? How did you make the transition from employee to entrepreneur?

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you leave a comment below!

Photo Credit: Great Dream

About the Author

I #Believe in entrepreneurs.

118 Responses to “4 Ways to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur – Ask Evan”

  1. New Blog Post: 4 Ways to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur – Ask Evan http://bit.ly/gpFEgE

  2. RT @EvanCarmichael: New Blog Post: 4 Ways to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur – Ask Evan http://bit.ly/gpFEgE

  3. 4 Ways to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur – Ask Evan – Ask Evan is a segment on this blog where I answer reader que… http://ow.ly/1bf4Pc

  4. NAMRATA says:

    It was a beautiful blog. I liked it very much. Thank You.

  5. emir says:

    This article is simply superb, it has helped me in every aspect of business. Thanks, Evan, for giving me very useful and helpful tips for how to be successful in the business world.

  6. kim says:

    Way to go Evan, this is a great, helpful article. I really enjoyed it.

  7. stacy says:

    Thank you very much for this informative article.

  8. Tim says:

    Nice blog and great article.

  9. Manny says:

    I stumbled upon this today and enjoyed every word! Thanks.

  10. scott says:

    four excellent ideas, loved it:)

  11. tina says:

    great job, I loved the ideas!

  12. Arnie says:

    Dynamism is required for becoming a successful entrepreneur. One has to ignite the passion from within to take bold steps for pursuing the dream of starting one’s own business.

  13. Sidy says:

    4 Ways to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur – Ask Evan, is an informative blog post that proved very useful to my life. Thanks!

  14. Edward says:

    This is an outstanding blog. I enjoy it very much! Thank You.

  15. David says:

    great advice, I’ll put it to use.

  16. Jen says:

    I can apply what I read here to my life. Thanks a lot!

  17. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the useful information. I now have some new ideas for my marketing job.

  18. Charlie says:

    Good ideas man, thank you!

  19. RT @EvanCarmichael: New Blog Post: 4 Ways to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur – Ask Evan http://bit.ly/gpFEgE

  20. Ray says:

    The ultimate aim of all ambitious, aggressive and successful employees like myself is to become an entrepreneur. But the main confusion is whether taking the risk of quitting your job will result in a successful business career or not. This article is for the above mentioned people, including myself. All four steps described in the article by Evan Carmichael are very inspirational and motivating. It is very helpful and useful for starting a new venture and turning it into a success. This article really gave me a positive attitude to start a new business. Thank you for sharing this informative article.

  21. Yankee says:

    Thanks, four good ways to go from Employee to Entrepreneur!

  22. Sia. says:

    Very Interesting. Well done.

  23. PRO Start says:

    4 Ways to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur – Ask Evan: It's a lot easier to quit your job when you have a custom… http://bit.ly/ev5JxK

  24. Seane says:

    This is an interesting contribution. In reading this article and the related references, one realizes what are the powerful ways to go from Employee to Entrepreneur, and how it is easier to tackle important problems in more realistic ways than only a few years before. Contributions such as this one illustrate the great development in methods since entrepreneurship gained importance.

    However, despite these recent advances, there are many practical issues which still need to be addressed. And I understand, as outlined by the author, that this work aims to open a dialogue on product based businesses. Which are expensive to get going and expensive to fix if something wasn’t quite designed well.

  25. Mark says:

    This is a fantastic article, it clearly mentions all the points and is very easy to understand.

  26. Pamela says:

    Very nice imagination. I think this is really cool!

  27. rebecca says:

    Very interesting article on how to go from Employee to Entrepreneur. I follow this blog religiously. Thank you!

  28. anoop says:

    Hi Evan, you clearly explained the steps for an employee to become an entrepreneur. Anyone who follows these 4 ways will definitely get positive results. Thanks for the information. I hope for more posts like this in future.

  29. Sarah says:

    These four steps which you mentioned will be useful to those who want to start their own business. You gave great ideas on how to start a career as a entrepreneur, provided the tips how to pick the customers and advised on where we should invest.

  30. Tara says:

    These four steps are four major foundation stones to start your own business. One can safely and smoothly transition from employee to entrepreneur following these simple 4 steps.

  31. Carlos says:

    This was a very informative blog entry and I think it helps people to move forward. I liked it very much. Thank you.

  32. monika says:

    Good ideas for starting a business!

  33. Bill says:

    It’s a lot easier to quit your job when you have a plan…………. VERY NICE

  34. christy says:

    I have been wanting to become an entrepreneur, but I haven’t known the steps to take. These tips help me to get the courage to start and I’m ready to follow the steps. Thank you!

  35. gunner kumar says:

    Very nice information in this step by step procedure on how to have your own business. Great that you get answers to your questions here!

  36. jenny says:

    this was an excellent article. it really helped me and i thank you for writing it!

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  38. Joakim Vivas says:

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  39. timesavingmx says:

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  40. karen says:

    What a cool, imaginative article. Well done!

  41. Diana says:

    I really enjoyed reading the above article. I was very confused on how to start a new business. My confusions have cleared and I know have a clear idea on how to do it. This blog would really be helpful for everyone who wants to start a new business. The tips given by Evan were very useful and informative.

  42. Gunner says:

    Evan, thanks for this very important info!

  43. colin says:

    The article is very nice and inspirational. The plan and ideas mentioned are very helpful to us.

  44. Keir says:

    Thanks Evan,
    Many wish to start their own business, including myself, but they don’t know how.
    Your article is very simple, short and crisp…even a layman can understand your terms.. Good steps :)

  45. cesar ruiz says:

    Cuatro fórmulas para pasar de empleado a emprendedor (inglés) http://ow.ly/3SZSU rt @patgonzalez82 like it! RT @SalvaFigueros

  46. Scott says:

    Very cool tips, Evan! Keep it comin’. . .

  47. Rosie says:

    From the point of view of someone who wants to move out and start a business on her own, this information is very useful and informative.

  48. Jannick says:

    Thank you very much for this wonderful article. I have been working for the past 15 years and I hate my job. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Your article is really inspirational and I plan to start a service based business soon.

  49. Irina says:

    This is a great start to an important thought process for many would-be entrepreneurs. My advice would be to use your time at your job double-tasking: In other words, learn how to use everything you do on someone else’s dime to also build up your own business. When you’re making contacts for your boss, also make contacts for yourself; when you’re doing research for your boss, find ways to apply it to your own plans; and if you’re a persuasive sort of person, convince your boss that what you already want to do is something that will benefit the company you work for. If you’re super-persuasive and have a solid plan fully formed, you might even be able to convince a superior that your business would be more useful for them than your current job, and maybe even get some help with the transition (but this is a big gamble, so tread carefully).

  50. sebastian says:

    This article is interesting. I will pass it along. Thanks.

  51. christy says:

    The ideas given in this article look very promising, great work!!!

  52. Bob says:

    This article blows my mind. Superb!

  53. Raj says:


    You’ve zipped many big articles into 4 valuable points! really gr8! I just emailed all my friends to read this great post!!

    thanks a lot, buddy!

  54. Mike says:

    What a great blog, buddy! Cheers!

  55. Sammy says:

    This article is excellent! I highly appreciate it, keep it up!

  56. Dave says:

    Nice blog, very good information about market research. I really appreciate the help!

  57. Christian says:

    This biog has great information … thanks for the help.

  58. John says:

    Awesome article! Everyone who is interested in working for himself should read this.

  59. Lorenzo says:

    This article is very useful for every employee to become his own business man.

  60. Lynn says:

    Nice blog…This article is excellent!!!! Great work!!!

  61. Tim says:

    What a great blog!! I really appreciate the help and advice!

  62. Scott says:

    The article is mindblowing, keep it up!

  63. matthew says:

    Great blog! The ideas given in this article are very good.

  64. Amy says:

    The ideas posted here are very useful for me because its hard for me to make a decision on an opportunity to start a business. This article gives me hope and I plan to implement these ideas. Thanks!

  65. Bill says:

    This is an excellent article. It inspires you to make a decision and improve your analytical skills. I recommend this article to everyone who is stuck in their work routine and want a change.

  66. Monica says:

    I sure hope that soon I can be on the other side of the fence, working for myself. I feel inspired! Thanks

  67. Bizniz says:

    A great guide for newbie entrepreneurs! :D Really helps people like me! Thanks for this post mate!

  68. roy says:

    Thanks for sharing this article. I plan on applying these principles to see what changes I can bring about in my own life.

  69. mary says:

    I really enjoy this site, thank you.

  70. victor says:

    Nice blog. When you read this article you know that you can apply it to your life and that it is possible for you too. It sounds very practical. Thanks for sharing it!

  71. sara says:

    Very nice and helpful article. I really appreciate this type of information. Way to go!

  72. Steven says:

    Nice blog. It it full of useful information about marketing. The ideas written in this blog are very helpful.

  73. jenn says:

    I’ve just passed this along to my friends, very valuable and informative information. I like how you condensed it into 4 valuable points!

  74. Goran says:

    I agree, the author is doing a great job keeping us up to date with getting the most out of self employment.

  75. Matthew says:

    This is a helpful and informative article, I really appreciate this advice.

  76. simon says:

    I hope that soon I can be on the other side of the fence, working for myself. I feel inspired! Thanks.

  77. sia says:

    I agree with the points given in this blog post. I found this information to be very useful.

  78. laura says:

    It’s a great idea for an employee to become a entrepreneur. These ideas really help me to change my motive to become an entrepreneur.

  79. Jenny says:

    I am a business woman and this article will help me to become a top dog in my business.

  80. Mike says:

    Nice article. I enjoyed it very much.

  81. DeborahLynn says:

    If possible, I would definitely start with saving money for six months to a year. If your idea is unique, don’t worry – as long as you don’t talk about it, no-one will steal it. (I know this from experience, I wanted to start a literary magazine, mentioned my name for it to someone in my writing group – and he stole the name before I could fill out the copyright form!).

    Save money during that period by doing work that doesn’t exhaust you – for example, you can have a dedicated phone line installed at home; the company will give you your own computer, and you’d be working for (in this example) a reservation service for airport limousines. You can multi-task while taking calls.

    Or sell stuff on ebay during this period.

    Or tutor a student who wants to enter your field, for a few hours a week.

    After that 6-to-12 month period, buy yourself a little time off from your current job, or downsize it to part-time. But remember – money is fluid! Maybe you’ll hit the jackpot tomorrow!

  82. eric says:

    thanks for this helpful article!

  83. zack says:

    I am thinking about opening a business and this article is going to help me a lot. I have printed it out and review it often.

  84. josh says:

    No doubt this is a great article on how to make an employee his own boss. Great stuff!

  85. liz says:

    The ideas projected in this blog really deserve appreciation. I feel inspired after going through this. Undoubtedly, self-employment is the best part, please keep more information coming on this topic.

  86. colleen says:

    these 4 useful tips will help everyone become a successful business man.

  87. Heather says:

    I have enjoyed reading this article and I look forward to applying the principles stated.

  88. john says:

    This is a great website. Glad I found it…

  89. victoria says:

    This blog has very good information about market research.

  90. Nadine says:

    These ideas are really innovative.

    Actually, I was aware of the ideas in the first two paragraph. But paragraphs 3 and 4 are really new to me. They helped me to redefine my job profile.

  91. kurt says:

    very informative and useful article. the information about the marketing research will be helpful to all.

  92. Anonymous says:

    This is excellent! I highly appreciate this information.

  93. Soyna says:

    I am going to share these points with my team members. Thanks for an interesting article!

  94. jackie says:

    The ideas posted here look very promising for everyone. Starting a business is not a piece of cake, this article gives me strength and inspiration to reach my goal. Thanks!

  95. marge says:

    This article is an excellent piece, a good resource for people who are looking for a new venture. Applying these four tips can work wonders while someone is on the verge of starting a new business. Thanks, once again.

  96. erin says:

    Nice blog! This is a very informative article. Thanks!

  97. jannick says:

    I appreciate your blog and what you write about. I need to know more about how to increase our clients???

  98. hannah says:

    This article is great!

  99. Peter says:

    thanks for the helpful information, please keep it coming!

  100. mike says:

    This article is a good way to show employees how to become their own boss.

  101. bo says:

    awesome article, keep it up!

  102. Sara says:

    Fantastic Blog! I would really like to pass along my thanks to the author for such valuable information…

  103. diana says:

    This is a great blog, the 4 valuable points are very helpful. Thanks.

  104. shelia says:

    An inspiring blog! This blog will definitely take our inspiration to greater heights!

  105. arnie says:

    Self-confidence and motivation are the most important elements for becoming a successful entrepreneur. The zeal and passion to manage all aspects of a business must exist in order to become a successful entrepreneur.

  106. Daisy says:

    Great article on how to become an entrepreneur. Very insightful.

  107. patrick says:

    fresh and informative, thanks a lot for posts like this one!

  108. kevin says:

    Good advice, but it appears challenging to apply it practically.

  109. Al says:

    I highly appreciate this article for both new and old businessman alike. Market research and the other ideas presented are very helpful.

  110. samantha says:

    each one of us has the choice to work for ourselves or to work for someone else. i’m happy to read an article that inspires people to take the steps to be self-sufficient and creative.

  111. Diane says:

    Great informative article. A lot of useful information for anyone who wants to take that first step…and then step 2, 3 and 4. Keep up the great work!

  112. dirk says:

    This is an excellent business article, great ideas about how to develop the business step by step…

  113. Erin says:

    Very inspiring and out of the box stories, loved it!

  114. Jane says:

    Great Advice.

    My name is Jane and I took a plunge 2 years ago when I left a well paying job with a telecommunications company in Kenya and moved with my husband and children to Zambia when he changed jobs. I took a break from ‘real’ work to settle the family. One year later I registered a Human Resource solutions company where we train staff on Customer service, call center management, sales strategies, etc. All of these are skills I gained while in employment. I had worked ten years as an employee in different companies but this is the most fulfilling job that I have ever held.

  115. benjamin says:

    Your article is really helpful to any entrepreneur, but i wonder if concentrating time on your new business while you are employed can seriously affect your job. I think you would have to execute that one with extreme caution.

  116. henrietta says:

    I appreciate your advice and hope you share more knowledge. Thanks.

  117. Absolutely agree with getting a customer first. It will not only help by having a revenue stream, but also shows there may be a real business there…

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed Steven – thanks for the feedback!

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