What do you need to get “ready” to make the transition from Employee to Entrepreneur?

There are four key hurdles to overcome:

  • An idea
  • Money
  • Time
  • People

The ordering of the challenges matters and you need to have a solution for each challenge before moving on to the next. Problems don’t go away over time, but get layered on top of each other. Even if you have solved one challenge it may come back later on. Getting going is tough and requires a lot of determination and persistence.

An Idea

The starting point to making the transition from Employee to Entrepreneur is to have an idea for a business. Ideally this would be something you are really passionate about and have dreamed about doing. If you have an idea that you obsess about and can’t wait to get started then you are probably ready to start thinking about your next challenge – MONEY. Oh yeah and one more thing … the idea you start with will very likely evolve quite a bit as you build your business.


The “Money Challenge” is your first major hurdle (I don’t consider an idea much of a MAJOR hurdle) in transitioning from Employee to Entrepreneur. If you but really aren’t being challenged enough in terms of personal development at your current job and are entrepreneurial curious or plan B serious.  Then you have probably already started to squirrel away some cash anyway. If you are making a comfortable living and providing for your family then solving the Money Hurdle is the most important challenge to overcome. The “Money Challenge” is a significant obstacle and not to be underestimated. I have come up with Graham’s Golden Rules of Transition to try and simplify the process, and again, order matters. Please also notice the punctuation.

Graham’s Five Golden Rules of Transition

  1. Don’t give up your day job too soon!
  2. Know how you will feed your family while starting up.
  3. Run “to” something, NOT “from” something.
  4. Have two years of runway (part-time then full-time).
  5. Start selling at the same time as you start building your product or service.


There is little doubt that the “Money Challenge” is the first significant obstacle to overcome. However, once you are up and running money is your second most valuable resource. Your most valuable resource is time. It is really important to keep in mind that time is a one-way resource and once you spend it you can’t get it back. If you are at the point where you are generating some cash from your business and overwhelmed with too much to do, congratulations: you are making progress.

  • Always remember time is your most valuable resource.
  • Everything takes longer than you think it will.
  • Everything is more work than you thought it would be.
  • Be ruthless with how you allocate your time.


There are two aspects to the “People Challenge”; your internal team and support team. Most of the support team will be virtual and work on a project- or assignment-basis. The core team are full-time or part-time employees in your organization. Starting a business is a team sport. Even if you are a soloprenueur you will still need a support team and partners.

If you have made it to the point where you are thinking about adding people to the core team then you have done well. This is a sign your business is taking off and growing. I have chatted with many small business owners and participated in peer groups with more experienced business people and the number one challenge of successful businesses is ALWAYS the “People Challenge”.  If you have people problems then this is usually a sign your business has traction and is growing.  Congratulations there will always be people issues to deal with.

Look Before You Leap Session 

We will be holding an information session next week. If you have considered taking our Employee to Entrepreneur sessions but wanted to kick the tires first, then this workshop is for you. There is no cost to attend and we will be following a similar format to the weekly Employee to Entrepreneur sessions.

You can sign up here: http://look-before-you-leap.eventbrite.ca

Feel free to call 613-808-3890 or email ian[at]thecodefactory[dot]ca for more info.