Officer workers are pictured through building windows during dusk in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Issei Kato, Reuters
MANILA – Should you quit your day job and instead pursue a business venture that could be more profitable?
According to entrepreneur Lex Ledesma, who is also executive director at The One School, it is possible to maintain a business without sacrificing a stable, and well-paying day job.
He said that the choice between being an employee and an entrepreneur is a “financial matter” that depends on actual results.
If the business is already profitable and can sustain your lifestyle, then that is the only time to quit, said Ledesma.
“Don’t give up your day job until you have proven to yourself that this can actually make money,” he told ANC’s “On The Money.”
“Don’t leave your day job on a pipe dream, on a hope, you have to have the numbers to back it up,” he added.
Ledesma said if the business has yet to gain traction, don’t quit yet, and instead aim to be more efficient in spending your hours.
“There is the same amount of hours in the day that I have and the day that Mark Zuckerberg has, but he seems to be doing a lot more than me. He’s just more efficient with his time than I am so I don’t think time is a constraint,” he said.
While Ledesma doesn’t encourage entrepreneurs to be workaholics, he said that they should consider setting time aside for the business on weeknights and weekends.
The choice is obvious if the business is successful, but what if it isn’t performing to expectations?
Ledesma advises entrepreneurs not to panic, as they should be able to run the business without profit for a year. He said this period is a good gauge if you should still pursue the venture or close shop.
“If you can run the business for a year without making profit, then that’s OK. But if you’re into your second year and you’re still funneling out a lot of money, then maybe the business idea wasn’t sound and maybe you need to close shop,” he said.
For online businesses, however, Ledesma said that a year without profit is too long because the internet cycle is faster.
“If you’re not gaining traction online, then something is wrong because things move faster online,” he said.
Ledesma said start-ups should set a limit and know when to cut losses.
Aside from running The One School, Ledesma is also the owner of several restaurants and a resort in Boracay.
He said that the conscious strategy of running several businesses simultaneously is something he learned from his mentor.
“[Keep a business] that is always shooting for the stars that it might become the next big thing, but you also have something that pays for your bills… And maybe a medium business that will pay for investments,” he said.
As an entrepreneur, Ledesma said he has surrounded himself with like-minded people because it helps him “decipher patterns of behavior” that make him become successful.
He is also reminding aspiring entrepreneurs that to be successful, they should pursue an industry that they are passionate about and not just something they want to do on the side to make money.
“Everybody wants to make money. But if that is your sole driver for everything that you do whether putting up a business or investing, then at some point you will most probably lose interest in it,” he said.