From Employee To Entrepreneur: Do You Have What It Takes?

  | 7 min read
Employee to entrepreneur

Becoming an entrepreneur

Many of us dream of becoming self-employed and while not everyone is suited to entrepreneurship, those who are, sometimes find it hard to leave formal employment. Most people get used to the job security, income security, benefits and a relatively secure life that comes with employment. These comforts are easy to get used to and hence the difficulties in taking the step of faith into the turbulent and largely unknown life of self-employment.

Just browsing through the news or social media, the glamorous lives of entrepreneurs are everywhere, but the truth is, below the shiny surface lies years of toil, hard work, perseverance, persistence and constant learning. As such, no one’s journey is similar to another. All these factors contribute to the insecurity that scares most people away. But, if you have the determination and when done right, the move from employee to entrepreneur can be less bumpy than expected.

So, how do you know when it is time to make the move?

  • When you have an idea that can solve a particular problem in the society

Problem solving

Most of the successful entrepreneurs in the world grew their businesses by attacking pain points experienced by people in their society. Entrepreneurship often starts with solving existing problems in a unique way. A scalable business idea is one which offers either goods or services to tackle the issue. Therefore, if you think you have spotted a problem and you have a scalable idea of just which solution would work best, then it is time to set up your own business.

  • Your side hustle is growing

Millennials are said to be the side hustle generation. It is quite common to find employed people having existing businesses on the side which either supplement their salaries or utilises their other skills. Whatever the case, the side hustle can no longer be ignored. If your side hustle has been growing rapidly and is now demanding more time and attention from you, then it might be time to actually make it your full-time job.

  • Your job no longer challenges you

New challenges

A job is only exciting if you keep learning new things and expanding your skill level on a regular basis. You might be having a great job which pays you well but, it no longer excites you and changing jobs will not do that for you either. If your job seems mundane and repetitive and you feel like you need something exciting, then it might be a sign that you need to start your own enterprise.

  • You think like a boss

Entrepreneurs are people who always spot opportunities and come up with ways of filling up the opportunities. If you are the forward thinker who is always seeking solutions to problems but for one reason or another, you current job does not have the ability to take up your ideas and the industry is also lacking the ability to solve the problem, then it might be time to go out and actually offer the solution. An entrepreneur thinks ahead and is always trying to find ways of implementing new ideas. Therefore, if you are full of ideas and see no chance to implement them in your job, then it is time to quit and implement the idea as a business.

So, now that you know what signs point you towards entrepreneurship let us look at ways you can achieve it

Changing gears from employee to entrepreneur

  • Keep the discipline

Be disciplined

When you are employed, there are basic rules of engagement such as working hours, keeping deadlines, honouring promises made to clients, among others. Most often than not, you will be reporting to someone or all these factors contribute to your KPIs. Well, as an entrepreneur, these skills will come in more handy than you think. Your clients will be your new bosses and they are likely to be more demanding than your boss. Therefore, unlike popular opinion, you might have to put in more hours and effort as an entrepreneur than you do, as an employee. To make it work, you need to carry forward the discipline you have.

  • Think like an entrepreneur

As an employee, your worry is often around how to hit your targets. As a business owner, your worry is about how to scale up your business, how to keep the revenue streams flowing, how to run faster than your competitor, how to solve existing business problems and even how to move into the future. Well, if you have a vision of being an entrepreneur, you need to start thinking like the owner of the business and finding solutions to any problem. This will prepare you for the battle that lies ahead and give you the mental power to overcome challenges that are likely to crop up on the way.

  • Develop your network


Businesses are built on networks. As an entrepreneur, you need clients, mentors, advisors and even financiers. Having a healthy network will help you have the necessary people in your corner when you eventually make the shift. Therefore, start making the right connections even before you quit your job and start your own business.

  • Strengthen your side hustle

Moving from employee to entrepreneur can be taxing. It is even more challenging when you start from scratch as you have so many things to learn, little time to learn and a very limited experience to learn from. To make the transition smooth, it is advisable to start a side hustle and learn the ropes while you still have a fulltime job. Chances are, you will gain skills in your full time job which help you in building up your side hustle. With time, your side hustle will grow and when it starts demanding more time and attention from you, then you can quit your job and give your side hustle the attention it requires.

  • Know that you will have to do it all by yourself

Employee to entrepreneur

As an employee, you probably have specialised duties and responsibilities. Everyone around you has a job and this makes things run smoothly. As an entrepreneur, you might have to do everything by yourself, especially on the first few years. You will be the marketer, salesperson, accountant, administrator and even HR. You will, therefore, require a wide range of skills and you must learn how to juggle all these duties and responsibilities successfully. Multitasking is an important skill so start acquiring it now.

  • Have a solid business plan

Quitting your job without a business plan is futile. It is important to have a clear idea of what you want to do, why you want to do it and how you plan on doing it. These things keep you focussed and help in shaping your plan on just how you are to achieve them. It is not enough to know that you want to start a business. You must be clear on just how to make it work.

  • Have a schedule

Employee to entrepreneur

Schedules may seem boring and repetitive but with so many things requiring your attention, a schedule will help you stay on course and focussed on the tasks at hand. A schedule makes you more efficient and deliberate about your time, which will then increase your productivity.

  • Going the extra mile should be your default setting

As an employee, you might be used to just doing what is required of you and hitting your targets on time. Your job could be good but not great. As a start-up, you will have to convince clients that they should stick with you and that means going out of your way to do a really good job. You must have a constant hunger to go above and beyond what is expected to impress new and potential clients. So, go the extra mile while you are still employed and this will be much easier to do even on your own.

Moving from employee to entrepreneur can be an uphill task. The playing field is often different and the set of rules almost entirely new. But, if you have a burning desire to solve a problem and you are always full of ideas, you should definitely consider starting your own business. But, you must be disciplined, have a good plan and have the right networks in order to succeed.

Have you transitioned from employee to entrepreneur? What was your experience? We would love to hear from you!


Mueke Katwa
I have two years experience in Business Support which covers Human Resource as a function; and a lifelong passion in creative writing.


  1. Sometime people have vision but according to life finance are down to manage something simple and manage competiveness in market

    • Hi vIncent
      Thanks a lot for taking time to read our articles.
      We appreciate the support and feedback.


  2. Thank you for wake me up, I didn’t know what to do after my studies, but I think the only thing to remember is the capital. Many people fail to start their own business due to lack of capital.
    (sorry for my poor language)

    • Hi Rafiq, we are glad you enjoyed the reading.

      We agree with you on that. Sometimes getting starting capital can be a big challenge. However, it is always advisable in such a case to start small through the help of family and friends as you grow. ^AN

  3. Hi
    This article describes me in so many ways. I left my job of 10years as a lecturer to start two parallel partnership businesses, both of which are training institutions. Was it easy? Definitely not. Did i have the money? Not much to even afford a small space. But wat did I do? I believed in myself and the abilities of my partners. Having a vision is great. Having people that share in a common vision is greater. But walking as a team that shares a vision through mutual respect and consensus is a great blessing! I love being an entrepreneur. We May not have made a million dollars yet or employed 500+ employees, but we’re soon getting there. The separate registered businesses are Ranelle Training College in Embu and Art Novel Dimensions in Nairobi. I hope I’ve encouraged someone

    • Wow! Thank you Betty for such an incredible uplifting story. In many case, success is all about taking the first step of faith and risk taking. Many people have dreams which put into place, can grow to bigger dreams and achievement but the fear in them consumes the dreams and get them stuck.

      We wish you all the best and continue doing what you do best and we believe that one day, you will be an inspirational story read by many. ^AN

  4. Good plan,healthy networks and discipline are key for an entrepreneur…my concern is on the location of the business. Nairobi is a good business hub what of one decides to head to a remote location with a good idea wuould these work…?

    • Hi Willys,

      Thank you for asking and we believe you have enjoyed reading the article. We believe a business can do good and grow anywhere as along as its one of the kind that meets the people’s needs and wants for that particular location.

      With this said, a little of good research will go along way. ^AN

    • Hi Calvin, we are glad that you enjoyed reading. Hope you took good notes from it that will help you grow career wise. ^AN

  5. An entrepreneur is a resilient individual. Capital cannot be an obstacle provided one has a good biz idea backed by a strong will.

    • Hi Abi,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts to us.
      We highly appreciate your participation and we looking forward to hear from you again.


  6. I am employed somewhere and i feel this article has really challenged me.I really feel like i should quit my job now now and go for self employment,but at the same time i have this fear….’ What if things don’t work out ? what will happen?’kindly advise.

    • Hi Emmy,
      Thank you for reading.
      Regarding your question about quitting, you need to think critically first before reaching your final verdict. If you are passionate about it and where you are currently working you feel like you are underpaid and there is no hope of getting a raise, then its justifiable. So fear not.


  7. I have taken my time to read this insightful article and want to appreciate you for this sharing. I am employed in a demanding job. While i have registerd business name i have not been able to give effort that can help it grow. I constantly feel I should make the bold move of quoting the job but then how will I meet my obligations in the interim? Do you have an idea where I can get funding for start up?

    • Hi kenneth,
      You can seek a bank loan, ask for a small-business grant etc there are many options just figure out whats convenient or best suites you.


  8. Thanks so so much for this article, It has really challenged me. I have always feared starting on my own but now I have to take the challenge no matter what.

  9. I left a very comfortable job last year to go into self employment and though it has not been easy setting up I know I made the right decision and I have so much motivation knowing that am doing it all for myself.

    • Hi Macharia,
      We believe you had your reasons for leaving and the business you are now doing, if you want it to reach its peak you have to plan and strategies well. But what will not help you, is if you are having second thoughts. Just stick to your goals, get advice from people who have done it big or are expert in that field. More importantly be patient, keep positive mindset and it will go your way. All the best!


  10. The article really speaks to me. Though I am employed and have tried several side hustles that have not done very well, i really believe i am an entrepreneur. Thanks for the insightful article.

  11. Many thanks for sharing this great insight. We all want to partake on this journey, the problem is how to navigate the challenges along the way and you have just shared what I needed to know.

  12. I am passionate,creative and full of ideas.
    I am a graduate and have moved from job to job without excitement,challlenges and not growing my skills.
    This article is amazing.i think this is what was left for me to read to start my business.
    I have all what the article is describing and i am confident about my business idea(Adventure travel&event planning),though not my field of study.
    Thabkyou Brighter monday

    • You’re welcome,
      If you have what it takes and you feel that you need to grow, then dont look back, go for it but please make sure that where you are leaving are for the right reasons(justifiable) and when you do implement what you have read here.You should also put an end to the hoping trend because even this field you now entering, if you dont have patience or discipline you may end up in the same predicament.
      We wish you all the best in your Career.


  13. am so encouraged i have two different jobs and still l have freinds networks who are interested with em some offer employment opprotunities but am not willing to leave my current job, i have passion in offering my abilities in terms of services? what do i do i want to make the step but still l fear? Advice me kindly

    • Hi Erick,
      You have already said it.. you are passionate about it and even though the offer might sound too tempting, just stick to where your heart is. If you feel that you are not really into the offer then dont be pushed into doing something that you are not comfortable. We hope we have advised you appropriately and if you need more clarity, feel free to get back to us.


  14. These are the kind of tips that we the young people should have before taking that “reap of faith” into entrepreneurship.
    These without knowledge will only lead to frustrations.

      • Very ideal and beneficial, thank you for bringing it at the right time because am actually planning to transition from employee to employer

        • Hi Izzy,
          Thank you for reading,
          We are glad you are enlightened and we wish you all the best.


    • Hi Shama,
      Thank you for reading.
      If it has proven to be useful, then show kindness to your friends and colleagues by sharing the same information to them. All the best.


    • Hi Gracen,
      Thank you for reading.
      It is our hope that you implement all what you have read and before you even start, think critically also because once you have decided to venture in self employment it wouldn’t be something that you can easily reverse.


  15. wow! have really been enlightened.. what are some of business opportunities that a starter with a little capital can go for?

    • Hi Brender,
      Thank you for reading.
      Make sure you know what you really want then decide what kind of business you can do. Research your idea, write a business plan, and lastly choose a business structure.


  16. Good message and encouraging. It motivates. I learned that JOB is the journey of the broke, am not yet employed and I am a diploma graduate thinking of doing my own business and be my own boss. I’ll start that immediately I’ll get capital.

    • Hi Boniface,

      Thank you for reading.
      Instead of sitting back and waiting for someone to give you the capital and you are a diploma holder get tips on how to land a job after graduating by reading here


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