Many people come to me for business advice. They include quite a few fence sitters. These are people who have a well-paying job, a startup on the side, and questions about when to quit the job and work full time on the business. They think the barrier is lack of money, but that's seldom true. What's really stopping them is fear of being out on their own. Most of them never do become full-time entrepreneurs, and so their businesses never have a chance to reach their potential.
If you really want to run your own business, you can do it sooner than you think, but you must overcome that fear. The secret is to plan. Let's say you'll need a year to get your startup running, and you earn $100,000 annually at your full-time job. After taxes, you take home about $60,000. Let's also say you put $10,000 a year into savings and spend $15,000 on things you can do without--new clothes, restaurants, vacations, and so on.
You spend the remaining $35,000 on necessities. That's how much you need to save to leave your job. Maybe you have it in the bank. Maybe your spouse's salary is sufficient to fund your family while you build your business. Maybe you can borrow the money from your parents and in-laws. Yes, you'll have to make sacrifices. For a year, that means giving up all those fun, nonessential things. You'll be taking a risk, too. You may not get the business to viability--to the point at which it can sustain itself on its internally generated cash flow--and you may have to go back to working for someone else, starting at a lower salary than you had before. But that's a risk you can live with, and failure won't keep you from trying to start another business in the future.
So when's the right time to quit your day job? How about now?