I went to a corporate business conference and told attendees everything they needed to know to quit their job and start a content business.

Surprisingly (to me), the room was filled. (I thought since their companies paid for them to come, they might shy away from a presentation about how to leave their employer.)

Being a content entrepreneur can be a bright future. But then, you know that already. That’s why you subscribe to The Tilt. You’ve taken the leap (or the interest) in how to grow a creator business that you can do full time – something that many of you already have done.

But before you go all in for your new business and all out at the employer who provides regular income, follow this blueprint. 

1. Don’t quit your job until you start the process of quitting your job (see below). Our research shows the average entrepreneur needs almost 13 months before they go full time in the content business. And it takes at least another five months before they earn enough revenue to support themselves.

Don't quit the day job before you start building your creator business, says serial entrepreneur @JoePulizzi. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

2. Nail your story. Being a generalist doesn’t work. In fact, it’s impossible to be too niche. What’s your expertise? What will you be known for? We call that your content tilt – an area of little to no competition that gives you a chance to break through with your information.

3. Know your people.  Who is your audience? Be specific. What do you want them to achieve? What will you send to help them do that?

4. Focus on the amazing and forget the rest. Selecting a singular topic, platform, and format lets you ignore all the other options that can distract from your purpose.

5. Make the content plan: Find the story. Start your content product (and maybe a website). Build out your presence on LinkedIn – it’s a great tool for a professional audience.

6. Don’t build on your employer’s land. If you have proprietary processes and ideas that don’t belong to the company, save them on a personal drive. Use a computer, software, etc., that you – not your employer – own.

Don't start your creator business on your employer's land. Use your own equipment and proprietary processes, says @JoePulizz, founder of @TheTiltNews. Click To Tweet

7. Check your employment agreement and employee handbook. What can you do in your business while you still work a day job? 

8. Write down your goals and review them often. What do you see this becoming? How will you measure success?

9. Talk to your family. When you start a business, everyone is involved (like it or not).

10. Put aside at least six months of expenses. Budget for your entrepreneurial life. 

11. Plan for insurance. If you relied on your employer for health insurance, what will you do? What about life insurance? What business-related insurance might you need?

12. Lower your existing expenses. Could you manage with only one car in the family? What about canceling a streaming service or two? Look at any costs that can be cut from your personal budget.

13. Find a good accountant and lawyer. I’ve saved millions because I didn’t make mistakes attempting to perform these professional services on my own.

14. Create a legal entity for the business, such as an LLC. You can do this before you quit.

15. Separate your personal and business accounting and finances. Get a business credit card.

Before-you-quit tip 15 of 19: Separate your personal and business finances, and get a business credit card, says @JoePulizzi. Click To Tweet

16. Make three lists of people: Identify mentors – people who’ve done it successfully or not – and invite them for coffee. List contacts who can help refer business to you in the future and future clients who can help support your business financially in the future. Keep these lists fresh.

17. Generate entrepreneurial revenue before you leave your job. The quicker to revenue the more likelihood for success. 

18. Have a conversation with your boss. About a month or so before you want to leave, talk to your boss. Give them a heads up, using verbiage such as: “I love working here … but I’d like to start my own business in the future.” Your current company could be your first revenue.  I negotiated a consulting contract with my employer that was essential to survival in my early entrepreneurial days. WARNING: Be prepared for the potential that conversation could lead to your immediate departure.

19. Diversify your revenue streams. The most successful content creators who leave a full-time job have many ways to generate revenue. The top five are consulting, books, online courses and workshops, affiliate marketing, and sponsorships.

Are you a content creator turning content entrepreneur? The Tilt newsletter can help. Subscribe today.

About the author

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of The Tilt, author of seven books including Content Inc. and co-founder of speech-therapy fundraiser, The Orange Effect Foundation.