TIME Careers & Workplace

12 Steps to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur

One step at a time

If you’re fed up with your job, it may seem like there are only two steps to becoming an entrepreneur. The first is to quit your job, and the next step is to start a company. While it is possible to transition successfully from employee to entrepreneur, it’s a little more complex than that.

Here are the 12 steps you’ll need to take to become your own boss.

1. Determine what you’d like to do.

Some people call this finding your passion, but it’s more than that. Think about your skills, abilities and experience. Consider what you can realistically see yourself doing for hours each day, for weeks and years.

2. Think about what others will pay for.

A viable business is the intersection between what you’d like to do and what others will pay for. Remember the “Jump to Conclusions Mat” from the movie Office Space? Todd loved building it, but no one was going to buy it. It wasn’t a viable business opportunity.

3. Interview ideal customers.

Find a few people that you think would be your ideal clients. Ask them about their biggest needs, fears and aspirations related to the business idea you plan to pursue. Are the benefits of your product or service in line with their real needs? Also, make a note of the words they use, as they’ll eventually help make your marketing more authentic.

4. Design your marketing and business plans.

Today’s marketing involves content creation, social media, email outreach and more. Make sure you know how you’ll approach each of these alternatives to introduce your idea to customers. At the same time, lay out a business plan that details how you intend your business to function. It doesn’t need to be super formal, but it does need to cover your operating structure, product, delivery systems and expansion plans.

5. Set up your business on a small scale.

If you can, test your company idea by launching on a small scale on the side, while still working your day job. This gives you a no-risk opportunity to test your ideas, get your first clients and see if the business will hold up over time before you leave the security of your current position.

6. Assess feedback and adjust.

Running a small-scale operation will help you determine which parts of your idea are great and which ones need adjusting. Take customer feedback seriously and make any necessary changes before you begin scaling up.

7. Assemble a team.

If your idea seems viable, determine who you’ll want on your business leadership team when you eventually launch full time. Depending on your personal experience, you may need help in areas such as finance, marketing, customer service and production.

8. Secure financing.

For a small venture, this might mean saving up some money to get through the first few months or taking cash from your 401(k). If your aspirations are a bit larger, you may need to think about how to procure venture capital or other outside investment.

9. Set up the structure of your company.

At the same time, you’ll also want to decide what kind of company structure to register. Do you want to incorporate, form an LLC or create a partnership? Get this taken care of legally and carefully define the roles and investment of each of your leadership team members.

10. Leave your job.

When you’re ready, leave your day job. This may feel like an amazing relief after all the work you already put in, but trust me, more work awaits. Although it may be tempting, be sure not to burn any bridges as you leave — you never know when you’ll encounter former bosses and colleagues again, and you may need to work with them in the future.

11. Set up a working budget.

With your full-time schedule now devoted to your business, set up a company budget. This should include payments for marketing expenses, salaries and other important purchases. Just be sure not to waste money on frivolous expenses!

12. Scale up your business according to your marketing plan.

Finally, all that’s left to do is to work the plans you’ve carefully laid out for yourself. Of course, that plan may change over time as you encounter and overcome obstacles. But, this is it — you’re a full-fledged entrepreneur. Congratulations!

As you can see, becoming an entrepreneur requires a lot of work before you even consider quitting your day job. However, if you follow each of the steps listed above and your idea still seems viable, you can leave your life as an employee and become an entrepreneur instead.

There are still many challenges you’ll face, but for most entrepreneurs, the benefits of meaningful work and self-direction are much more important.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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TIME Uber

Two Uber Executives Arrested in France

Photo illustration of logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis in a street in Madrid
© Sergio Perez / Reuters—REUTERS

Arrests come just days after fierce anti-Uber protests

Uber has encountered roadblocks in cities not keen on unregulated taxi services, but it might finally have met its match in the streets of Paris.

Two Uber executives were arrested in Paris Monday for running an illegal taxi company and concealing illegal documents, according to TechCrunch.

The arrested executives — Uber France’s CEO Thibaud Simphal and Uber Europe GM Peirre-Dimitri Gore-Coty — have previously said that Uber would continue operations in the country until a court rules against their service, UberPOP. Although UberPOP has been illegal since late last year, the country has had trouble enforcing the ban since Uber reportedly pays off drivers’ fines and encourages them to continue working.

The arrests come just days after fierce protests plugged up major traffic intersections in Paris. At one point, police in riot gear deployed tear gas on the taxi driver protestors, who say that Uber represents unfair competition.

But even arresting Uber’s executives won’t do much to stop the irreverent service: Simphal and Gore-Coty will probably be released within days, the report said, and France will have to let the case wind through the country’s courts.

TIME Economy

Global Stocks Stumble As Greece Debt Troubles Escalate

Spain Greece Bailout
Andres Kudacki — AP A broker speaks on the phone as he looks at a screen at the Stock Exchange in Madrid, June 29, 2015.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 213 points Monday amid Greece's deepening debt troubles

(NEW YORK) — Global stock markets are stumbling as investors worry about fallout from Greece’s deepening debt troubles as talks between the country and its creditors broke down over the weekend.

Greece has shuttered its banks to prevent nervous depositors from pulling their money out, and the country faces a deadline Tuesday to may a big debt payment.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 213 points, or 1.2 percent, to 17,733 as of 11:45 a.m. Eastern time Monday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 gave up 24 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,076.

The Nasdaq fell 71 points, or 1.4 percent, to 5,009.

The declines were steeper in Europe. Indexes fell 3.5 percent in Germany and 3.7 percent in France.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.36 percent.

TIME Smartphones

Here’s How Many Americans Sleep With Their Smartphones

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Smartphone reliance is growing

Nearly three-quarters of Americans (71%) who own smartphones sleep with them — either by putting their phone on a nightstand, in their bed, or, for 3% of people, holding it in their hands.

A new mobile consumer report from Bank of America found that not only do Americans sleep with their smartphones, but the devices are also the first thing on people’s minds when they wake up: 35% of respondents said their first thought in the morning is about their smartphone; 10% said it was for their significant other.

The new report underscores an increasing trend of smartphone reliance among owners of the device, especially Millennials.

Throughout the day, more than half of Americans, about 57%, say they use their phone at least once an hour. In New York, that statistic jumps to 96%. In California, it’s 88%.

This constant interaction with smartphones means that Americans are increasingly using their phones for banking. More than half of the survey’s respondents said they use either an app, or a web browser as their primary form of banking. In California, 57% of residents are actively using a mobile banking app, mainly for banking notifications and alerts, checking balances, and mobile check deposits. By comparison, 53% of New Yorkers and Texans actively use banking apps.

Not crazy about smartphones? You might want to move to Denver. The city’s respondents are the most likely to survive without their smartphones: 49% said they would choose phone calls if they could only keep one feature of their phones (that’s 10% above the national average); and 27% of Denver respondents said they could refrain from using their phones indefinitely.

But even in Denver, the trend is inescapable: 63% of Denver residents sleep with their phones.

The Bank of America study surveyed 1,000 people who own smartphones and have banking relationships across the United States, plus 300 people in key markets such as New York, Denver, and California.

TIME Economics

Everything You Should Know About Puerto Rico’s Economic Crisis

The island's debt is four times that of Detroit

As Greece’s debt crisis grows increasingly dire, another territory much closer to home — Puerto Rico — has admitted to some major financial woes.

What exactly is happening in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla made a worrisome announcement Sunday that the island cannot pay back its $72 billion in public debt, the New York Times reports. Padilla and his staff, according to the Times, are seeking to defer debt payments for as long as five years, while also possibly seeking concessions from many of its creditors.

“The debt is not payable,” García Padilla said. “There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math.”

Okay… in English, please?

Puerto Rico is in the midst of a decades-long economic struggle fueled by years of recession and slow economic growth. As a result, its government has taken out massive loans from creditors to cover its costs.

But Puerto Rico has to pay back the money (or figure out a Plan B). In recent years, the commonwealth has raised taxes and slashed pensions in order to pay back its loans, but the island’s “tab,” so to speak, has still spiraled out of control. Many residents have found their businesses collapsing — Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate is double that of mainland America — while others have been leaving the island for better opportunities state-side.

Financial markets across the world have already been rocked by Greece’s debt crisis, and Puerto Rico’s troubles will only add to the current global economic uncertainty.

What does this mean for Americans?

If you’re an investor in municipal bond funds, Puerto Rico’s debt might be your problem, too. Municipal bonds — or loans used by local governments to fund public projects — have traditionally been considered safe investments. But some investors are worried about them — several American cities have filed for bankruptcy in recent years, and the Puerto Rico situation could make things worse. According to the Washington Post, as many as three out of four municipal bond mutual funds held Puerto Rican bonds in 2013.

How bad is the situation exactly?

Padilla called the situation a “death spiral.” And he wasn’t exaggerating: Puerto Rico’s debt is four times that of Detroit’s, and the island has more debt per capita than any American state. Analysts believe the central government will run out of cash as soon as July, according to the Wall Street Journal, which could lead to a government shutdown, emergency measures and an unpredictable crisis.

So what’s next for Puerto Rico?

Good question. While Padilla seeks to negotiate with creditors, his administration is also pushing for the right to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 9, which outlines a plan for creditors to get back some of their money. (That’s what happened with U.S. cities like Detroit, Mich., and Stockton, Calif., last year.) But under current law, that right is afforded only to U.S. cities, not to states or territories including Puerto Rico.

Read next: Everything to Know About Greece’s Economic Crisis

TIME China

Greece Is Keeping Chinese Stocks From Rebounding

CHINA-STOCKS
STR—AFP/Getty Images

The global market sell-off came at a rough time for Chinese stocks

Uncertainty over Greece’s debt crisis battered global stocks on Monday morning, as the troubled country dealt with bank closures and placed limits on ATM withdrawals.

The global sell-off was particularly poorly timed for the Chinese stock market, which retreated into a bear market early Monday after the country’s central bank cut interest rates over the weekend in a move meant to bolster the market. China’s stock market, which fell more than 7% on Friday, started this morning moving upward before quickly reversing, leaving the market down more than 20% from highs earlier this month.

The Shanghai Composite index ended the day down 3.3%, while the Shenzhen exchange closed down more than 6% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 2.6%.

The recent sell-off has hit several large Chinese companies particularly hard, with train maker CRRC Corporation’s stock down more than 50% from its peak price, according to The Wall Street Journal. Fellow transportation companies such as China Railway and BYD have also seen their shares drop by 45% and 40% from their respective peaks.

As Fortune‘s Scott Cendrowski noted in an earlier story, this past weekend marked the first time that China’s central bank had cut two key rates on the same day since the financial crisis. China’s leaders pushed for a stock market rally last year at a time of slow economic growth for the country, but rapid gains spooked many investors, particularly margin lenders who have led the current sell-off.

TIME Elon Musk

Tesla’s Elon Musk Just Had the Worst Birthday Ever

Tesla Elon Musk
Noah Berger—AP Tesla's CEO Elon Musk.

A disastrous weekend for both Tesla and SpaceX

Elon Musk turned 44 on Sunday, but the entrepreneur probably wished he could just crawl back into bed and forget the day ever happened.

It was, to be frank, a disastrous weekend for both Tesla and SpaceX, the two companies Musk leads.

First, the biggie: an unmanned SpaceX rocket on a resupply mission to the International Space Station exploded after it was launched. No one was hurt, and the astronauts on board the Space Station have enough supplies to last until October, but the Falcon 9 rocket that was destroyed represents a lot of lost capital, and it’s always embarrassing for an aerospace company when a craft just, well, explodes.

In news that was slightly less spectacular, but still troubling, reports say Musk said Tesla owners weren’t using the battery swap technology he debuted in 2013. While this doesn’t have quite the visual impact of an exploding rocket, it’s still not good news for a service that Musk and other Tesla execs hoped would help show consumers that electric cars, like Teslas, can be taken on longer trips with minimal wait time.

Musk himself admitted to having a bad day:

We hope your Independence Day weekend is better, Elon.

TIME M&A

Regulators Just Effectively Killed Another Big M&A Deal

A US. Foods truck is shown on delivery in in San Diego
Mike Blake — Reuters A US Foods truck is shown on delivery in San Diego, Calif.

Sysco will pay a $300 million break-up fee

A $3.5 billion merger between two of the largest foodservice distributors has been called off, a win for regulators that had sought to kill the deal.

Sysco on Monday said it would pay a $300 million break-up fee to walk away from its merger agreement with US Foods, a move that comes days after a U.S. District Court granted the federal government’s request for a preliminary injunction to block the proposed Sysco-US Foods merger. Sysco also needed to pay $12.5 million to Performance Food Group, which would have purchased some US Foods facilities as part of the deal.

“After reviewing our options, including whether to appeal the Court’s decision, we have concluded that it’s in the best interests of all our stakeholders to move on,” said Bill DeLaney, Sysco president and chief executive officer.

Regulator concerns were a top worry when Sysco first announced the deal in late 2013. The Federal Trade Commission ultimately filed a lawsuit earlier this year over concerns about the deal, which it said would have given the combined company 75% of the national market for distribution services. The FTC was worried that that would tilt the power too heavily in favor of the foodservice distribution service companies, hurting customers like restaurants, hospitals, hotels and schools, which could have faced higher prices.

When deals are killed by regulators, companies often try to ease the pain by announcing shareholder-friendly actions. That happened today, with Sysco announcing plans to spend an additional $3 billion to buy back shares over the next two years.

TIME Markets

Investors Are Terrified Greece’s Economy Is Falling Apart

Investors are terrified Greece is falling apart

It’s not quite panic, but it still ain’t pretty.

U.S. stocks are bracing for a bad start to the week after Greece’s debt crisis spiraled out of control at the weekend.

In pre-market trading, futures on the S&P500, the Nasdaq and the Russel 2000 are all down by 1% or more, following the lead of European markets which have taken a much harder beating as the risk of a Eurozone breakup looms afresh.

The main stock indexes in Europe fell by up to 4% across the board on opening Monday, and are down by between 2.3% and 3.9% by lunchtime (Athens’ stock market, like its banks, is shut).

On any normal day, that would be called a bloodbath in Europe, but memories of 2010 and 2012, when the Eurozone crisis peaked, are still fresh, and there seems to be a palpable sense of “well, that could have been worse.” Most markets hit their intra-day lows immediately, the main difference being the degree to which they have recovered since (Germany faring better than Italy and Spain).

True, the yields on government bonds in some of the Eurozone’s weaker countries have spiked on ‘contagion’ fears, as markets price in the risk that a Greek exit from the Eurozone would lead to a broader breakup: Italy’s 10-year yield has risen 21 basis points to 2.37%, Spain’s is up 20 basis points at 2.32%, and Portugal’s is up 31 basis points at 3.03% (a basis point is a hundredth of a percentage point).

Those are big changes, but the absolute levels are still a long way from 2012, when markets seemed on the verge of forcing all of those countries out of the Eurozone until ECB President Mario Draghi promised to do “whatever it takes” to preserve the Eurozone. Spain’s yields peaked at over 7.75%, Italy’s at over 7.5%.

Panic is still a long way away: Spain's 10-year bond yield since 2011.

“This story won’t get too out of hand unless we start to see any evidence that the Greeks are likely to vote No (at their referendum) on Sunday,” said Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid. “At this point the sell-off could get messy. If this doesn’t happen, the negativity may well be contained even if the story will be far from over.”

This market reaction won’t be to the liking of the Greeks, who’ll have been hoping for something stronger to underline the risks of a breakup,” said Christian Odendahl, chief economist at the Center for European Reform in London. “But it won’t be much comfort to the Europeans either, because it shows the markets are worried about what ‘Grexit’ would mean for the future of the Eurozone.”

Away from Europe, there is more nasty mood music coming from China, where the Shanghai market continued to unravel despite a cut in interest rates and reserve requirements from the central bank at the weekend. The Shanghai Composite closed down 3.3% after a 7.4% shellacking on Friday, amid reports that the army of retail punters who had driven the market up 150% since July are struggling to meet ‘margin’ calls on leveraged accounts.

Amid the carnage, investors looked for the safe haven of the dollar, as usual, but its rally early Monday has also now largely unwound. The euro is trading at $1.1118, down less than a cent from its close on Friday. Meanwhile, in the commodities markets, crude oil futures hit their lowest in three weeks on fears that financial market volatility could again hit global growth and, consequently, energy demand. By 0900 ET, they were at $58.61 a barrel, down around a dollar from late Friday.

TIME Web

Yelp Study Says Google Is Cheating in Search

Study finds Google is promoting its own content

New research claims that Google is gaming its search results in its own favor to the detriment of competitors.

Google has “increasingly developed and promoted its own content as an alternative to results from other websites,” according to the report co-authored by Michael Luca, a Harvard Business School economist, Tim Wu and the Yelp Data Science team.

And yes, Yelp, which lists reviews of businesses, is a competitor that has cried foul over Google search results in the past. Perhaps more to the point, Tim Wu is a former advisor to the Federal Trade Commission, which settled a suit with Google in 2013. In January 2013, Wu defended the FTC’s decision to settle, writing that Google won search results because it was a better search engine, not because of its wealth and influence in Silicon Valley and Washington D.C. power corridors, according to Re/Code.

Wu, has changed his mind about that, citing changes in how Google search works.

He told Re/Code:

“The main surprising and shocking realization is that Google is not presenting its best product. In fact, it’s presenting a version of the product that’s degraded and intentionally worse for consumers … “This is the closest I’ve seen Google come to [being] the Microsoft case.”

Those are very strong words. In 2001, a federal judge ruled that Microsoft acted in anti-competitive ways by parlaying its monopoly power in Windows into other areas of computing, namely web browsers. This judgement was thrown out on appeal, in part because the judge talked to the media while still hearing the case.

This research comes at a touchy time for Google which faces an antitrust investigation by the European Union.

Fortune reached out to Google for comment and will update this story as needed.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

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