I was watching a Q&A presentation at a conference a while back. Several questioners said something along these lines: “I was so inspired by what you say that I decided to quit my job and start a new business!” And then the whole room broke out in applause.

Seen this sorta thing elsewhere too. Someone says, “I quit my job to follow my dream of [starting XYZ business/acting/whatever].” And everyone oohs and ahhs and says how great it is.

My problem with that: Quitting your job is easy. That, on its own, doesn’t deserve applause. If you quit and start something new and persevere for years and make it happen, then you deserve hosannas. But just quitting? Anyone can do that.

And starting something is only a little bit harder. It’s easy to start something. Following through is the tough part. Just look at the landscape of abandoned blogs that litter the web for proof of that.

Contrast that to the reaction people who keep their day jobs and build something on the side get. Actually, they don’t get much reaction at all. There are no dramatic, sweeping statements about quitting so people don’t care as much.

Too bad. Doing what you love on the side means you don’t have to risk everything immediately. You have a steady income so you’re less desperate. You can build it slowly until whatever it is is such a success that it justifies quitting your regular job. It’s a measured approach instead of a toss of the dice. Plus, you can easily turn around if you go down the wrong path (or lose motivation).

Maybe these “keep the day job and build it on the side” folks are the ones who really deserve the applause.