From Corporate Career to Being Your Own Boss
Thinking of ditching the corporate ladder? There’s more to consider beyond the bright idea and business plan when it comes to taking the leap. SAMANTHA CHAMBERS shares her insights on being better prepared.
The lure of pursuing a business idea is enticing and exciting, but it can be a long and hard journey if you dive in unprepared. Creating your own path to success, wealth and happiness isn’t beyond your reach. A smooth transition and getting off to a good start involves being mindful of the required new skillsets, behaviours and ways of working.
The following should be at the forefront of your mind:
Solid Foundations – Without the right foundations, a house will not stand. But the right foundations will set your business up for success and longevity. Having solid foundations means being clear on your ‘why’, your strengths and your vision. Why do you want to make the transition? It needs to go beyond simply not liking your job. Knowing your strengths ensures your future endeavours align to what you are good at and hence what you enjoy. Knowing where you and your business are going in the future will help with focus and having clear steps to get there.
Haters and critics – Not everyone is going to love your idea of leaving the security of a job. Those most likely to be judgemental will be close to you because of their concern for you or their own insecurities. Recognise where this may come from within your circle of family and friends. It’s important to be aware of this as their judgement can impact your confidence and create self-doubt. Don’t return the feeling, instead, believe in yourself, stay courageous and focus on the path ahead.
Network – According to John C. Maxwell, “Your network is your net worth.” The concept of working for yourself is somewhat of a misnomer if you want to be successful. Every successful business person has a good network of people around them. In addition to potential clients, it includes advisers, strategic partners, mentors, potential employees and the like. Both online and offline networking strategies are essential. It’s also important to realise that the real value may not lie with your direct network, but rather their networks.
Building Trust – Bob Burg famously said, “People do business with, and refer business to people they know, like and trust.” Building your brand and gaining trust should be key components of your sales and marketing strategies. Your resume will start to lose significance as a branding tool. Instead, develop your messaging and stories around your uniqueness and niche, the value you provide and the problem(s) you solve.
Cash is King – It’s no secret that running out of cash is one of the biggest reasons for small business failure. Careful budgeting and understanding your numbers is key to keeping your finances in check. As a guide, consider having enough cash to cover at least six months of expenses during transition.
Disciplined Mindset – Corporate environments provide structure via systems, policies and procedures. Outside the realms of a corporate office, this structure becomes loose and life and work will merge. The spare room becomes the office and working at 2 am can become a norm. Boundaries need to be set to ensure you achieve your outcomes, but also have time to live your life. Organisation, planning and prioritisation skills need to be at the fore, as well as defining how you intend to be accountable. To stay positive and focused, it’s also important to commit to looking after yourself and staying fit and healthy.
Anyone can make a successful transition if they have the drive and determination, are open to adopting some new ways of working and are willing to embrace the emotional roller coaster ride that comes with breaking free from the infamous comfort zone.
It’s been said that business success is ultimately 1% idea, 99% execution. So on top of everything else, there’s no point waiting to be ready.
Success will come through the simple step of getting started, and ultimately, taking action!