Sometimes as hard as we try to make it work inside the organization we work for, the environment no longer serves us well. And, we are no longer able to serve it well. Despite our best efforts to adapt to and even change the culture and environment, we keep getting the nudge to leave, to start something new, to go out on our own. This is a big and exciting step to take and one that requires courage, the right mindset, planning, and positive expectation. Becoming an aspiring entrepreneur can be one of the scariest and most rewarding things you will ever do!
Here are a few key things to keep in mind as you prepare to leave your corporate job and go out on your own. They can help make the transition smoother and also help ensure your next step is a successful one.
Have the Right Mindset
When you make the choice to leave your corporate job and go out on your own, you want to take that step with a clean slate. This means ensuring you’ve dealt with your professional issues and struggles. Yes, it’s true that often times people leave their jobs because the environment is no longer suited to them and feels toxic; however, we all play a role in the experience we have. We are co-creators of that experience so it’s important to look at if and how you contributed to what prompted you to leave the job.
If you don’t work through your issues and struggles, they tend to follow you.
The other piece of having the right mindset is to be positive about your next step and surround yourself with others who are also positive about it. There will be plenty of people who will naysay what you’re doing and why you’re leaving your job. If possible eliminate these people from your life. If that’s not possible, spend as little time with them as you can. As you first go out on your own, chances are you’ll have your own internal self-doubt to deal with and you don’t need to exacerbate that with non-supportive people in your life. Find your tribe. They’re out there – they will lift you up and help you out when you most need it and will celebrate your successes with you. This feeds your ability to maintain a positive mindset.
Have a Financial Plan
Most aspiring entrepreneurs don’t start out with a consistent pipeline of clients, and depending on the type of business you’re creating, you might need time to build inventory or product and service lines. You want to ensure you’re leaving your corporate job with enough finances in the bank for you to feel comfortable. This is a different number for everyone as we all have different financial needs and responsibilities. It’s incumbent upon you to figure out, in advance, how much you will need to sustain yourself for, I’d say, at least six months. (And for some it may be longer). It takes time to get consistent paying clients. Figure out what you will need to get through that time. Know your number. Have a cushion. This makes the idea of leaving a steady paycheck behind feel less scary and gives you more confidence in the direction your heading.
I remember when I first started my own business I had a fairly detailed business plan. And then I realized business plans are made to change and also to be broken. Having one is important but so is not being attached to it.
Things will change and you want to be detached enough from your plan to be able to accommodate the changes that will occur. Opportunities will arise that you didn’t expect and you don’t want a business plan to be the dictator of whether or not you accept those opportunities. In addition, some opportunities that you did expect won’t come to fruition – this is all part of running a business. Keep your mind open to all possibilities so you don’t cut off the potential opportunities. Flexibility is key. If you think things are supposed to happen or unfold a certain way, you’re liable to have blinders on and miss other opportunities that could potentially be more fruitful. Be flexible. Be curious. Explore everything and attach to nothing. It will make your journey much more free flowing.
These are just a few of the things that helped me have a smooth transition out of the corporate world and into life as a business owner. Do you have other ideas and suggestions to add to this? Please join our conversation on this topic over in the coach-moderated Career Forum. We’d love to hear from you!
Take charge of your career development to get the job that supports your work and your life. Check out the tools and resources in the InPower Coaching Career Center.