Making the Leap From Corporate to Entrepreneurship
At the end of June 2003, I chose to leave a very secure job in banking to start over as an executive coach. Although I’d been in business for myself prior to joining the bank, it had been almost five years. During my time there, I had the privilege of working with a great team that cared deeply for their clients and believed in the direction we were heading.
But it wasn’t enough for me, and I knew it was time to become a full-time executive coach. I leapt from the security of a regular paycheck – days dictated by a strict culture with high stress and expectations, back to the unknown and a new business.
As I told my team, it’s not that I wanted to go; it’s that I couldn’t stay. I had to try my hand at entrepreneurship, and the opportunity to work with individuals who wanted more success, ease, greatness and control in their own lives. Now, I’m ecstatic helping my clients find exactly that–whether they’re in the corporate world or working solo.
Here are some tips and action items that’ll help you get & stay focused in your new role of an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship: Is it for you?
Are you the kind of person who relishes the role of entrepreneur? Do you love the thrill of victory? Can you handle the agony of defeat? And in either case: Will you try again?
There are tons of businesses in existence, but yours must reflect you to truly be successful. Can you connect with your ideal client and tell the story of your business in a way that’s powerful for both you and the listener?
Who’s on your team of experts to help you in your role as an entrepreneur? Who’s your coach? It’s all about people-and “people” is also about you, those you help, and those who make you successful.
ACTION ITEM: What will I do today to become more successful – what people will I connect with to advance my goals? Do I need a coach to play my best business game?
Profitability: Defining the business of your business.
As an entrepreneur, you’re full of great ideas and you know how to implement them. However, it’s easy to lose sight of the daily need to stay profitable. Leaving a paycheck is never easy-yet, the thought of owning your own business can be very tempting. It’s important to know what your business model looks like and how long it’ll take you to be profitable. Do you have financial reserves as you build your business? Can you afford to be a professional businessperson (i.e. website, business cards, marketing and advertising, office space, etc.)? You’ll attract business as you become a business!
And please don’t underestimate the importance of the desire and need to be profitable. This isn’t magic-it’s a well-planned strategy to turn your passion into a career. Don’t give away your product or services, because good intentions don’t pay the bills! (A book on this subject that I strongly recommend is Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich.)
So, what does pay the bills? Good work that’s honored through revenue. So, begin with the desire to make a life through your passion and the work you do–and be paid to do it. If you’re truly tapping into your passion, that’s the foundation of a great business-and great businesses fail less. However, if the stress of making money is so great that you can’t survive slower times and a tough economy, proceed with caution. Remember: Profitability is about running a business that sustains itself and brings a profit to you.
ACTION ITEM: What will I do today to become more profitable, both personally and professionally? What do I believe about being profitable and what model am I working from or creating? What people will I connect with to advance my goals? Do I need a coach to play my best business game?
Strategy: What’s in your business playbook?
The overall strategy for building your business is something you should think about every day. The key components to a good strategy aren’t magic nor secret-it’s simply hard work, focus, effort, discipline–and a burning desire to create something you can see clearly.
With strategy comes the question of your transition from corporate to entrepreneurship. When is the right time? The answer: When you’re willing to live with the consequences of your decision. If you’re considering transitioning while working at your current job, remember–part-time is tough! How much can you work on your business if you’re also working for someone else? And if you’re working after hours, finding a convenient time for both you and your clients can be a real issue. If you have a product, will you be available to speak with your customers and ship items in a timely manner?
Being an effective and successful entrepreneur requires you to be completely present and listening & responding on multiple levels. If you stretch yourself too thin, you may not succeed. Strategy is about having a plan that you’re prepared to implement and then live with the outcome.
ACTION ITEM: What will I do today to develop my strategy for succeeding in my existing business or building a new one? What people will I connect with to advance my goals? Do I need a coach to play my best business game?
Leap when you’re ready to leap-but when you do, do it with joy and abandon. Business is a risk – but success comes from risk that is calculated and well-planned. Be prepared for success by knowing what it will take for you to be successful.