Making the jump from corporate to entrepreneur is a tough but worthwhile pursuit.
You’ve heard the advice time and time again: Just do it.
In a perfect world, you’d be able to save up at least a year’s worth of income, quit your job and pursue your entrepreneurial venture with no career or job-based distractions. It’s the savings part that holds most people back.
You can’t let fear or not having a nest egg stop you from your dreams. Investors often ask if you have any other jobs, and what they’re looking for is a hard, honest no. If you can’t give them that, it says you’re not fully invested in your dream.
The good news is there are are other ways to generate income or an emergency fund, such as downsizing. Rent out your home if you own it and you can break even or make money, and rent out a smaller apartment for yourself. Sell what you don’t need. However, there’s more to this tough transition than funding.
Here are some of the most important steps to take when taking the plunge, to avoid running back to the corporate grind:
- Manage Your Fears
It’s natural to feel fear when you’re first entering entrepreneurship — or at least uncertainty. Have a strategy in place to handle your fear, starting with planning months in advance. For some people, considering every possible worst case scenario and coming up with more than one solution for each can be a great help. This can help you see that failure won’t break you. In some instances, people are even afraid of success. “Mo’ money, mo’ problems,” and all that. Setting priorities to avoid losing friends or avoid leaving your hobbies is a great way to bypass this.
- Nurture Your Network
You have a bevy of options available for building your “new” network. Start joining online networks related to your industry (LinkedIn has a bunch), go to local meetups and find out where the big conferences are. The more people you meet, the higher the chance they’ll become a client, mentor, investor or partner. Search out thought and industry leaders and start building relationships.
- Build Skills
Coming from the corporate world, you already have many highly desired skills, but there’s no such thing as too many. Start reading blogs, seek out a coach, take courses (online or not) and use other means of learning. A lot of entrepreneurs have one-track minds and stick with what they’re good at. However, leadership at the entrepreneurial level is different and many highly successful entrepreneurs are jacks of all trades, not specialists.
- Make Your Entire Financial World a Startup
You know the basics of financing for a startup (seriously trimming the fat), so now add that knowledge to your personal finances. You can guess the basics, like when you’ll likely get a business loan, what your startup costs are and what the overhead is. To succeed, seek out great deals, barter and downsize from your original dream of a brick and mortar place to an e-shop (for now). Use the same cost-savings strategies personally.
Moving from the corporate world to the startup world can involve growing pains, but focus on the growth aspect. There will be obstacles, but they are surmountable with the right outlook and planning. Remember: success often takes longer than you think, sometimes even years, but you’ve already climbed the corporate ladder and are prepared for greatness.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Image Credit: CC by Stig Nygaard.