Going From a Corporate Job to Entrepreneurship - Part 1

The entrepreneur is at the center of an new venture. It is a challenging job, physically as well as emotionally. Knowing what lies ahead can help you prepare for these challenges. Read on to know what lies ahead if you are considering quiting your corporate job and become a full time entrepreneur.

Be Clear About Your Reasons

Entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park. Your business idea, the business that takes shape based on the idea and survival of the business will be the direct outcome of what you do as the promoter of the business. If you are not clear about why you want start and run this business, you will soon find yourself in a mess that is not going to be easy to get out of.

Think Hard About The WHYs

It is very important that you sit down with your self and think about why you want to do this. Some questions that might help you find your way are:

  1. Why do you need quit your job and start this company?
  2. Why do you have to start this venture instead of looking for another job?
  3. Why do you want to leave the comfort of a steady pay check and take this risky journey?

An article by Eric T Wagner on Forbes.com - 21 Reasons You Became An Entrepreneur - cites reasons that have compelled entrepreneurs to take the plunge. Some of these reasons might resonate with you.

Get Used to Less Money

Any business is going to need a lot of cash during the initial days. It is also going to take much longer than you expect for your business to start making money. So, before the start of your entrepreneurial journey, you will need to adjust your lifestyle, and save up enough money to sustain you and your family for at least one to two years.

World renowned speaker and author Brian Tracy, in this excellent video talks about how to save a big percentage of your income without getting bogged down in the process.

Start Valueing Money More

You need to start valuing money much than what you do now or used to earlier. It is going to be coming to you much more infrequently going forward. There will be months when you dont see a single rupee. You need to manage your expenses with sporadic income or none at all.

The article titled: How to Reduce Expenses talks about 10 ways to reduce your domestic expenses. Read it and start implementing the suggestions in your home.

Do Not Go Overboard with the Cuts

As much as you need to cur your expenses, do not go overboard with. You need to be practical and realize that any drastic change can lead to permanent or semi-permanent damages. For example, if you are weight training, you coach is going to ask you to add weights to your workouts in small increments. If you double the weights between consecutive workouts your are going to damage your muscles. In the same way you need to gradually bring down your expenses to manageable levels. At a level that family can live with.

Get Your Family to Support You

During the next 5 to 7 years you are going to need your family's support, more than you think you do. Your family will play a huge part in either relieving or adding to the stress you go through. You are going to be better off with their backing than without. Talk to all your family members and tell them clearly what you are going to do. Tell them how the financial and social situation is going to change going forward.

Managing Stress

The ability to manage stress is key for any entrepreneur and it is a skill that can be learnt. Many people think that the ability to manage stress is a talent, they couldn't have been more wrong. In this brilliant video, Brian Tracy, talks about how you can handle disappointments well, by thinking of it as a situation, that can be lived through, rather an a problem that is overwhelming.

People around (even those who love you) will try to pull you back to a Corporate Job

People hate taking trips where the destination is unknown. In the entrepreneurial journey the path and destination are both unknown. There will be a lot of people, who are gong to try and convince you (with a lot of conviction) that you are going to fail and that you should stop this madness. You will need to fortify and assure yourself that you need to do this, in spite of the unknown nature of the road ahead.

Create a Transition Plan

A famous quote by Winston Churchill goes like this,

"Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential".

The process of creating a plan is essential because it forces you to look at the unknown future from multiple angles. Your goal should be to plan how you are going to transition to being a full time entrepreneur.

This article titled - 5 Critical Steps to Take Before Quitting Your Job, talks about the importance of creating a transition plan and how to go about planning process.

Start something on the side

Contrary to popular belief the main job of an entrepreneur is not to take risks, but to eliminate them. When starting a new business there are many factors of risk, some more riskier than others. You should test all the riskier aspects of your business model while you are still employed and have the cushion of a steady paycheck.

Start your business on the side, on a small and manageable scale. Once you are able to identify the riskiest aspects and find ways to mitigate them, only then should you take the plunge into full time entrepreneurship.

An article written by Patrick Hull, explains how you can go about starting your business while keeping your day job.

Never Burn Bridges with Your Current and Past Employers

Your employers current and past are the ones that know and trust you more than any other potential customer that you can find out in the open market. They still value you and appreciate your skills. And for these reasons they might turn out to be your first few customers. Plan for getting in touch with your employer if your business model solves a problem that your employer might have.

Change (Of Any Kind) Is Hard

How you manage change is going to make a huge difference between your ability to ride and waves and valleys that are part of the entrepreneurial journey lying ahead of you.

Your family might be too scared for you to whole heartedly support you in a venture of risk. Make it easy for your family to support you.

  1. Keep them informed of the challenges and potential benefits that are to come if you jump headlong into entrepreneurship.
  2. Set their expectations about the changes about to happen in your lives.
  3. Explain all the risks involved and tell them clearly how you plan to mitigate the risks.
  4. Treat them like investors.

People Will Stop Taking Your Calls

Your relationships with your business contacts will change depending on how they perceive your decision to go into full time entrepreneurship. You will find that the number of your well wishers is going to go down. People may stop taking your calls fearing that you are calling them to ask for money, or worse, that you are going to try and sell them something.

You will need to manage your these changing relationships.

Entrepreneurship is a Long Marathon not a Sprint

Starting your own business is like running a long triathlon. Most of the time you will be competing with yourself rather than others. Be ready for a long journey, because tartups can take anywhere between 5 to 7 years to start seeing any traction.

Get Ready For an Adventure

In spite of the grim sounding advice that we say above, entrepreneurship is filled with adventure. It will bring you face to face with the real you. It will teach you to stand fast to your convictions and beliefs. It is the ultimate endurance test. Go forth and prepare yourself for the challenge.

PS: Look out for the second part of this article that is going be published on our website.