It’s a big step to jump ship from a salaried corporate job and start your own business, but solid preparation will pave the way for a less stressful transition, according to media company CEO Carlos Gil, writing for Entrepreneur.
Having been through the process himself, Gil knows how insecurity and self-doubt can devour a budding entrepreneur’s ambition. Big challenges, such as how you will cope with wearing a myriad hats without the backup of bosses and co-workers, are bound to pray on your mind and even put you off the idea altogether.
Then there are the financial considerations, like how you will pay your mortgage if you don’t find enough clients, and whether you will still be able to afford meals out and foreign holidays.
LAY THE GROUNDWORK
To help remove some of the fear, Gil has come up with some pointers that can make working for yourself a less scary and more realistic proposition.
1) Ask yourself why you want to start your own business. Not loving what you do, not liking your boss or thinking your skills are undervalued can all be good reasons for breaking away on your own rather than staying put.
2) Get a feel for what it’s like to run your own company before you take the plunge. Freelance consulting is a useful option for independent working if you have plenty of experience in your field. See what it’s like at first hand to send out proposals and invoices.
3) Create a solo identity and get noticed while you still have job security. Clients and other professionals will probably see you as part of the high-profile company that employs you, rather than as an individual. Work on being recognised for your unique voice and skills by engaging more on social media, speaking at conferences or guest writing for relevant publications.
4) Tell trusted colleagues about your plans. Harness their knowledge and advice, as well as their potential for introducing you to companies or individuals who need expertise like yours.
5) Save up the equivalent of at least six months’ salary to tide you over. Gil says: “A year before leaving my corporate job I picked up a client (ironically from a free speaking gig), which afforded me the ability to save cash that would eventually buy me a runway.”
6) Make sure you already have at least one or two paying clients before leaving your job. Stressing about having no income will steal your focus away from getting your business off the ground effectively.
7) Tell your own unique personal story far and wide as you go along. Make Facebook and Instagram your daily outlet for progress reports. Use media like YouTube and LinkedIn to share more in depth information, including video.
It’s never easy to start a new venture on your own, but preparing yourself well and tapping into all the leads and assistance available will make the process look more attractive and achievable.