On 18 June 2006, I jumped out of a plane. On 20 March 2014, I jumped off the corporate ladder. Two life changing moments not too dissimilar!
Similar to skydiving, leaving the comfort of a job to set up your own business can be daunting and risky. It can also be fulfilling, rewarding and exciting. Ultimately it’s about survival and hence knowing elements that can contribute to success in creating the path to the life you deserve.
For those hesitant in taking the leap, it is safe to assume many fear failure or are concerned about lack of security or lack of expertise. Some have a great idea though just don’t know where to start.
One of the hardest things about starting a business is: you don’t know what you don’t know. Gathering insights and finding out what you need to know makes the transition much easier because it alleviates the uncertainty and doubt.
Here are 3 strategies to consider. The list is by no means exhaustive. They are key ones that stand out from my own experiences and have particular benefit for those coming from an established corporate background.
Planning – Spend time building foundations
It’s exciting and enticing to jump in and set up a company, create a website and spread the word you are in business though you are less likely to get a favourable outcome if you haven’t properly considered the foundations.
In the same way that a house doesn’t get built properly if the foundations aren’t put in place properly, so too is the risk of not setting yourself up for success at the beginning in business. Things like articulating your why, vision, understanding where your strengths lie, and having plans in place for set up and marketing are all important.
Sure there will be times when you will just need to work things out as you go and be flexible and adaptable. Though having plans and structure as a base certainly help when the things you don’t have control over pop up.
Performance – Focus on your discipline
Corporate environments provide structure. There are policies, procedures, start times, finish times, hierarchies etc. When you start working for yourself this structure becomes loose. There is no one to look over you. There is no boss to answer to.
Having a disciplined mindset for how you manage your time, your finances and generally managing yourself and others is key.
Time discipline is being mindful you are spending your time on the right things. Financial discipline is about knowing how much you need to make a start and then being analytical and thorough with reviewing your finances, in particular cash flow.
When it comes to managing yourself and others, it’s good to note that it’s not so much about work/life balance when you are in business. It’s more about work/life integration. Organisation and prioritisation skills need to be at the forefront to be able to achieve your business outcomes and to also have time to live your life.
Having discipline also involves being consistent too. That involves being committed to your business goals and actively pursuing them on a regular basis. There’s no such thing as overnight success. Success comes through an element of patience and consistency.
People – Surround yourself with a good network
When you enter the business owner world, you are entering a space that is unfamiliar and while it sounds grand, being your own boss is a tough gig.
Surrounding yourself with good people including coaches, mentors, advisers, those who have been there done that for example, is a great way to help you understand what you need to be aware of.
I have had help from mentors/coaches on my journey and will continue to do so. It has not only helped with clarity and expertise but also accountability, motivation and feedback.
The critical element that sits across all these strategies is that of taking action and turning a thought or an idea into an outcome. So if your ideal outcome is to be your own boss then strap yourself in and get ready to take the leap!