This article was first featured in the Women’s Network Australia, ‘Working Women’ magazine.
A decision to alter a career path from being an employee to being your own boss is one that involves significant change. In addition to the different types of tasks and ways of working that ensue,there is also a requirement for adjustments in attitude, behaviours and approach to align to the change in direction. Here are some of the required mindset shifts that should be considered when stepping off the employee career path.
It’s commonplace for an employee to identify themselves as a representative of the company they work for through their experience and via a job title, for example, an accountant who works as a financial controller at XYZ company. To be successful at being your own boss, you need to be more than just a title. One way to do that is to develop your reputation and brand. Not only does that help create identity, it serves as a way to differentiate yourself and rise above the competition. It doesn’t matter whether that’s your personal brand or that of your business. As long as your uniqueness, your values, and knowing what you want to be known for, are clear.
In the same way there isn’t a magic pill to reach the higher heights of the corporate ladder, there isn’t always a magic pill to reach success when starting your own venture. While you may come up with great ideas easily, the hard work exists in following through to execution. According to Guy Kawasaki, “Ideas are easy, implementation is hard.” There isn’t a one size fits all approach to any element of business idea implementation including sales strategies, marketing approaches and the like. Hence the mindset to get things done, as well as to explore different approaches and options to achieve your objectives, is key.
As an employee, there are plenty of people around to make sure you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing.Within the corporate space, you have dependence. When you move to entrepreneurship or business ownership, you move to independence as well as interdependence. With those shifts come more accountability.Taking ownership of your decisions and taking responsibility for your actions is required when you are in charge. The buck ultimately stops with you when it comes to results and outcomes.In the absence of a boss, having a good mentor can help to keep you accountable.
A decision to change career paths is just the first step in a series of changes. Being resilient and continuing to adapt and change on an ongoing basis will be essential for success and longevity. There’s the constant state of flux in learning new things and staying up to date with trends, technology and impacts that affect your business and industry. Using sport as an analogy, the best athletes are those that recover quickly from setbacks and move on. Similarly, in business, the ability to manage thoughts, feelings and emotions when the going gets tough is essential. Improved resilience means you’ll be more effective in your ability to make decisions, manage risk and manage your business outcomes.
Making a big career move isn’t something to be taken lightly. However when embarking on something so substantial, it is easy to develop the attitude of ‘it is something to do one day, not right now’. The problem with this approach is that it may never happen and it will continue to be something that is put off until the ‘right time’. For some, the feeling of being ready is needed to make the move however in reality this is an excuse for not taking action. There never really is a right time. There will always be other things happening in life and career, and competing priorities to juggle.
Just making the simple first step of taking initiative to make a commitment and get started forces you to get ready now. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you really have to! As Michael Jordon famously said, “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
Is it time to reassess where your mind is at around life and career?Is it also time to consider mindset shifts that will need to take place for you to define your ideal career path?