There is a delicate balance of risk and reward when considering leaving your corporate job to pursue your dreams of working for yourself. Creating comfort in decision-making through a methodical process will help you feel empowered in your choice and in control of your professional life.
Once you identify this as a goal for yourself, you will probably feel excited, and nervous, totally understandable. Just take a step back and realize though that you cannot just march into your office with your resignation letter in your hand on a whim.
Being impulsive in this arena could lead to a huge mistake and cause you to undo stress that planning could alleviate. Do not let these facts detour you, rather let them guide you and help mold you into a success story.
Allow the planning stages to keep the desire to get to your end game alive and use them as the foundation of what will be a success story once you take the plunge completely.
Identify if You are Qualified in Your Next Field
Starting your own business might require you to have different educational credentials than you currently have, which can take some time to earn, and to pay for.
Do your research and figure out if you will need to go back to school or take an online course before venturing out on your own, and if you do have to, how you will pay for it.
Depending on your credit score and income you can investigate taking out private student loans without a cosigner.
Borrowing money on your own gives you the freedom to handle your student loan options, and subsequent debt and repayment plan, without considering how it will affect someone else, or how that someone else could possibly hinder your plan.
This is the time to exhaust your research efforts, compare all possibilities for lenders, and interest rates, and ask questions.
When you are still in the contemplation stage, you are in control, and do not have the pressure of time or deadlines possibly pushing you towards hasty decision making.
Create Your Business Plan
Clearly, planning is the theme here, and for good reason. Your business plan is going to serve as your entrepreneurial bible throughout every stage of this process, and be the reference guide for any investors, employees, marketing professionals, and even accountants and financial advisors. Spend some time creating, proofing, and perfecting this model. Lay out everything that you think is important, and then being to organize into a more formal format. There are tools all over the internet that offer what are typically free, templates, to get you started when you do not know where to start. Listed below are some key points to include in your business plan that lend themselves to any idea/product/market and can serve as the beginning steps of your own personalized business plan.
- Business overview including executive summary
- Objectives and vision, mission statement
- Info about the market/industry you are entering
- The team you will need/build
- Strategy for marketing, operations, and financing
Examine Your Current Budget
Take a serious look at your current budget, which is likely based on your corporate salary. Pick it apart section by section and identify the areas that are nonnegotiable no matter what your income is. Some examples are housing, existing loans, and outstanding debts. Doing so will allow you to see where you can make changes in how you are saving and spending today, to make room for any incidentals that will pop up once you no longer have the safety net of your salary. It may take a while to see a significant profit margin once you branch out on your own, so think that when deciding when to cut the cord. It is also important to remember who else will need to pull from your company’s earnings, employees, landlords, investors, lenders, this is why creating a business plan as mentioned before is critical because it will show you in black and white, who gets paid out and in what order, so that you can be prepared to potentially work for free for a period of time.
Do Not Burn Any Bridges
Transitioning out of working for The Man and working for yourself is a thrilling privilege, and an admirable risk that not just anyone can afford to take. You should not make this about getting away from a bad job, and bad boss, or a bad corporate environment. Instead make it about the positivity that is attached to new opportunity and being challenged in a different way. Keep that same positive attitude when you formally quit. Leave on good terms and recognize that even though you do not intend to work with or for those people anymore, you may still need the references and contacts they provide. Leaving without proper notice, having a poor attitude during your last bit of tenure there, and indulging in office gossip will not serve you well in the future. Maintain the sparkling reputation you spent all those years building and leave on a high note, your former employers and coworkers could one day serve as your biggest advocates and supporters.