From Corporate Life to Entrepreneurial Life: Tips for Success

by Guest Author on January 4, 2013

Starting your own business can be thrilling – and terrifying. The desire to utilize your skillsets to make the most for yourself, to be your own boss and to life a life outside the corporate grind are all reasons to start a business, but transitioning from the corporate world to the life of an entrepreneur can be tricky. Here are a few tips to help ease the transition.

Add structure to your day – One of the best reasons to become an entrepreneur is also one of the most difficult aspects of transitioning from a corporate life to owning your own business – and that’s working from home and for yourself. Without a set time, a manager or a time card, it’s easy for the unstructured among us to have difficulty managing our workload. Create a workspace in your home that reflects an office environment (i.e., computer, phone and office supplies handy, lots of light and a comfortable chair.) Get dressed and start your day at the same time as you would in your office. Stop for a lunch break. Although being an entrepreneur often means you’ll be working more (and longer) hours, you should still try to create a structure to keep you in the working mindset. Assess the structure of your environment, which includes the physical and non-physical elements of your day, using these simple steps.

Set goals – Structuring your day will help you transition in the short term, but concrete and attainable goals should be part of your long-term transition plan. Create goals for yourself and for your new business. Set a realistic time frame to meet your goals, and assess the goals regularly. As an entrepreneur, you’re reporting to yourself, so be frank as you assess and make changes as you go along. Use the SMART system to help you plan your goals and turn them into results.

Get support – Transitioning from a corporate job to an entrepreneurship is difficult enough on its own, but can be made difficult by having a negative mindset and lack of support. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Make sure your spouse or significant other is on board and supportive of the transition. Forget self-limited beliefs and myths about entrepreneurs (bad economy, uncertainty, eminent failure) and think positively. Rely on mentors or others in the industry to help encourage you in the highs and lows of owning your own business. Join a group, like the National Association for the Self-Employed, to help you stay on track and discover a network of others who are taking the leap.

Create a plan – In transitioning from a corporate job to an entrepreneurial lifestyle, you’ll be jumping from comfort to uncertainty. To make the transition less of a huge change, have a solid plan in place long before you make the jump. While you’re still at corporate, save as much money as you can as a safety net. Create a solid business plan and do as much research as you can about your industry, market and products and services. If possible, set the groundwork for your business while you’re still at your corporate job by working nights and weekends to get a head start. Your financial house should be in good order before you make the jump, and it is also helpful to determine things like health insurance, transportation and other arrangements that you’ve been accustomed to having at your corporate job. Remember, you shouldn’t leave your corporate job for an entrepreneur job just because you’re dissatisfied – that’s not enough of a plan. Working for a corporation or large employer is a job – starting your own business is a lifestyle choice and is not for everyone. Here you can find the steps to researching, writing and updating your plan.

About the Author: Samuel Clemens is a former educator who shunned the corporate lifestyle to become an entrepreneur. When he’s not inspiring others, Samuel can be found reviewing sample college application essays for Gradesaver.

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