February 4, 2019
Have you ever dreamed of walking away from the daily grind and never looking back? The reality is that most people today don’t feel a real connection to their jobs. The latest Gallup State of the American Workplace report reveals that almost 70% of employees are disengaged at work or not engaged at all—they are just there. These statistics paint a bleak picture of corporate life. Yet, there are plenty of entrepreneurs out there making money doing what they love. If you’ve decided that you’d like to start a business, it is possible to turn that dream into a reality. The key to going from employee to entrepreneur is to know yourself, plan well and set realistic goals.
Here are five essential steps to make the transition successfully:
1. Reconnect with your authentic self
If you’ve been working in corporate America for a while, you may have become disconnected from the activities that brought you joy and meaning. It’s important to reconnect with your authentic self to discover your true purpose. The key is to find the intersection between what you enjoy and what you’re good at. This is the most critical phase in the journey from employee to entrepreneur because it serves as the foundation for the steps that follow. Asking yourself thought-provoking questions can help you to find clarity. Here are some examples:
- What are my gifts?
- What are my values?
- What gets me excited?
- What does my ideal life look like?
- What does success look like to me?
- What activities did I enjoy as a child?
- What do people compliment me on?
- What legacy do I want to leave behind?
- What activity can I do for hours and lose track of time?
- What would I do if I had all the time and money in the world and knew I couldn’t fail?
2. Turn that self-knowledge into business ideas
Once you have a strong sense of your purpose, the next step is to turn that information into potential business ideas. Is there a need for a business leveraging one or more of the things at which you excel? Many entrepreneurs conceive business ideas out of pain points that they are experiencing. By figuring out how to solve the problems that you or someone else has, you may be able to come up with an innovative idea that fills a specific gap in the market. It also helps to have a personal connection to your purpose so that you can devote the amount of time and energy it takes to launch a business. Aaron Patzer, the founder of Mint.com, says,
“the advice I have for entrepreneurs is number one, you need to solve a real problem. I look for those problems in my own life. Mint was because I had a challenge managing my own finances using Quicken and Microsoft Money. So, I built it for myself.”
Patzer ultimately sold Mint.com to Intuit for $170 million.
3. Research, test and start a side hustle
Next is the research phase. Go online, network, and reach out to experts in the field you’re interested in. Test the idea by asking your friends and relatives if it’s a product or service they could get excited about. Check to see if you might require additional education or certifications. You may be able to find a way to complete those courses on evenings or weekends while you’re still planning your corporate escape. Finally, consider starting a side hustle. Creating a side hustle is a good way to get your foot in the door while still having the security of your current job. According to a new Bankrate survey, nearly 4 in 10 Americans (37%) have a side hustle. Grant Sabatier, founder of Millennial Money and author of Financial Freedom says,” I encourage anyone who is interested in side hustling to try and look at your side hustling as a business – and then build that business.”
4. Create an escape plan
Once you create a side hustle, the next stage is to plan your corporate escape. Make sure you complete a financial analysis to understand how much funding you will need to get the business off the ground. Also, consider the amount of money you should set aside in the early days until your new venture can sustain itself. You’ll also need to decide what your company structure will be, pick a name for the business and register it. Location is another consideration—can you run the business from your home or will you need an office space? The most important thing is, put together a concrete timeline! A transition plan will help you stay focused and hold you accountable. Without a deadline, you won’t get any closer to being your own boss. Lastly, if you can, plan for some downtime in between leaving your corporate gig and starting a business. Taking time out to decompress from your nine-to-five job, so you’re fresh to start your new life will be well worth it.
5. Take the leap
The last step is to take the plunge. This is the scariest part. No matter how much planning and preparation you have gone through you are always going to feel fear when starting a business. That’s normal. The key is not to let fear prevent you from taking a step forward. There is never a right time to start a business so once you reach your deadline, take the leap. At that point, go all in and don’t look back. Leading a fulfilling life doing what you love is possible. It just takes patience, persistence, planning and most of all passion.
To read the full article, please visit Forbes.com.