When I left a well-paying, “secure” corporate job in 2000, I had never met a woman who voluntarily left a good job to do anything other than get married and have children. What I did over a decade ago is commonplace today, as more and more people are leaving (or being forced to leave) jobs to start businesses of their own. But what about all these new “jobless entrepreneurs” who are not leaving voluntarily to start new business? What can they do to maximize their chances of success?
One thing they can do is subscribe to my blog. Another is to listen to my interview with Rhonda Cook, author of Transitioning From Corporate America to Entreprenurship (affiliate link). You probably haven't heard of Rhonda, but whether you're about to leave a job or you have already left, you'll benefit from this interview covering some proactive steps you'll want to take and a few big mistakes to avoid. To listen, scroll to the bottom of this page and click the arrow. If you don't feel like listening, here is a summary of what Rhonda shared with me.
- Count the hidden costs of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship involves more than financial changes. It also requires lifestyle ones. Mothers in particular have think that having a business of their own will allow them to spend more quality time with their children. If this is you, stop right now and heed Rhonda's advice (and mine) that, while you will enjoy more flexibility as a business owner, you will not get increased uninterrupted time with your children. Plan for this as much as possible by doing such things as getting help with your kids, having regular family discussions about the impact of the business on the family, and being diligent about identifying your priorities and sticking to a schedule.
- What to take with you. Any successful business leader will tell you that your success in business will be determined in large part by the caliber of relationships you maintain and nurture. If you have a job now, you have a great view of how the at your company relate to one another. Observe how they do business together. What habits (both positive and negative) contribute to the company's day-to-day operations? Take notes, and then take the best of what you see with you to your new business.
- What to leave behind. The biggest thing you need to leave at your job is “corporate think, which Rhonda describes as the mindset that other people should make important decisions for you. You are especially prone to this if you had a job that did not afford you much autonomy at their jobs. Because you may be used to other people making tough calls, you could be indecisive and slow to react to situations that demand your immediate attention. Don't do this. Learn to assess situations quickly and then take decisive action so you can move on to the next milestone in your business.
Don't miss the part starting at 15:45 when I asked Rhonda to discuss the practical aspects of marketing a business while you have still have your job. This is important because many business books advise not to leave a job until you have established a business. Since you cannot establish a business without marketing it, this is a special challenge. Do you tell your co-workers? Should you risk setting up a website or FaceBook Page and having your boss find out that you're starting a business son the side? These are huge issues, and Rhonda shares some helpful insights.
About Rhonda Cook
Rhonda Cook is Chief Strategist and workshop facilitator at Khiron Bae Associates, LLC, which she owns. An entrepreneur for a decade, Rhonda has a passion to inspire and support entrepreneurs in building legacy organizations through strategic planning.
How to Listen to the Show
This post contains my paraphrases of the information Rhonda shared. To hear it from the horse's mouth yourself, listen to the entire 30-minute show using one of these options:
- Download it on iTunes. (It usually takes a day or two for iTunes to feed the show there.)
- Click on the arrow at the bottom of this post to listen now!
- Because I have not had a chance to load all of my shows to this blog, you can listen to hundreds of interviews from 2005 to 2010, each one as relevant today as it was when I recorded it, at my Indie Business Radio site.
Question: What do you think of Rhonda's ideas on going from corporate American to entrepreneurship? What questions or tips do you have about taking the plunge?