There are thousands of people out there working nine to five jobs with dreams of breaking free from the system and starting their own business. I’ve done it, and I always try to encourage others with these same ambitions to ‘find their own way’ to go for it. But never say goodbye to life as an employee without knowing exactly what you’re getting into as an entrepreneur.
Here are a few things you will need to know about taking that leap:
- You’re going to be in for some long hours. There’s no way of getting around it; when you first start out as an entrepreneur, you’re going to be working a lot more than you did when you had your nine to five office job. It takes a long time to get a business up and running to the point where you can take a step back and breathe. 25 years in I’m still cranking out 60-plus hour weeks every week. But if this is a business idea that you’re truly passionate about, it won’t matter so much to you. Just make triple sure that your loved ones are ready for the change, too.
- You’ll be wearing many hats. You won’t be able to afford to hire people for every aspect of your new venture right off the bat. You’ll be in charge of many things yourself, ranging from overall leadership to tech support to marketing to service delivery and much more. Be sure that you are comfortable handling a wide range of responsibilities. If you don’t do it, it probably won’t get done.
- You may feel isolated. This is especially true if you’re leaving a big company where you had lots of friends in the office. When you get started as an entrepreneur, it’s likely going to be just you for a period of time. This could be a shock to your system if you’ve never worked outside of a traditional office environment. From day one, find ways to include meaningful human interaction in your work. Coaches and mentors are a great place to start.
- You will need to be able to set your own schedule. As an employee, your days are pretty much scheduled out for you before you even step into the office. It takes much more self-control to be able to work as an entrepreneur, because you have to plan out your own daily schedule. This means you’ll also need to learn how to prioritize tasks and manage your time appropriately.
- You won’t find success right away. This last point might seem rather obvious, but it’s worth reminding you that you’re probably not going to have a high level of comfort with your new venture right off the bat. You’re going to have to take some risks, and it will likely take time before you reach a reasonable level of success. But if you have reasonable goals in mind, take effective daily action, and stay on track, you can get there. And it’s a great feeling when you do!
I’m not trying to turn anyone off from jumping into a new life as an entrepreneur. But after the safety and relative security of a full time position in an established organization, it’s important that you are aware of what to expect before you take the lead.
Think it through, ask for help, recruit your advisors, write out your plan, and then execute every day. You’re worth it!
John J. Hall, CPA
John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events.
Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”