Are you ex-corporate who started your own business?
If so, what was the hardest, funniest, strangest thing that happened to you when starting/setting up your business OR what advice would you give specifically to a corporate professional who is now going out on their own?
Out of nowhere, I had to quit my dream job.
I started my career with Coca-Cola Australia.
But, as much as I loved it, I had to let go.
I’d been blissfully ignorant of one fact: I was a ticking bomb.
I was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney disease.
My business empire crumbled before my eyes as the treatment took more and more of my time.
At that point, I knew I had to start my own path.
Hell and high water came.
I’d tried everything.
I was lonely, I had zero cash, and I was overworking myself.
In a cry for help, I turned to others.
I heard about a gathering of like-minded business owners called a Mastermind.
I connected and shared my troubles and ideas. I was welcomed, accepted, and I was given solid advice.
Today, as the owner of Build Live Give Club, I help founders successfully transition from corporate to startup and scale their businesses globally.
We make this happen by teaching founders how to use the right platforms for scaling and connect them to the right people in order for their business to grow.
So if you’re struggling to unlock profit and time in your business, ask yourself:
Are you surrounding yourself with the right people to help you create the life and dream business that you want?
I think the most difficult thing I needed to do was to refine and define what it was I really wanted to do.
When I first started my business, my model was based on being constantly busy and trying to make money. I undercharged and never turned work away, so I was constantly busy, trying to keep up with multiple deadlines. I nearly got burnt out.
I started work with a business coach who got me to define the scope of what I would do and wouldn't do, raise my rates and create a business plan. Life is much better.
Be objective about what your weaknesses are and what you need to do to make yourself stronger in that area or areas
First, yes. Go for it.
Second, as soon as you can, get advice from experts in start-ups. The Small Business Administration is my preference. You can also go to the SCORE agency in your locality. There are Small Business Development Centers in many cities, often associated with a community college. Best to work with the one in your own city or town.
Great Great Question.
You know what they say is the fast place between two points? Well, setting up a your own business is not a straight line. I can promise you that.
My experience in the corporate world led me to be shocked how specific of a task you got to performing. All the while not having a clue how 95% of the other business worked.
When you set out on your own, you literally have a be a jack of all trades. Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Sales, Executive, HR. You need to be able to do all of this by flipping between tasks one to another.
the question interest me so much. The first time I retired as corporate lawyer at my office, my question is asking for what will I be for next period of my life. where should i get the job, How could i financed my family........many things.
But by the time goes by, the barrier slowly but sure is accomplished. flowing like water, belief in GOD THE MIGHTY, DO YOUR BEST, BE A USEFULL PERSONS IN EVERY WHERE I GO. My mother used to say...... lizard (In my country namely Cicak). they can eat mosquitoes while they just hanging on the wall and the mosquitoes can fly any the like. don't worry GOD never choose a wrong person in giving HIS BENEFITS.
MY ideas maybe sally, and ordinary ideas.
I started my own business in 1989 and my first contract was a disaster. I encounter a difficult problem when preforming work for a South America company that was owned by their government. I performed and finished about three quarter of contract for the company and the president of that country was kicked-out of office and the country. This South American company would not honor the contract until the new president would approve the debt. It took over four years to receive payment. But I did not stop working instead I pushed for better situations by preforming work as a third party contractor for large and strong companies such ExxonMobil, Oxy, Shell, KBR and others. I also perform most of my contracts in the USA but was lucky to work in foreign countries.
My working situations have been good not terrific or intensity throughout my twenty-seven years of owning my business. I have learned to be ready for the “bad times” but apparently there are times I cannot control some of the circumstances such as higher expensive due to tax and employees’ health care. A good example of the "bad times" is the present government (staff) all I can do is to ride this stint-out and maybe I can recuperate.
Joe R. Garcia, Jr.
The other day we actually made a 5min video exactly about this. It features 3 ex-corporates (including myself) who took the leap and share their experiences. Check it out on http://www.bd-insider.com/bba-program
Stay hungry. Stay foolish - Late Mr. Steve jobs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd_ptbiPoXM
Powerful and highly inspirational. Try not to get into working for your business again. Get the business working for you.
Have patience, & allow time for income to arrive unless you have a pending or known client or potentials clients which are warm leads. Network with your peers or use social media.
leverage your time, ie get someone to do jobs you are not keen on doing or those which are of a lower monetary value than your hourly weekly rates.
Use public transport to utilise your time on the phone / taking notes /reports etc if you drive you get both tired and its wasted time! ideally get someone else too..
Use your time to utilise both personal & professional time ie holidays part of day with family other work that way you get both..
hope this helps
Wow, what great responses. And for those of you confused, I apologize for not explaining the purpose of my question - assumed my profile would.
I am an ex-corporate executive who went out on my own in 2008 (forced is more like it).... I do have my own consulting and coaching business (w/ medium to large customers), though I do have many corporate folks who ask me for advice; which I will leverage your insights below and even refer them out to those that support those in transition.
The purpose of my question was to garner examples of the trials and tribulations - ok, mishaps and struggles, corporate folks go through when leaving and starting their own gig - to stimulate ideas for my screenplay (Confessions of a Corporate B!tch - from my book). Though I am using many of my own stories, I am in a rut for ideas. Many of you provoked some funny ideas. I hope that clarifies some things.
Note: I certainly learned some things for myself, let alone others...that I definitely plan to heed. Thank you.
Hardest thing: Choosing one specific thing, and stay in my lane.
Strangest thing: Executive coaching session with new client. Within the first 30 minutes we were deep into a discussion which felt a lot more like marriage counseling than coaching.
Funniest thing: Watching a late night email argument between a GM and Owner. I was copied on each exchange, as were the other GMs from various locations. We found ourselves silently begging him to stop. Please don't send the next volley. And then, here it would come. It ended badly, but was hilarious in retrospect. A true learning moment for this young leader.
Advice - Don't join the parade. Find a meaningful way to differentiate. Make the why bigger than the what.
First, i loved the answers above. Learned a lot.
Second, from my small journey i learned that it is the journey from "following the rules" to "following your guts". While starting up a business gives freedom to follow your guts, it also is a challenge to take decision based on your guts without allowing external factors to distract you.
One of the biggest challenges people face when going from working a job to running their own Business is learning how to stop thinking like an "Employee for a Company" and start thinking like a Business Owner. For example, you work 8 hours a day doing a job that consists of a family of tasks and go home. When running your own Business, you may be working 5-6 full time positions all wrapped into one thing that takes at least 16 hours a day until you can afford to hire employees. People forget that when they leave their shift and go home, there's usually someone who comes in behind them to pick up the work on 2nd and 3rd shift. Which means if you're doing it all alone you're cutting productivity and slowing yourself down by stopping to sleep at some point..... which kinda sucks.
Another thing is getting use to the difference in being paid. Even though good running Businesses have a steady stream of income on a daily basis, their biggest chunks of income comes from seasonal bursts where they may make $250,000 in a weekend.... but only make $30,000 over the next 2 months. Starting out it kinda sucks because you could get a week long project that pays $10,000..... but you don't know yet whether that's a lot of money or not because you don't know what the next couple months are looking like, so if you go and spend $7,000 right away... and don't make a dime for the next month and a half... and your living expenses are $2,200 a month.... you're screwed.
Then aside from the skill you're in Business doing for money... there's the skill of "making money" that has to be developed.... which a lot of people don't consider starting out. They think just because they're phenomenal at what they do all they have to do is put out some advertising and marketing to show how good they are and people will eventually start coming.... nothing is farther from the truth of the reality. Then when people do come to them, they choke up and don't know how much they should charge for a project because while they may have over a decade experience performing the task at hand and just grabbing supplies and materials off a shelf the company keeps stocked, they've never been in the position to have to quote an overall job and order the materials.
Another hard lesson is getting over the format of how their wages should work. As an employee you start with "low pay" and work hard to get raises so over time you make more money.... they apply this philosophy to their Business figuring they have to "start small and work my way up" and wind up DROWNING THEIRSELF because they're not charging enough. A Business doesn't take its' prices down when they hire a new employee and raise them as they give raises... their prices are the same regardless, people need to start thinking along those lines and charge appropriately.
People also assume that they can increase their profit margin by doing everything inhouse.... forgetting that everything they do inhouse is another responsibility that SOMEBODY is going to have to pick up... whether it's them working long days doing it all or hiring somebody else to take care of it. Then if they don't happen to be an expert in that area of the process they wind up costing theirself more than it would cost to hire another company to take care of it for you.... or there's extra costs involved that they don't expect, like with printing T-Shirts with a direct to garment printer. In order to keep the printer running in tip top shape you have to have a temperature and humidity controlled atmosphere otherwise the inks can harden up in the ink head... depending on the room and what needs to be done that's an extra $3,000-$5,000 they didn't originally expect to have to spend... they just thought they'd have to buy the printer and viola they're ready for Business.
I could keep going but these are some of the main things people have to bump their heads on before they start soaring.. hope it helps :)
15 years in the public sector then 15 years consulting to big private sector corporates then running my own business. The biggest blessing and the biggest curse are both the same thing - the blank canvas.
It is incredibly liberating that nobody is telling you what to do...
but with so many potential avenues for your talents and resources the choice can be bewildering and your prospective customers rarely rationalise things the way you think they will.
Ultimately you may have to sacrifice some of your principles to go where the money leads. The grand vision will probably take 2-3 years to realise so make sure there is revenue coming in to tide you over. And for goodness sake get help - whether it is a co-working space, social media groups a paid coach or all of them don't try to do it on your own.
I would add that you meet with a Score Counselor in your area and develop a Mission, Vision, Statement and a business plan... Think outside in and enjoy the ride.... It can be fun when you see it starting to take shape.....Funniest thing that happened to me I was talking to our bankers and the lights went out leading him and her to wonder I am sure if we paid the electric bill....Told them I should have asked them to bring candles.....
Start going out on your own before you actually do. Before I left my safe and secure finance position I already landed two major clients, had an adjunct position at NYU and had my infrastructure in place.
Taking the leap is less scary when you are already doing it. But most importantly, if you already have some income coming in, you are able to be more precise in your offering, more selective about the work you do, and negotiate from a place of strength.
You don't say what business you are starting. My last business venture was an eco tour company in Mexico - I am back in Corporate in Canada niw but I had 11 fun years at it that I wouldn't trade for the world. I wouldn't know where to start with the funny stories, there were many. My best advice is be willing to wing it and rise to the occasion when required. Keep your sense of humour and have fun with it and get a really good accountant you'd trust with your first born.
don't be shy about asking your contacts for referrals and help; make sure that your WHY? HOW? WHAT? are clear - i.e. your vision, your products/services. Build a good website; organize a free event to softly launch your business. start a newsletter (monthly) and a blog as well. If possible write a book
I find the whole journey really exciting and fun - after 30 years in HR roles, this is the best, most fun and fulfilling thing I have ever experienced! And I am just gobsmacked at the amount of support I'm getting from my contacts. So - bravely go and explore! IF you'd like more details about how I'm doing it, please contact me on my linkedin - good luck!
These are great questions and I answered them all in my ebook "From Corporation2Entrepreneur"
In it I share the stories of a couple of friends who made the journey just like me...It's an easy read, it's funny and it has some great tips for any one making that journey.
Here's a free copy just for you: