Are you at that point where you are asking yourself how to go from corporate to entrepreneur?
There are many compelling reasons to make the switch from corporate to entrepreneurship today. In the wake of economic downturns or potential unemployment, many wake up to the fact that they can not rely on even the biggest and oldest companies for a bulletproof salary, benefits package, or retirement plans. Others have just been compelled to step up and serve the world and its new needs. Whatever your reasons for the shift, these tips will help you get the most out of it.
Own Your Fear
A lot of people find it scary to leap into entrepreneurship after a ‘safe’ and steady corporate career for years. It can seem comfortable. You may not get a lot of support from coworkers. Yet, when you really think about it, there may be a lot more risk in not doing it.
Write it out. What’s the real worst-case scenario. Most of the high performing startup founders that I’ve interviewed on the DealMakers podcast have made this change. They decided that the worst case would be that they would have to go back to a corporate job as they had before. No loss whatsoever. They could always go back to school. When they really boiled it down, their biggest fear was actually having to live with the regret of not trying entrepreneurship.
Then look at the upside potential. How awesome will it be if this works out?
Mindset: Don’t Take Your Bad Habits With You
When thinking about how to go from corporate to entrepreneur, remember that working inside a corporate giant is very different from a startup. Most founders really struggle with going back to that environment for any length of time. Even if it means giving up millions of dollars to have the chance to start something new.
Despite all the glitz and glamour of big corporate giants and their capital, they move horribly slow, there are lots of politics, and they are very limited on what they can try and do. Those things don’t work in the world of fast-growing startups. It’s why corporate giants pay millions and billions to acquire them and their technology, instead of building their own.
So, be very careful about bringing your bad habits with you. Don’t take micromanaging, meetings, time clocks, the earmuffs to new ideas and innovation, and these other things with you when you clear out your desk.
This is your chance to change all that. You can only do things better with new ways of working.
Be Ready To Move Fast
Corporate can suck the life and energy out of you and that should be a big thing to factor in when you ask yourself how to go from corporate to entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship can be incredibly freeing. To stay in it, and make this venture work, you are going to have to get used to moving at a very fast speed. You can take time off and live a balanced life.
Though you have to be blazing through everything from fundraising to hiring to firing and getting sales in the door. You do this with a high level of urgency and motivation, and staying laser-focused on the one next most important thing.
Be Okay With Uncertainty
It’s ironic how we can sometimes believe in so much certainty around us until it is shattered overnight. Maybe when we feel too certain, we should question what we are overlooking.
One thing that is certain, is that as an entrepreneur you will have to be okay with uncertainty, and making decisions in this environment every day. Many try to solve this by laying out lengthy and detailed business plans. Experienced Venture Capital firms and serial founders know that 90% of that is going to change in the next few months anyway. Learn to surf the waves and go with the flow and adapt on the fly.
You won’t always know how to manage the next step until you are there. Learn enough in advance. Like by taking this startup fundraising course. Find consultants and advisors to help you. Then just do. You’ll learn and grow fastest by just doing it which is the most beautiful ingredient when balancing how to go from corporate to entrepreneur.
In this regard, fundraising will be much needed in your journey to have capital that you can deploy to build and scale the business. Remember that storytelling plays a key role in fundraising and you will need capital to scale things up. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
ACCESS THE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE
Find Out What You Don’t Know
People often seem to base their decision and timing to go into entrepreneurship on what they think they know. After 20 years you may feel like an expert in your field. Or after going back to school for an MBA you may feel like you’ve earned a seat at the table or now have the missing pieces.
The truth is that what you don’t know is just as, if not more important. What gaps are there that need to be filled? Fundraising and marketing are two of the most common for technical founders. Get a coach and talk to founders a little ahead of you to get their insights on this.
When considering how to go from corporate to entrepreneur keep in mind the world is changing so fast today, and even faster for startup founders. Most of what you thought you knew yesterday is now irrelevant. It is far more important to just be prepared to roll with what tomorrow throws at you.
Own your mission, vision and values. Don’t compromise on those. Just expect that everything else is fluid. Including what type of exit will be best and feasible when you get to that stage.
Get A Team
You can’t do it all alone. At least you won’t get far for very long on your own. Get a team. Get the best team you possibly can. They’ll fill in any of the gaps you are worried about when making this transition.
It’s true, this is going to be an emotional rollercoaster from the very first time you wonder how to go from corporate to entrepreneur. There are going to be some really awesome days, with highs far greater than you’ll ever experience working for someone else. In between will be a lot of trying and tough days. Accept that now and it won’t be half as bad. Make sure you take the time to celebrate all of the good ones.