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.
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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.
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Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
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.
In the video below I cover more in detail how to go from corporate to entrepreneur which you may also find interesting.
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.
FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE VIDEO:
Hello, everyone. This is Alejandro Cremades, and today we’re going to be talking about how to go from corporate to entrepreneur. Let’s face it; making that jump from having the 9 to 5 to actually starting your own business, taking that leap of faith, dealing with the uncertainties: what’s going to happen? Is this going to be successful? Is this going to fail? This is one of the biggest things that entrepreneurs do. In today’s video, we’re going to be breaking it down, giving you all the good insights so that you can make a good judgment on whether or not this is for you. So with that being said, let’s get into it.
Own your fear. What is the absolute worst that can happen? Is your company going to fail? Are you going to be able to continue breathing? Ask yourself that question because the worst thing that can happen is that the company fails and that you go back to your boring 9 to 5. Here, what is the upside? You have the upside of changing the world the way that you want it. Filling that gap in the way that you’re seeing it being filled with your own solution, and that upside can really justify whatever risk that you’re making.
Always remember that you need to own your own fear and always think about what is the worst thing that can happen, and that is actually going back to your job. And if you have to do that, so what? You’ll be able to be at it for a couple of years, and then you’ll go back at it again because once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur.
Mindset is a really big one because here’s the thing: when you’re working for a large corporation, essentially, you’re going to see – and you’re going to get comfortable with how slow they move. Literally, they’re like snails. Now, here, the worst thing that you can do is grab whatever bad habits you had from being in a big corporation and bringing those to a small operation like your startup. So, again, startups are all about moving fast, learning fast, and then also failing fast. So never bring whatever you thought that worked with a big corporation into your startup because they are completely different types of mindsets and completely different types of operations.
You need to be okay with wearing differing hats. The thing in a corporation is that you’re going to be tasked with a certain responsibility, with a certain title. In a startup, when you’re running your own business, it’s a completely different ballgame. Here, one day something is required, and the next day something completely different is required, and your attention needs to be exactly to whatever fire you need to be putting out. One day, it’s going to be one skillset, and then all of a sudden, it’s going to change overnight, and you need to be able to adjust very quickly to whatever your company is requiring from you.
Also, you need to be okay with uncertainty because the journey in front of you is completely uncertain. You don’t know what’s going to happen, where you’re going to be the next day, the month after, whatever that is, but you need to be able to adapt to whatever is in front of you.
Rather than asking yourself, “What if this? What if that?” just deal with whatever is in front of you. That’s the only thing that you can do. Don’t worry about anything else because nothing else matters. It’s all about what is in front of you, and execution, when you’re in your own startup, is absolutely everything. So, be okay with that uncertainty.
Again, being in a corporate 9 to 5, you have the certainty of knowing what the day-after is going to look like. In a startup, maybe even the day after, you may be dying – the company may be dying, so for that reason, you need to be able to adapt very quickly and just always deal with whatever is in front of you.
You don’t know what you don’t know. The thing about startups is that you need to adapt; you need to learn; you need to learn very quickly. In many instances, you’re going to find that there are certain things that you didn’t even know were there. For this reason, you need to surround yourself with the right people, by the right advisors, by people that have done this before, people that can guide you, people that can uncover and discover things that you didn’t even know were going to be there because ultimately, people that have walked that path before you, they’ve made those mistakes; they got those lessons learned, and perhaps they can pass you that knowledge so that you actually avoid some of those mistakes so that you can actually have a much better execution.
Stay flexible. You never know how you’re going to have to change things over. But again, whether it’s the business plan that you go to market with – again, there’s not a single business plan that is bulletproof or a pitch deck. And, by the way, below is the pitch deck template that you can use that founders are actually using all over the world to raise millions. But stay flexible. Listen to your customers. See how you can tweak things out. Don’t be stuck to a certain mindset or to a certain way of operating because things continue to change. You need to listen. It’s all in the listening.
Get a team. Get the best team that you can because it’s all about having a class of people that help you on the execution. Maybe there are people that you remember from college that have those certain skillsets that maybe they are developing that could be helpful to you. Always think about people that have certain skills or expertise that complement whatever you’re adding to the table. At the end of the day, you bring in one splash of red, the other person brings in one splash of yellow, the other one brings in one splash of blue, and that, in the end, creates that magic execution to really take things to the next level. As the saying goes, “You can go faster alone, but farther when you go together.” So surround yourself with the best team that you can have access to.
Buckle in. Buckle in because it’s going to be an emotional rollercoaster. Some days, it’s going to feel like everything is coming to an end. Another day, everything is so beautiful, so great. But during the early days, unfortunately, most of the days are super tough. You’re putting out fires every single day, but here’s the thing: while 90% of the days may be tough and may be greyish, maybe rainy days, the other 10% should be so great that they compensate for those 90%. And make sure that during those 10% of days that are so great that you feel like you’re on top of the world, make sure that you embrace it; make sure that you celebrate and that you look back and acknowledge the journey that you’ve walked through, and that you’re proud of what you and your team did.
I would love to hear on the comment section below what you’re up to. Also, Like this video and subscribe to the channel so that you don’t miss out on all the videos that we’re rolling out every week. And take a look at the fundraising training, which is the program where we help from A to Z with everything related to fundraising. There you will find live Q&As, templates, agreements, a community of entrepreneurs helping each other all over the world, and you’ll find tremendous value in it. So, thank you so much for watching.