Most professionals I’ve met have at least one business idea they would like to do some day. What generally happens though is you wake up every day, get dressed, and go to work for the entire day, so there seems to be no time to start your own business. Most of us try to plan our lives around our work schedule, and once our life gets on a track, it develops into a routine that’s hard to break.
But, if you are serious about switching from a corporate job to starting a business, you will need to stop putting it off to the future. To turn “some day” into “today”, dive into these seven steps you can take to get started.
- Write down your personal motivation for starting a business.
Different people leave a corporate job to start a business for different reasons. What is your reason? Do you want to give back what you’ve learned? Do you want to make money from home? Do you want to have your own business to have more work-life balance and be able to travel? Recent studies show that the most successful startups are ones that are purpose-driven and created by people over 40. Whatever your reason for starting your business. Write it down. Having a clear why will help you find time to start your business. If you are motivated enough, you will make it happen – even if it is your first startup.
- Talk to your family about your plan to start a business.
Schedule a time to sit down and talk to your spouse and/or loved ones about your business idea. Explain why you want to switch from your corporate job to starting a business. Be sure to describe your personal motivation and why it so important to you at this time. See if they will
- Test the market and line up potential customers
Before you quit your corporate job and lose your paycheck, make sure that your ideal customers are willing to pay for your product or services. If possible and it is not a conflict of interest with your current corporate job, see if anyone is interested in signing up in advance as a paying customer. It’s always a good idea to have some revenue coming in to start your new business.
- Contact your network
Share your business idea with everyone you know and take feedback seriously especially from people who would be ideal customers. Also, tell people you know that you are preparing to switch from your corporate job to starting a business. Your network is important and you will most likely need their support to start your new venture successfully.
- Review your finances and complete bank-related financial transactions
While you still have your corporate job, be sure to wrap up any bank-related financial transactions you may need in the next year or two. Be proactive. If you want to refinance your house, it will be easier to do when you have a corporate job with two years of steady pay and W-2 reports. Also, if you want a new credit card or to get an increase on an existing credit card, do it while you still have your corporate job. Both of these steps may help you tap into some savings that you can invest in your business. Also, you will want to review your personal budget to determine what your finances will look like after your corporate job ends. Be conservative and plan out your cash needs for yourself and your family as well as for the business for two years. If possible, have a certified financial planner review your financial plans to ensure you have planned adequately.
- Maximize your transition and leave on good terms
Before you leave your corporate job to start a business, take time to maximize your company benefits. I can tell you from personal experience that my healthcare coverage was a lot better when I worked for Fortune 500 high tech companies like Oracle then it was when I started my own business. So, be sure to proactively schedule all of your annual healthcare checkups several months before you plan to leave your company. Also, read your employee benefits manual. There may be some great benefits that you never knew about or used before. For example, I worked for a company that had discounted rates on living trusts and wills. Other companies have other types of discounts and or allowances that are use-or-lose. Maximize your benefits before you leave. And, always leave on good terms whenever possible. It’s never a good idea to burn bridges.
- Believe in yourself and your business
If you are leaving a well-paying corporate job and starting a business, it can be scary and uncomfortable. So, if you are planning the switch, be gentle with yourself and take your time. When things get tough and you have doubts, remind yourself why starting a business is important to you. Take heart and have confidence. Think about a professional accomplishment that you had in the past. Know you can add real value to your customers. Believe in yourself. You do have what it takes to create a successful business that makes a difference.