by Farnoosh Brock
“Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.” ~Dan Brown
Somewhere around year six of my 11-year career in corporate, something started to go wrong. I started to feel dissatisfied, bored, unchallenged, frustrated and plain miserable.
Let’s just say that was odd for the ambitious, enthusiastic in-love-with-corporate gal that I used to be at the time.
All of a sudden, the pursuit of the next rung on the corporate ladder turned out to be a dull pointless goal.
I started to feel depleted of energy and excitement toward advancing in my company, the one place that I was certain I belonged, that I was meant to serve and to leave a legacy.
This all started out mildly but it grew in intensity over the following months and years. The real problem though is not what was happening to me – things happen to us all the time.
The real problem is my reaction to what was happening: absolutely nothing. I ignored my feelings blatantly instead of listening, observing, taking them seriously and doing something to solve the problem.
Have you ignored low feelings towards your career, hoping they’d go away? Have you heard others say that you need to be grateful just to have a job and guilt you about “complaining”?
I thought my career woes would magically fix themselves with time. They didn’t. Neither will yours.
Your time in life is limited and you’re going to have to listen to your heart one of these days. Why not start today?
Looking back, I’m happy and grateful that I had the corporate experience.
I had great success, learned a lot, gained a lot of skill sets, built a lot of relationships, traveled the world, had great work-from-home flexibility, made a lot of money, got some nice stock options. And for a while, I had a lot of fun.
But as I examined those feelings of deep unhappiness and extreme frustration, I realized that the corporate path was no longer for me. You need to come to the same realization before jumping to entrepreneurship.
As I fell into blogging, writing, creating my own products, and running my own programs, I met my true self for the first time.
A promise: You shall meet your true self if you constantly pursue the act of self-discovery.
In 2011, I resigned from the cushy corporate job to focus full time on my business. It was like waking up from a deep slumber to embrace a true lover for the first time. I liked being a corporate gal, but I am in love with being an entrepreneur.
But like all romance, it was not a ride without a few heartaches.
So if you are in transition from employee to entrepreneur, let me share my top three mistakes to save you some trouble and to expedite your road to success.
3 Mistakes to Avoid Going from Corporate to Entrepreneurship
Don’t kid yourself. Going from employee to entrepreneur is a big move. It changes your whole life and shapes your entire future. It affects you physically, emotionally, psychologically. So as you plan exiting your job and starting your business, bear these three mistakes in mind:
1. Being unclear about why you want to become an entrepreneur:
You’re unhappy because your job feels wrong for you. Going solo and doing your own thing sounds like a dream. But without knowing the root cause of your unhappiness, what makes you think becoming an entrepreneur solves the problem?
You have got to have clarity on why you want this.
If you can’t pinpoint exactly what makes you unhappy about your job, if you can’t know yourself well enough to answer that question, you will be taking a risk by choosing a random solution – in this case, entrepreneurship.
So here’s a simple exercise to help you to get some clarity.
Ask yourself: Why am I unhappy at my job?
Let’s say you answer: Because I hate my boss.
Then ask: Why do I hate my boss?
You answer: Because he micromanages me.
Then ask: Why do I dislike micromanagement?
You answer: Because it stifles my creativity and takes away sense of freedom.
Now you’re starting to get somewhere. It sounds like you want to own your schedule, be free of bosses, and have an outlet for your creativity. Then you have to see whether your solution – entrepreneurship – will give you the answers you need.
Repeat this line of questioning and go at least ten layers deep until you get to the root of why you are unhappy and what you really, really, REALLY want!
This exercise is best if you use a mind map – on paper or with software and if you do it with the guidance of a career coach.
2. Making the decision to leave or stay in your job “collaboratively”
We are social creatures. We crave validation. We long to feel included and belong to a group. We also love to include everyone in our business and especially in our decisions.
One such decision is this: “Should I quit my job? Should I start my own business?”
Your family loves and cares about you, but it’s a mistake to involve family, friends, relatives, peers, and strangers in this decision.
This is not a family affair. You’re never going to make a peaceful decision that pleases everyone, least of all yourself.
Involve your life partner or spouse in the decision making process but even then, know that in the end: This is your decision.
You can certainly get information and opinions. Do your research. Make others feel included if you choose. Even seek professional coaching to go through the process.
Just remember the ultimate decision, the moment that you know whether you’re going or staying, that’s yours. Don’t give your own power away. You’re the only person that knows what’s best for you and the one that has to live with the decision, come what may.
3. Thinking that your school degree, special skills or experience is “wasted” by leaving
I work with clients who worry about quitting their jobs because they fear that they will “lose” or “give up” their professional certifications, their advanced degrees and their skills.
Let’s get one thing straight: You take your knowledge base with you wherever you go. You leave behind your job, your project, your actual work, but the knowledge – the skills, the talents, the information inside your brain, the experience – that goes along with you to your next job or to your own business.
Now you may choose to never use those skills or experience again, and that’s a choice.
Skills and knowledge base transfers and you can redirect the application of it from one form to another. Besides, change of this nature is pure growth and development for you, and you accumulate so many new skills in the process while still able to use your old ones.
So ask yourself: Is your loyalty to your certification or school degree harming you or serving you? Only you know the answer. Just because you went to law school does not obligate you to live within the realm of law for the rest of your life.
It is okay to venture outside. I went from engineering to technical writing to project management to sales operations while in corporate and in my business, I started blogging, creating digital online programs, running a coaching program, speaking, writing and publishing books to name a few.
You are not defined by your work skills or fancy certification or that college degree on the wall. You are the sum of everything you have done and learned and experienced.
The idea is to become an expert and known for things that you enjoy doing and serving others, while never limiting and labeling yourself. Crush the box, and expand your horizons.
Ready to start your future now? Then have faith in yourself and your decisions. Beware of these mistakes. Trust the process. You know what you’re doing!
If you need more guidance, grab my free 5-video series training to learn more on successful transitions from corporate to entrepreneur.
Farnoosh Brock is a published author, business coach, green juice addict and devout Ashtanga yogini. After a successful career at a Fortune 100, she started Prolific Living Inc. to fulfill her entrepreneurial passions. She helps employees in transition to build a profitable side-hustle and full-time online businesses. Have entrepreneurial aspirations? Check out her FREE video course at smartexitblueprint.com.
Melissa Stewart is the founder of SheOwnsIt.com. She is a Purveyor of Possibility, Entrepreneur Advocate and Coffee Addict. She believes that behind every successful woman is her story. What’s your story?