Earlier this year, I decided to quit my job after spending over 20 years in a corporate career and become an entrepreneur. I knew in my heart for a long time that I wanted to be my own boss, so I finally decided to take the leap and start my own business. Now here I am, five months later, making money as a freelance writer, blogger, and soon-to-be podcaster. But that didn’t happen overnight.
My transition from corporate employee to entrepreneur was a long time in the making.
In fact, you could say that I’ve spent the past eight years laying the groundwork for this career-changing move. It doesn’t have to take eight years. It can happen a lot quicker if you know how to put a plan in place and take the necessary steps to make your dream a reality. Read on as I share my tips for making the transition from corporate employee to entrepreneur.
Set up a designated work space
If you are or have been working in a corporate office, you likely had your own designated space with a spacious desk, computer with Wi-Fi, and a drawer full of office supplies. When you make the transition out of the corporate world, it’s beneficial to create a designated work space in your home.
If you have a spare bedroom or an actual home office, that is ideal. But if you don’t have an extra room, you have several options to consider. You can set up the office space in your master bedroom (technically you can’t sleep and work at the same time…although I know people who probably do). You can set up a desk in a den or kitchen, but if you have kids, you will probably be interrupted throughout the day. You may want to consider a tri-fold partition wall to separate your workspace from the rest of the room.
Designating a room in your house gives you the ability to shut the door when you need to remove distractions. Most of all, at the end of the day, you can shut the door to your office, walk away from work, and focus on family and personal enjoyment.
Create a schedule and stick to it
During the first few weeks after I quit my corporate job, I spent a lot of time in my pajamas. Before I knew it, it would be 5:00 and I’d realize that I didn’t accomplish much at all. I began setting a weekly schedule using a time-blocking system to ensure that I spent my time working on the things that matter most rather than wasting time on things that didn’t.
First thing every morning, I create my to-do list for the day, ensuring that I prioritize those items that will truly make an impact on my business. If I ever get side-tracked down the rabbit hole of google or social media, I simply refer back to my list to get back on track.
Build a strong network of like-minded people
Transitioning from an office environment to working from home as an entrepreneur can be a bit of an adjustment. If you are the type of person who likes to interact with co-workers, bounce ideas off others and talk about last night’s episode of reality TV, you’ll need to find new ways to connect with people while working from home. Find friends locally through your city’s chamber of commerce, women’s groups, or a nearby yoga class.
If you are able to work from a coffee shop or co-working space, you’ll find others in similar situations. Be brave and reach out to them. Join groups on social media where like-minded people hang out. I’ve made some of my best business friends through Facebook groups. If your business serves people in your community and you meet with them in person, you will get plenty of interaction. But without true connection to others both in-person and online, being an entrepreneur can get very lonely.
Make time for self-care every day
Starting a business can be all-consuming. Once you sit down at your desk and start working, it’s easy to lose track of time. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting all day, forgetting to stop for a stretch break or lunch. Setting reminders through an app on your smartphone or through a fitness tracker will help you remember to get up and move throughout the day.
Exercise is important. Make it a priority and schedule time for it when you arrange your work calendar for the week. Even a short walk around the block will help relieve stress, burn calories, and give you a well-deserved break from work.
Trust the Process
Becoming an entrepreneur is an exciting time, but it can also be a challenging time. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster. Some days you will be on top of the world. Everything will be going as planned, and you’ll feel confident in your decision to quit your corporate job and start your own business. Other days, you’ll be filled with self-doubt and wonder if you made a huge mistake.
One of the best lessons I have learned in my first five months of becoming an entrepreneur is to trust the process. I’m finding that if I learn to embrace the uncertainty and understand that things don’t always go as planned, my days go much smoother. There will be twists and turns on your journey. You will make mistakes. We all do. That is an important part of the process. It’s completely normal to feel nervous, uneasy, and scared, but if you can face your fear and take the leap, you will be glad you did!
There you have it! You’ve read 5 great tips to follow when you are transitioning from a corporate employee to an entrepreneur. The journey of being an entrepreneur will have its ups and downs, but remember to enjoy the ride.