Nearly 20 years ago, as a Deloitte consultant, I gazed out across Melbourne’s Bourke Street to other buildings pondering the question that would change my life: “What does it feel like to be an employer instead of an employee?”
Without realising it, this question was the start of my journey from the known corporate world to the uncharted territory of entrepreneurship. The leap from employee to employer deepened and reshaped my understanding of business.
As an employer, I now have more skills, understanding more business nuances: from the intricacies of managing cash flow, to pricing, to employing people, to the responsibility of safeguarding a brand and more.
Personal Growth: The Bonus!
Starting my own business was a gateway to personal freedom. It allowed me to deepen my relationships with friends and family, to travel, improve my snow skiing, discover new hobbies (surfing!), research and start other businesses, and to dive deep into learning cutting-edge topics such as leading tech, cryptocurrencies, AI, indigenous wisdom, leadership and other personal growth topics.
This journey of self-discovery was as rewarding as the achievement felt from employing myself and others over many years.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs/Freelancers
My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs has changed after observing varying paths to success as well as seeing friends and colleagues experience burnout. Initially, I advocated for a bold leap into business ownership or freelancing. Nowadays, the approach is worth consideration. It depends on your drive, your circumstances, risk tolerance, instinct, as well as your ability to balance demands. For some, a hybrid of stable income balanced with entrepreneurial activities works; for others, they suit running their own business.
Reflecting on my corporate days, I’m deeply appreciative for so much that the corporate structure provides: the training, support, ongoing camaraderie, and of course the regular income. In moments of corporate frustration, it’s worth remembering, and being grateful for, these and so many other aspects you’re experiencing! From a state of gratitude, wise thinking comes.
Preparing for the Leap
For those contemplating a transition, clarity is key. Understand what services and/or products you want to offer and preferably secure your first clients to ensure a steady income in the initial months. This preparation creates a smooth transition.
Put in Place Success Support Systems
I’ve encouraged clients making the transition to ensure they have some cash to start their venture well. Pay for services that you can’t do yourself or don’t want to, such as a bookkeeper and a website builder. Look for ways to support yourself and increase your energy.
If you’re new to running your own business, remember mentors and coaches are invaluable. Their guidance can provide practical tips, expertise in unfamiliar areas, and much-needed encouragement. I highly recommend mentors and coaches such as:
- Someone who’s achieved what you want to in the past 5 years (so they can remember the useful tips/hacks);
- people who are experts in areas you’re not (branding, legals / IP, accounting/bookkeeping); and
- a performance/encouragement coach (this is where I come in!). It can be highly useful to have someone confidential in your corner who can listen and lift you up in difficult moments, keep you on track with your intentions, and listen to the hard problems and help you sort them out.
Remember to Recharge
The most significant challenge I’ve faced in running my own business was learning to rest and trust during quiet periods. It’s a BIG lesson in patience and having the belief and confidence that work is coming.
Recharging is essential.
Trust Your Instincts
In closing, trust your gut and passions. If you find yourself constantly distracted by potential ventures/ideas, it’s a sign that there’s more for you to explore. Embrace it with courage and curiosity.
Good luck on your path from the corporate world to the creativity and freedom of entrepreneurship!
Ready to Leap?
If you’re thinking about changing things up this year, now’s the time.
I’m here to listen and strengthen your inner guide. Let’s meet.
Are you an employer or employee? What has worked for you? Comments are fun.
Free resources are too.
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