Monday, June 4, 2012

4 Hurdles for Transitioning From a "Regular Job" to Entrepreneurship

Becoming an overnight entrepreneur? Easier said than done -- a lifetime of structure (from education to the corporate world) can make it difficult to fly off on your own. But it can be done!

Can I sharpen my pencil now? Do you remember asking your grade school teacher this question, as you anxiously awaited the answer with that broken lead staring at you. Then, it's asking your boss for vacation, or awaiting your next project. But what happens when YOU are the person who not only asks, but answers?

What happens are a lot of hurdles that will set you back. These things are certain to, at one time or another, really bother you. Knowing is half the battle, and understanding that every other entrepreneur has dealt with these same problems is reassuring.

What are the hurdles for a person who has always had the structure of a regular, corporate job, to switch to the unstructured and unknown world of entrepreneurship? There are many, but here are the top 2. 

1) Losing status/social approval of having a "full-time regular job"
Many people in your life may question your new venture, and encourage you to just get a job. You'll need to build yourself a new foundation of strength, no longer finding your confidence from your job title or paycheck alone -- many businesses (even successful ones) do not make a profit in the first year. You'll need to learn to cope with that, and feel confident despite what the numbers show.

2) Uncertainty
Worker bees are cushioned from the constant risk and uncertainty of business, and feel a false sense of security. Entrepreneurs are on the front lines of a constantly changing environment. New coping skills are needed, including detaching from the outcome, and learning techniques to manage emotions and anxiety that arise in high-risk situations. These are skills that can be learned, but it's a vastly different "mindset" than that of the worker bee, and it's a habit of thinking that needs to be learned.

3) Dealing with failure/rejection
Worker bees are protected from failure, because numerous workers, vendors, bosses and others share responsibility over the success of a project -- to bolster morale, some bosses may even shield their workers from a failure, and the worker doesn't even know the project flopped, as they happily plug away. For a solo entrepreneur, if you fail, it all falls on you. And you know every gory detail of what went wrong! You'll need to learn approaches for boosting your confidence, and realizing that a failure or mistake doesn't mean that YOU are a failure or a mistake -- all entrepreneurs will fail at times. It comes with the territory.

4) Learning to create your own schedule
After a lifetime of adapting to the boss's schedule, and before that, your classroom schedule, you now have complete power over planning your day -- new entrepreneurs usually have no idea how to make these decisions. Entrepreneurs need to learn how to be internally, not externally, motivated. This means creating a daily schedule and sticking to it, even when you'd rather watch TV all day -- and knowing that a boss will not keep you in line. You must learn to manage yourself, as your own boss. This means giving yourself incentives, rewards and punishments, just as an employer would. You also need to build in social time, including networking with others in your industry -- just as you would in an office -- if you are working solo.

Being aware of the above pitfalls is vital. There are learned techniques for overcoming them. Working one-on-one with a coach, over the phone, or preferably in person, will help you build your foundation of strength to step into your new role as an entrepreneur. For weekly rates, email, or fill out the contact form at


Gurmit said...

I can certainly relate. Thanks Julie!

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Peter said...

Yes it is not all that easy to become an entrepreneur overnight. It does not mean that you can not do it, a lifetime of structure,from education to the corporate world can make it difficult to fly off on your own. But it can be done! Life Coaching is a technique which helps you get what ever you need to achieve in life..


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