Have you ever had that experience where you’re sitting at your desk thinking, “Is this it?” “Is this all there is?” or “There must be more!” Maybe you’ve finally decided that working for someone else isn’t for you anymore, and you’re ready to take the leap to be your own boss. The most critical thing is to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
Here are some of the wrong reasons:
- You’re bored
- You’re burned out
- You hate your boss
- You need a change
- You got passed over for that promotion
- You’re having issues with your co-workers
Some of the right reasons include:
- You want more control over your career
- You want to make a greater impact on the world
- Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t satisfying anymore
- You’ve been dreaming for years of working for yourself
- You have a side hustle you feel passionate about that is starting to take off
- You’ve finally decided that the status quo is worse than the thought of change
- Your corporate job doesn’t provide the flexibility, creativity, freedom or fulfillment you need to thrive
If you’re certain you want to leave corporate life for the right reasons, then you are ready to create that all-important corporate escape plan.
Here are ten fundamental steps to keep in mind:
1. Identify your “why”
Figuring out why you want to leave corporate life to be your own boss will give you the clarity you need to move forward. It will also help you stay motivated when you encounter obstacles and the inevitable ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
2. Determine what obstacles might get in the way
An understanding of what obstacles might arise and how you plan to respond will help you to create a solid corporate escape plan. Some examples of barriers include the fear of not having a steady paycheck, fear of failure or lack of support from friends and family (who may tell you you’re crazy).
3. Find the optimal intersection point
Think about what you enjoy, what you’re good at and what people will pay you for. The intersection of those three categories is what I call the “optimal intersection point”—the area where you will find the greatest happiness and success.
4. Do your research
Once you identify what you’d like to do, research the heck out of it. What is your potential competition doing? How are they pricing their products and services? What should your ideal niche be?
5. Reconnect with the authentic you
If you’ve been unhappy in the corporate world for a while, chances are you’ve lost touch with your authentic self. It’s basically a survival mechanism that has allowed you to hang in there for so long. Now it’s time to get back to your core values. What are the activities and hobbies that brought you joy as a child? What did/do people compliment you on? What mark do you want to leave on the world?
6. Get your finances in order
Before you take the leap, you should have at least 6-12 months of living expenses set aside. Also, create your business budget. Will you have overhead? What will your marketing expenses be? Will you need to hire staff? Do you need to invest in additional education or certifications? Putting together a comprehensive financial plan is essential to building an effective corporate escape plan.
7. Develop a support system
Whether it’s friends, family, a coach, or a mentor, finding support during this critical time is crucial. Consider joining a mastermind group. This peer-to-peer mentoring concept can help with brainstorming, education and accountability. Surround yourself with people working toward the same goal. Building your network will go a long way in preparing you to make that corporate escape.
8. Take steps while still employed
Don’t wait until you leave your corporate job to start taking meaningful action steps. Plan your escape far in advance, so you have time to lay the groundwork for your new venture. Use early mornings, lunchtime, evenings and weekends to devise your plan. The more you can accomplish before you turn in your resignation letter, the better positioned you will be for success.
9. Leave your ego at the door
The research is clear—the best leaders are humble leaders. I can’t emphasize this point enough. When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s critical to know yourself well. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Build on your strengths and find help to supplement your weak areas. Admit when you don’t know something. It’s impossible to know everything, and working for yourself is a continuous learning process. Ask for assistance when you need it.
10. Create a plan with milestones
Write your goals down on a piece of paper (not on a computer). Research shows that people are 42% more likely to achieve their goals and dreams, simply by writing them down regularly. Develop a specific timeline with milestones to hold you accountable. Break your big plan into smaller bite-sized chunks. Determine a definite date that you will hand in your resignation letter and stick to it.
How do you climb Mt. Everest? One step at a time. Remember, dreams don’t come true—but goals do.
Are you feeling stuck and unfulfilled in your career? Download my free guide: 5 Signs It’s Time to Make a Bold Career Change!