Every day, more and more people are taking the plunge – leaving their corporate jobs for the heady world of the entrepreneur. But taking that leap isn’t just a scary step. It can also be a guilt-ridden one if you still have some emotional or loyalty ties to your previous employer. Becoming an entrepreneur needn’t result in a guilty conscience. Here are a few ways to make the leap without burning bridges, either in the business world or in your own mind.
Stay on the team as a free agent. One of the more common first steps for an entrepreneur is to go right back to work for their previous company, in the capacity of an outside vendor. This can be a win-win option for both of you. You get a relatively easy landing for your first contracts by working with people you know in a familiar environment, and they get a vendor who knows how their business operates and what their limitations and goals are likely to be.
Bring your boss on board. Even if you decide not to seek a contract at your old place of business, every entrepreneur needs a mentor or three. Asking your ex-boss or other trusted colleagues to serve in this role not only gives you access to important professional insights, it also creates buy-in for your new role with your colleagues and helps them feel like a valuable part of the process, rather than rejected by it.
Entrepreneurs are good for business. “The entrepreneur is the lifeblood, or fuel, in the marketplace.” (Charles L. Wurtzburger Founder/President (retired) of Cleo, Inc. http://www.societyofentrepreneurs.com/members/bio.asp?ID=75) No business or industry can grow with a stagnant brain-pool. By branching out on your own, you’re bringing energy, innovation and excitement into your field of expertise. Entrepreneurs by definition have to work harder and smarter to succeed than an established company does. They do this by exploring ideas, concepts and business models that may be too extreme, too unfamiliar or just too scary for their more conservative brethren to pursue. As a result, they stir things up and help keep the whole system from settling into complacency and decay.
A rising tide lifts all boats. As anyone can tell you, the best way to spot a thriving industry is to look at the number of start-ups. No one is going into business making buggy-whips these days. By starting your own business, you encourage competition, collaboration and innovation among those in your field, you pump money and energy into the industry and you contribute to the economy when you succeed.
On the other hand, everyone knows that boats can be expensive, and thus usually require financing. What they don’t realize is how much the financing can add to the total cost of their boat. This boat loan calculator will help watercraft enthusiasts understand how much they’ll actually be paying for a new boat.
Partner up. Assuming that your entrepreneurship is in the same or a complementary field as your old business, consider collaborating with them on referrals, partnerships and other mutually beneficial systems. It’s almost a given that you’ll each have something valuable to bring to the table that the other side lacks.
Remember that growing up is a natural and necessary event. Not everyone is cut out for the corporate ladder – some people need to be on their own, or have great ideas that need to be put into action. By staying at your old job, you’re stifling your own growth and doing a disservice to both yourself and your employer. And if you have a great idea that will benefit others, not pursuing it prevents that from idea from getting into the hands of those who need it.
We’re all born with skills, talents and abilities that are meant to be used in the service of others. If you need help identifying yours, get in touch with coach David Bohl of SlowDownFast.com today.
Thanks to Bootstrapper for including this post in the Carnival of Business and Entrepreneurship, and to Working at Home on the Internet for featuring this post in the Working at Home Blog Carnival.