Having made the transition from the corporate world to entrepreneurship nearly 20 years ago, I have lived and know first-hand the realities of what is required to find success and eventual significance. One thing is certain: there is no template for the opportunities – and the adversity – you will be faced with – and how you will react to each new experience.
Entrepreneurship is hard, but not impossible. It takes a lot of will, perseverance and belief in yourself. In the end, you must satisfy a widening marketplace gap to create demand while at the same time be likeable, intriguing and unique enough for a prospective client or investor to listen to you. You must learn how to earn serendipity throughout the journey – and be courageous and vulnerable enough to test your ideas and ideals.
Overtime, this will strengthen your wisdom, broaden your sphere of influence, and help you apply strategic focus on the opportunities of greatest potential and then share your harvest of success with others. It is at this point that you can begin to re-sow a perpetual harvest of renewed and fresh ideas. They will begin to sustain and cultivate themselves with greater impact and influence upon the foundation of significance that you have created with your professional network and clients.
You can test your own readiness to transition from the corporate world to entrepreneurship – take the following quiz to find out. If you score a 36 or above, you have the mindset and attitude to live with an entrepreneurial spirit; below 36 means that you may want to take more time and acquire more wisdom.
Regardless of the outcome, there are three things you must be ready to do before becoming an entrepreneur:
1. Before taking the leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship do the math.
The liquidity of not just cash, but also in resources and people. I’ve learned the hard way that the amount of money and resources and the number of people you will need in your entrepreneurial journey are much more than you might imagine.
Remember, in the corporate world you are loaded with resources. It’s easy to take advantage of them –and take them for granted – when they are all around you. But as an entrepreneur, you will soon find out just how valuable those resources were – especially the ones you didn’t use enough. This will all become more apparent once you have made the transition.
2. Tough out the frustrations of the corporate world first.
Frustrations in the corporate world are testing the mental toughness of employees, but they still have a paycheck waiting for them every two weeks. As an entrepreneur, you need mental toughness to withstand the marketplace not valuing your distinct value proposition enough. Not because it isn’t relevant – but because your marketing may not be as strong as you think it is.
Before I left the corporate world, I hired a psychologist out of Brown University who specializes in working with executives making the transition to entrepreneurship. This was one of the smartest decisions I ever made – seeking council from an expert who could prepare me for the mental toughness I would need to withstand the impact entrepreneurship would have not only on me personally – but also on my family, who would be accompanying me on my journey.
3. Keeping your cool is key when you become an entrepreneur.
If you think your patience is being tested in the corporate world, wait until you become an entrepreneur. In the corporate world, you can share your frustration with others on your team and in the department. As an entrepreneur, you are on your own and you will realize that you have very little control over how quickly your clients respond. It can begin to feel hopeless and start to sow the seeds of doubt in your mind.
Whenever you find your patience being tested, use it as an opportunity to evaluate your purpose, vulnerability and maturity as an entrepreneur. The more patience you practice, the more resourceful, compassionate, and mindful you will be. We have all heard that “patience is a virtue” – and this is especially true for the entrepreneur.