Corporate life is fast and shiny and noisy. Working on your own, out of a home office, is a huge change. There will be an adjustment period, and a period of culture shock. Nobody warns you about the transition, but they’re happy to share once you’re feeling the shock.
There are a few things you should know about leaving your corporate job and jumping headfirst into entrepreneurship, but let’s look at five for now.
1. Getting customers on board is hard
Back on your corporate days, “someone” else found the clients. Well guess what? You have a new business, with a new brand, and a new product. No one knows who you are yet, so you will have to work that much harder to get customers on board. You will need to be persistent and patient. You’ll most likely start by talking to people at the bottom of the totem pole and deals will be a lot slower to close than you’re probably used to.
You will also have to work harder to keep your customers. Losing clients will happen, and you’ll need to be able to bounce back quickly and move on. There will be times where you will have to offer huge discounts just to get through the door. No matter what happens, you need to just take the hits and keep on going.
2. Entrepreneurship is lonely
Life as a solopreneur can be very lonely. There are no large departments, there are no support staff, there’s just you .. and maybe the furry ones and kids. If you’re traveling around and taking meetings, there’s nothing else getting done, because you’re the administration department as well as the salesperson, as well as the owner.
Consider finding someone that you can confer with and brainstorm with. Someone that you can talk to about the business and maybe get a little support from. If you can, consider hiring your first staff member. If nothing else, consider outsourcing some of your smaller tasks to contractors.
3. Having work/life balance is incredibly hard
Believing in what you’re trying to accomplish and being passionate about your product can be a pretty good motivator to leave corporate life and go it alone, but it’s important to realize early on that there’s a massive personal cost involved.
Entrepreneurs do not get to go home and leave work behind; there is no 9-5 workday, or long weekends. Sometimes, there are no weekends at all. If you’re alone and have no business partner, there’s no one to take over when you stop. There’s no option of walking away and taking a break from the business.
4. Hiring top talent can be almost impossible
Put simply, unless you have a sugar daddy, your life savings is funding this new business. It is your drive, your passion, and your belief in your company that drive you forward. The chances of finding someone to hire that also feels this are slim to none. Top talent is less likely to join a company that has little to no reputation. They are looking for high paying, stable jobs with lots of benefits. As a startup, you probably won’t be able to offer any of those things.
Consider how you can market your brand, as well as yourself. Find a way to share what you see in the future of the company, why you do what you do, and why it’s all worth it. Try and share these positives with your potential hires, and sell the benefits of being with your start up. They will be there from the beginning, help to shape the business, learn some new and amazing skills, have more responsibilities, and maybe even an equity share.
If you can get them on board, you need to keep them on board. Your team is your strongest asset and the more they can bond, the less chance they will have of quitting.
5. Cash flow is more important than ever
You can’t depend on getting financed, so your cash flow has to stay healthy. If your clients are paying you consistently and on time, it shouldn’t be a problem, right?
The reality is, customers don’t always pay on time, even with a contract. Often, they don’t pay at all. You have to be prepared to have some payment issues. It might not always be best to cut off your relationship with a nonpaying client, and it might not be a bridge that you want to burn.
It’s best to be proactive with clients, and get them used to seeing payment requests from you. Get into the habit of sending out payment reminders via email, so you have a way to gently nudge them to pay on time. Automated options are available, and most of the time clients won’t take it personally. We all have lots of bills to pay and a payment notice is a simple courtesy.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
Since 2006, Out of the Office has offered ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, content writing and offering creative solutions for your business success.
Image credit: Copyright: Vector Image by StockUnlimited