Over the last few months, we’ve watched the world dramatically shift. Corporate professionals have moved from in-office work to work-from-home, and businesses have pivoted from in-person to virtual work. In the span of eight-ish weeks, the amount of change, ingenuity, and creativity has been nothing short of awe-inspiring.
But with all that change comes questions and uncertainty. In the last few weeks, you may have found yourself wondering if the path you’ve been on is still the right path. Whether the career you’ve poured years into is really where your heart lies. Maybe this unexpected dose of downtime has awakened old passions or opened your eyes to new ones. Whatever it is, I consider this time you’re in to be a unique gift, a purposeful pause, to reflect on your life and decide if you’re each living a life we’ve designed… or defaulted to.
Over the last few months, I’ve had conversations with women in the corporate space who have asked what it takes to start their own business, questioned whether or not entrepreneurship is right for them, and expressed fear and doubt about whether they have what it takes. So, in today’s article, I’m going to talk about the 9 things no one ever tells you when you’re trying to decide whether or not to make the leap!
1. Belief begins with you
Just like your career in corporate life, no one will believe in your business more than you do. In fact, no one will believe you’re the boss or that you run a business more than you do. It took me eight long years to learn this powerful lesson. If I’m truly going to own a business, I have to OWN it. You have to claim that belief in yourself and as the BOSS every day.
2. Get ready to struggle
There’s no two ways about it – running a business is hard work. While we may all love the idea of the Field of Dreams’ mantra – if you build it they will come – it’s simply not true. Every entrepreneur is pouring blood, sweat, tears, time, and energy into their business, and anything less just won’t work. It’s easy to be fooled by the ones who’ve made it, but after running a multi- six figure business, I can tell you that there’s no shortcut to hard work and time.
3. Build an operating rhythm
Corporate life is beautiful because it gives you structure, a plan, and a rhythm, but it’s rarely on your terms. As an entrepreneur, you get the freedom and flexibility to design one that works for you and your family. When you understand your overarching business goals, how those goals break down into quarterly or monthly objectives, and then translate that into how you spend your time, you will see your productivity and your business soar.
4. Consistency is key
You have to show up every day. The image of the jet setting entrepreneur sitting on the beach with a cocktail in hand, working a four-hour work week is largely a myth. Yes, there are a handful of people who have done that… but that’s only because they showed up every day and built their business and life the way they truly wanted it. When you leave corporate life to build and grow your business, you will be working. Think of it like being a brand new mother – you’ve got an infant that needs constant attention. Your business requires you to show up, feed, and nurture it.
5. You will grow in ways you never expected
Being an entrepreneur is like being on a rollercoaster. One minute you’re inching up a massive hill, the next you’re screaming with your hands gripping the safety bar as you whoosh down the steep slope, and then you’re whipping around a corner you didn’t even know existed, wondering what happened as the bottom drops out and you’re freefalling. Every twist and turn forces you to adapt, grow, stretch, and try again. Hands down, I’ve learned the hardest lessons, faced the biggest losses, and the best wins as a business owner. And those changes are not just professional. As a human, I’ve developed more empathy, more compassion, more grit. And you will, too.
6. If it doesn’t work, you can always come back
One of the biggest fears most people express about making the leap is the fear of failure. But the beauty of entrepreneurship is that YOU decide what failure looks like. You decide what the breaking point is and how long you can stay there. Being a business owner means you get to design your business the way you want… and if it doesn’t work out, it’s not a failure. It’s new growth that enables you to be a better person and professional. If it’s not as profitable as you want or need, or even if you hate it… you can always go back to corporate with newfound skills, strengths, and stories to tell.
7. Everything is up for negotiation
In business, you don’t get anywhere without asking for what you want. Some of the biggest wins for us have come because we asked what was possible, if this tweak or that one could be made, and it’s made all the difference. In fact, 2 Smart Girls was founded because we had the courage to ask that a clause in a massive contract be honored, even when it felt like the odds were against us… and it worked. ASK! ASK! ASK!
8. Say no… often!
When you say yes to everything, you’re saying no to the things that are truly important. As a business owner, you have to know your priorities and say no to everything that doesn’t align with them. Until you do that, your business will suffer.
9. Commitment is keystone of your business
Some days, getting out of bed to show up for your business is going to feel like walking in wet concrete. Even when you love what you do, believe in it deeply, and are passionate about the change and impact you’re making, it will be hard. Just like a keystone holds the arch together, your unwavering commitment to your vision and what you’re trying to create… and they why behind it, will be the glue that holds your business together and keeps you going even when it’s hard.
So, there you have it. 9 things no one ever tells you before you leave corporate and set out on your own. I know it can seem like the grass is greener when you’re trapped in a 9-5 you hate, when you know you were made for more, or desperately want more freedom, flexibility, and stability. But make sure you do your due diligence before you dive off the deep end. Build a plan, do the deep thought work, and set yourself up for success. And ask for help; seek out those who’ve gone before, a coach, or mentor who can talk you through their experience and lessons learned. If there’s one thing entrepreneurs love it’s to tell their story.
If you’re trying to figure out if making the leap is right for you, I put together a simple workbook to help you think through the nuts and bolts as well as the ever-important question of your why. Grab it and get to work!
Until next time, be present, be strong, be you!
P.S. Have you registered for the Time to Rise: Shatter Your Own Glass Ceiling workshop? On May 27th, we’ll be gathering together to tackle 6 habits that hold women back from being truly success! Get all the info here. Spaces are limited, so don’t wait to reserve your spot.