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Leaving corporate life for a startup

Rose Muthoni @rosemuthoniN

You have an 8am to 5pm job. You have a steady income and very good benefits. But, you want more. You want to venture out into entrepreneurship, bring that business idea into life. For a woman, transitioning from the corporate world to entrepreneurship comes with unique challenges. But it may be one of the most rewarding journeys to embark on as a working woman.

According to the Entrepreneur, the premier source for everything small business, it will change what you have been conditioned to believe and challenge you to grow in unexpected ways. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind to make this new journey a bit smoother.

 Adopt a positive mindset

In her book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer points out to the impostor syndrome that most women suffer from. This syndrome is a psychological pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud.

As a working woman, you may feel inadequate or that maybe, your personality is off. The first step is recognising these feelings and work on increasing your self-confidence through self-care, affirmation and facing your fears head on. Remember, for your business to take off, confidence is a critical ingredient.

 Be financially prepared

Starting a business requires money; and this is especially important for women, who are likely to face more obstacles when starting a business. And because of low propriety ownership, a key collateral, among women, access to commercial bank loans is harder.

It is important, therefore, to have a financial cushion as a fall back. Financial preparedness is key to success. The best time to save for your business is when in active employment. Cut off on unnecessary spends, live below your means and pay off your debt to shore up money for your venture. While at it, you will build better spending habits.

Use your emotions to your advantage

Female entrepreneurs overlook the emotional side of transitioning from a corporate job to their business. Pressures of balancing work and family can also wreak havoc on your emotions as a working woman. Starting a business can lead to emotional distress and mental health issues.

Resist the temptation to be your own worst critique. Show yourself some compassion. But emotions do not need to be all bad, you can actually use them to help your entrepreneurial venture. Using the nurturing trait in every woman, you will be more in tune with your customers’ emotional side, which is always a plus for your business’ bottom line.

 Have a plan, but be flexible

Make sure you do not do all the work in your business as opposed to working on your business. A good plan will allow you to delegate, which is the one ingredient your business needs to be successful. But remember flexibility and spontaneity is king when starting out. Some variables are definitely going to change, so be ready to change with them.

As you transition, do not forget to network. The network you build in the corporate world will be even more useful now that you own a business. Nurture this network and spread your wings to capture more allies.

And whatever you do, please make self-care a priority. Take some time out, get a massage, paint your toes and go out. At the end of the day, your business needs you whole and happy.


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