How to make the leap from business to entrepreneurial life


Founder and Director, LQ Logistics LLC.

Entrepreneurship is a popular career path for many people. Consider this: according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor “About 33.5 million American respondents started or led new businesses, and nearly 18 million ran established businesses.”

But despite the prevalence of entrepreneurship, the leap from business to entrepreneurial life is a major change that many dread. As someone who left a long corporate career in telecommunications to become a serial entrepreneur, here’s my advice for anyone considering making the switch.


1. Determine if entrepreneurship is the right path for you

Entrepreneurship offers a level of freedom and flexibility that is difficult, if not impossible, to find in traditional positions. A 2022 questionnaire conducted by online business insurance company Thimble found that “90% of Americans would give up a major employment benefit” — such as an annual bonus or PTO — to run their own business.

A big reason I decided to become an entrepreneur was that I wanted to combine the different skills I learned in the military and on the shop floor and move up in my career without the limitations and obstacles that are typical of the corporate world. I wanted to be my own boss and shape the working environment I wanted for myself and my employees. But while entrepreneurship is often touted as a great professional choice, it’s not for everyone. Being an entrepreneur means dealing with challenges, risks and uncertainties, but also working long hours. Some people understandably don’t want to deal with those factors; they may prefer the pace of business life.

To decide if entrepreneurship is for you, tune into your inner voice. If you are religious or spiritual, consider praying about the decision in a way that aligns with your beliefs. If you are not religious or spiritual, try to connect with yourself in a way that works for you, such as meditation. In addition, think about whether entrepreneurship has pulled you repeatedly over the months or years. For example, if you have dreamed of running your own coffee shop since childhood, now might be the time to go for it.

2. Determine your focus and do your research

If you decide that entrepreneurship is the right path for you, your next step is to determine your focus area as an entrepreneur. Identify your passions and interests and reflect on your existing skills and experience to pinpoint opportunities where you will have a competitive advantage. For example, I chose real estate for my first entrepreneurial venture because I had a passion for homes; I enjoyed looking at homes during my free time, touring model homes, and talking to people about real estate. In addition, I knew that the sales strategies and interpersonal skills I had learned in my business career would serve me well.

Make sure whatever area of ​​focus you choose allows you to live your purpose. Don’t pursue a business opportunity just because it’s popular or profitable. Without a genuine interest in something, you will probably have a hard time persevering in difficult situations.

However, passion alone will not pay the bills. Conduct thorough market and industry research before entering an industry. For example, you might discover that the market isn’t optimal for your idea and that you’re better off pursuing something else for now. Granted, that doesn’t mean you should close the door to that idea forever — you can always revisit it and possibly start an additional business. In fact, I advise all entrepreneurs not to put their eggs in one basket and start more than one company to secure themselves financially.

3. Prepare a business plan and get your finances in order

Make sure you have a business plan in place before submitting your notice at work. You don’t need to figure out every detail of your business, but you do need to know the basics, such as your company’s expected expenses and what marketing strategies you will pursue, with the understanding that some of the details may change once you get started. When creating your business plan, try to think step-by-step and set realistic goals. While the big picture is essential, short-term goals can help you achieve your main goals better than taking on more tasks than you can handle at any one time.

Of course, you also need to know how you want to finance your business so that you can take the right steps. Aside from financing your business, you also need to be sure that you can handle your living expenses without the security of a fixed salary. I recommend setting aside at least a full year’s living expenses so you can build your business without wondering how you’re going to pay your bills.

4. Get your mindset in order

You can have a great business idea that you are passionate about, a thorough business plan and the right amount in the bank, but without the right mindset you probably won’t reach your full potential.

Anxiety can reduce your chances of success. As Clifford N. Lazarus, a psychologist and co-founder of The Lazarus Institute, wrote in Psychology today, negative thoughts and images ultimately create “a myriad of negative emotional states such as anger, depression, anxiety, guilt, and shame.” In addition, he continued, when you “get bogged down in bad feelings, it’s hard to do things right or adapt.”

Don’t be shy about starting a new venture. Work on overcoming your fears as much as possible before starting your business. Personally, I overcame my fear of failure in business by adopting a growth mindset, where I began to view failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. In addition, I surrounded myself with a strong support network that I knew I could turn to when I needed guidance.

Ultimately, starting your own business requires a leap of faith. But with a strong, healthy mindset, that uncertain journey will go much smoother and you’ll build a business that will help you achieve your professional goals on your own terms. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?