This week is the anniversary of my putting in my corporate notice. *Insert I can remember it to the day because it was probably the most nervous I have ever been.* And the worst part was at the time everyone was still working at home from the pandemic so I had to do it via Zoom and my boss moved the meeting three times!!!
With that being said, I joke that I left my 22 corporate career and most of my colleagues didn't even know I had a business. You can read the full story on leaving corporate America here.
I get asked a lot, "Holly, I am nervous to leave my full-time job, what do I need to have in place before I do?"
Why it is beneficial to build your business while working full-time
First I will say building a business while you work full-time is actually a blessing, not a curse, because you have a nest egg. You are not reliant on your business income for daily survival, which helps take the stress off. Use your corporate job as your base until you are ready. But when you are ready, here is what I would recommend.
1) It doesn't have to be all or nothing.
If you want to leave your corporate job, perhaps it is going part-time first or changing your hours. This acts as a stepping stone so you can work your way into full-time entrepreneurship if you want.
2) Set a date.
The date can be when you want to leave, when you want to retire, or when you want to go part-time, but you have to have a date to work towards. In our case, once we set the date and started talking about it out loud it actually sped up the timeline. The date can always change, but you need a deadline.
3) Remove the financial stress.
The goal 1 year. One of the benefits of starting my business in my 40s was that I already had a retirement plan in place. We had a savings. I wouldn't have been able to do this in my 20s, but it removed a lot of the stress because I didn't want to wake up every morning while running my business knowing I needed to make a certain amount of money to get by. We had set the deadline as a family of one year, so at the end of one year, we would revisit it. So the goal was that we had a plan so that even if I didn't make any money at the end of that year, we could still survive.
4) Remember all the corporate benefits.
This part was stressful for me because I carried all of the benefits (insurance, health insurance, 401k etc.) for my family. For me, it was working backwards and looking at what my corporate job covered now, and what we needed to replace. Look at what your company is covering, can your spouse or partner cover it or do you need another plan in place?
5) Create a list of everything you need to do and make it visible.
We have a big whiteboard and I literally wrote down every little thing we need to have in place. Where we were getting insurance? What are our financial goals? What is the date? Who do I need to tell? What does that look like? And what do I need in place for my business?
6) Design your dream first day.
Have a plan in place for when you wake up on your first day as a full-time entrepreneur and what that day will look like. What are you actually going to do? We planned out our first three months, so I knew what my focus was and what I would be working on, and then we re-evaluated.
7) Have support.
This should start when you just start talking about making changes so that you have support throughout the whole journey. I had a coach, my husband, and my family, who all knew what we were going through. You don't have to and shouldn't do this alone. If your dream is just you, then it's not big enough. For us, it was how is this dream going to support our family? How is this going to benefit my husband and my relationship? How is this going to benefit my mental health after being on zoom for 17 hours/day for the last two years? Those close to me understood the why behind what we were doing
8 ) Let the corporate unraveling begin.
It has taken almost the full two years to unravel from the corporate world. Everything from remembering that I don't have to do things the way I have always done them to the mindset that it is totally normal to go outside at 2 pm and take a walk.
Going back to the mission of our business, as a business strategist for female entrepreneurs, I don't want other women to feel this if it can be avoided. Take the lunch walk. Leave at 3 pm to pick up your kids. We should be allowed to control our schedule whether we are in corporate or not. I think more than ever I am so convinced that we don't all need to fit inside the same boxes. Jump on the other side of the paper if you want.
I get super passionate about this because I wasn't prepared for the unraveling part. So if this is you and you are having a hard time getting used to the new normal, just know that it is normal. And eventually being able to be in control of your schedule is going to be even better than you ever imagined.Looking for more on this topic and your High-Level Action items? Check out the Strategy Lab in the Crush the Rush Club!