Hello SOTGC community,
You’ve got a great business idea. Your skill set and network will serve you well as an entrepreneur. You’ve accepted the gaps in your knowledge and network. And you know how you are going to fill those gaps. You have come to terms with the reality that this is going to be a life changing shift for you. You’re not sure how those changes will manifest day to day, but you know they are going to be BIG.
Now it’s time to shift the focus to the other people affected by your BIG decision – your family and your current employer.
You Already Know This: You already know there are other people affected by your decision to move from employee to entrepreneur. But do you fully appreciate how your decision will impact the day-to-day and the emotions of your spouse, partner, parents, kids, and your boss? They will all be affected. It’s up to you to turn that affect into a positive and not a negative.
Here’s a quick guide to help you through:
Prepare Your Family: Let me make the assumption that your family is important to you. And that you want them to be excited and supportive about your entrepreneurial adventure.
But guess what: you are about to rock their world. Whether you straddle your corporate role and entrepreneurship for a while, or make the jump cold turkey – big changes are afoot for your family.
Mom won’t be going to every single soccer game. Meals might be coming from take out more often. Your Saturdays and Sundays might be occupied with work instead of fun.
That’s a reality of business ownership and e-ship. Your family will definitely be affected. Here’s how to ease that shock:
- Communicate your vision: A critical skill of a leader is to get buy-in from your team and maintain it. Get the buy-in of your family early in the process by relating how important this is to you and the important role their support plays into your ability to succeed.
- Work on logistics: Take time to work out the details. Tap your personal network, who can help bring the kids to school? Can every Friday night be pizza delivery night? Find someone to take your place in the committees where you’ve been involved. It will take a village. And your chances of getting your village behind you are a lot higher when you have their buy-in.
- Prepare your employer: Aubrey Pagano, CEO of Bow & Drape, was fortunate that her employer in the financial services company was supportive of her burning desire to leave her day job and start Bow & Drape. She knew of his support before she informed him of her plans, so was able to transition fairly smoothly from paycheck to bootstrap.
- Network preservation: Aubrey’s situation was unique. What if you are not sure about your boss’ support? Then I suggest you tread carefully, be professional and considerate. Do not burn that bridge! Your reputation will follow you wherever you go. And your current boss and colleagues are most likely part of your professional network which will be critical to your new business.
- Professional courtesy: When you decide to leave your day job, be sure to give proper notice, follow the company’s protocol and fulfill all responsibilities up to the last minute. Leave with a stellar record and in the off chance you want to return, your record will shine.
- Consider your options: Going from consistent paycheck to inconsistent or nonexistent paycheck is daunting. Consider part-time, per diem or project based options to keep a little $$ coming in. Present these options to your boss framed in terms of the benefits to the company.
Once you’ve laid the groundwork to garner support from your family and boss, there is one more person you must pay close attention to – YOU! That’s right. In my next post I’ll give an outline of how you can emotionally and physically prepare yourself for the big life change you are about to undertake.