Making the transition - from employee to startup entrepreneur

Making the transition - from employee to startup entrepreneur

Wednesday September 13, 2017,

5 min Read

Many times, it takes guts, insight and determination to really go from being an employee to an entrepreneur. It involves a big leap and crossing many hurdles in order to make things work for you. We have a look at the possible challenges and traits you’d need to overcome your travails in the business world.

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Grit to suceed

Most importantly it requires grit — basically the ability to keep going when the going gets tough. Grit is also that valuable life-skill that translates into everything from home, life and career.

Angela Duckworth’s best-seller book “Grit” mentions that grit is among the most important predictors of success. She came to the conclusion after interviewing a sample of people over the course of 10 to 20 years. The students with the highest scores on the “Grit-test” were the most successful in their endeavors years later, and their self-reported happiness levels were higher than average. Hence, the grit to survive and thrive is one of the major traits that is expected of someone looking to make the transition from a salaried day job to entering the startup world. The tenacity and the will to succeed is what differentiates the failures from the successes.

Overcoming imposter syndrome

Another deterrent, that many face while setting up their own venture is the “imposter syndrome”. Self-doubt and incapability to cope with the change will always trouble you and that is what encompasses the imposter syndrome. It is one of the major baggage that you will have to overcome during your formative years as an entrepreneur. According to neuroscientist and leadership coach, Dr. Tara Swart, this issue is a common occurrence among many CEOs across the board, who face this constant nagging of incompetence. Her advice to newbie entrepreneurs is to face the challenge head on and keep doing what you’re doing to get past this constant doubt in your mind.

Setting shop

Remember this, the day you become your own boss, is the day you are expected to fetch your own resources, networks, planning agenda and even the smallest nitty gritty. Things that seemed insignificant during your time as an employed professional, will seem daunting. Be it legal registration, GST, documentation, renting an office space or getting clients; you have no one but yourself to depend on from here forth.

These instances and processes will put to test your networking skills and business acumen and it would be advisable to consider the Total Immersion Therapy (TIT). An offshoot of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, TIT expects the subject to be mindful of his\her own challenges and take practical steps while acquiring a new behaviour. This feature expects a budding entrepreneur to be in the most challenging of roles and constantly work to reinforce the newly acquired skillsets. In common parlance, this technique is referred to as “Just going for it”.

Let’s take into account different challenges that will come into play while setting shop.

  • Registering your company is one of the foremost steps, and many might be unaware of the process. Don’t break a sweat, you can register your company using any popular online portal or even DIY if you have time to read through the necessary guidelines. It can cost you under ₹12,000 INR to register your company name and setup the basics to get you going for a private limited company.
  • As for office space. If you’re starting small then you can go for a co-working space, many offere a good deal and even start from something as cheap as ₹300 a day to a more comprehensive space which resembles an incubator for around ₹30-40K a month.
  • Client acquisition will be your next big hurdle, for which you need a website and a portfolio of your body of work and former clients (if any). You can opt for SquareSpace as it’s the simplest way to get off the ground, or get a basic understanding of WordPress. It’s easy, quick and needs a little bit of understanding of booking domain names, buying server space and entering content that’s SEO and marketing friendly.
  • After you’ve developed your website, you should look at channels that are relevant to your client’s industry. Tech, HR, marketing, auto, finance, etc., – they all have regular conferences, meetups and local groups that encourage new members to explore the arena. Leverage LinkedIn and directly approach potential leads and try to close them as quickly as possible to get some basic work in your portfolio.

Take rejection in the stride

For many entrepreneurs, fear of starting off is another hurdle that makes it difficult to jump ship – the fear of the unknown, where many have crashed and burn. Fear of rejection, according to Mark Leary, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, has social ramifications that can be skewed according to how the person perceives themselves. In many cases, removing the fear from the rejection itself has positive benefits which is what an entrepreneur needs to do in order to face the world.

One of the most inspiring examples of rags to riches comes from John Paul DeJoria, CEO of Patron Tequila and Paul Mitchell Systems hair care products. He started off being broke twice and ended up with a billion+ dollars to his name. His one take away: Rejection is key. “Take as many rejections as you can and keep going on what you’re doing”

You’ll face many challenges when you start off, but with proper guidance and access to knowledge, you can have a better chance at mitigating these challenges while making the transition.