Things getting a little stale in the cubicle world of your current job? If you’re sitting on an idea you’re sure everyone will love, it might be time to jump ship and start a new life as the founder of a startup.
Of course, every new venture comes with its fair share of ups and downs — the key is to not go in blind. Before you leave for what might be greener pastures, consider these tips and strategies that I learned as I made the move from corporate executive to entrepreneur.
1. Make sure you’re moving toward something you are passionate about. Everyone says this – but it’s true. All of the issues, problems and roadblocks you run into become greater, and you need to keep reminding yourself why you are doing this in the first place.
2. Have enough savings. If you are headed out on your own, you better have enough money in the bank to support your lifestyle for a long time. Fundraising takes a lot of time, and is difficult. Sure, you hear stories of companies getting $50 million for this, or $10 million for that – but you don’t hear about the companies that get nothing, or that it takes them ten years to get to that point.
3. Learn to separate work and life. This is by far one of the larger challenges you’ll deal with. When I started to work out of my home, that division no longer existed. Therefore, you need to find other ways to set boundaries in order to make this clear distinction.
4. Build relationships while you are still in corporate America. You never know who will need to network through, or even bring on board, to help you get your product to the masses. Having these relationships will help if you in every facet.
5. There isn’t room for a backup plan. You can’t go into the start-up field thinking, “Well, if this doesn’t work out, I can always go back to my old job.” Of course you can. But you have to believe that this is all or nothing, and that failure isn’t an option. Backup plans pave the way to excuses to be made that can derail your mission.
There will be many times when it feels like you are the only one who cares, or that you are the only that believes in your product or service. But if you are truly doing something that you believe in, you can persevere past the roadblocks – and there will be many — and onwards towards the green pastures of success.