Transitioning from employee to entrepreneur is scary for most and for people like Penny Haynes, who started her own business after her company downsized, she was pushed in to her dream of being in charge of her own career life.
“I made a conscious decision that I wanted to be able to take off for a ranch in Colorado if I wanted to, just like my boss. I didn’t want to have my daily life scheduled by someone else until I was 70.”
Penny, like other people sitting in cubicles offering their skills to somebody else for 40 or more hours each week, knew that she had the talent to do more. She worked for a graphic and arts company who refurbished old printing presses. She loved her job but it didn’t allow her to use her creativity in ways that made her feel satisfied or fulfilled.
“I am a very creative person who likes the challenge of creating something no one has ever thought of. Very few jobs let you be that innovative.”
Once the pink slip arrived, she knew that she had to make the choice between going to work for somebody else again or becoming her own boss. She opted to start her own company, Commercial Creation Center.
Her company helps people promote their business online by creating audio and video advertisements as well as utilizing social media to make an even more commanding presence. Additionally, she uses her programming skills to create simple applications for multimedia novices.
Today her business is 100% self sustaining and provides an income that exceeds that of her previous job, where she received a lucrative salary. What advice does she have for those going from employee to entrepreneur?
1.-Understand that being a small business owner means that you must be a salesperson. Even if you don’t think that’s one of your talents, take time to learn it. You are in charge of finding and maintaining your client relationships.
2.- Building a business takes more time than working for somebody else. Expect long hours and sometimes no days off. As the old saying goes, for the small business owner, any day that ends with “day”, is a work day. If you’re looking to start a business to work less hours, you may want to remain an employee of somebody else.
3.- Don’t try to compete in a crowded field. Come up with a new idea where you can dominate. It’s a much slower process to gain a foothold in a crowded field than it is to create your own field.
Finally, if you aren’t laid off, stay in your current job while you build your new business. While it may be tempting to go after your dream without the confines of a full time job, the practicalities of life must be satisfied or your entrepreneurial dreams may be derailed. Stories abound of those people who quit their job to follow their dream but the bulk of people, when given the choice, build their business slowly over time and quietly transition to being an entrepreneur.
Your dreams of going from employee to entrepreneur can be realized with patience and a willingness to work hard but take it slowly and remember that most businesses take 3 years or more to grow to a self sustaining level. Penny loves her new life but it wasn’t an easy or quick transition.