There are a large group of committed employees in our world who aspire to leave the confines of a corporate or government job and run their own small businesses. Are you one of them? If so, what are the barriers that are preventing you from doing so?

Sometimes those constraints revolve around the need for a paycheck perhaps, along with an aversion to risk. It is possible for you to shift to the life of your dreams, but it may not be easy, and certainly will not happen overnight. It also won’t happen just because you desire it to. You must take a strategic approach to a major life transition such as this. The world needs you and your ideas. Many people need your products and/or services. There is a unique opportunity for you to maximize your potential, impact the lives of people and build communities in new and innovative ways.

What is your compelling “why” for aspiring to become a small business owner?

You may have come from a family with a legacy focused on working really hard on a job for someone else. Your family may not have felt that they had another choice. Making a leap to the life of a small business owner or entrepreneur is easier if we can imagine a compelling why. Have you read the book Start With Why by Simon Sinek? If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so. You should also view a few of the videos out there about the book. Take some time to reflect on your own “why” and what motivates you. What is the “burning idea” or desire related to a business that is frequently on your mind? Why do you want to start the business? Is it to gain more control of your time, or is it to control your own destiny as oppose to allowing others to? We happen to live during a time in history when choices are somewhat limitless if you are prepared and willing to take necessary risks to become a business owner.

There is risk associated with working a full-time job.

Unfortunately, there is risk with starting and running your own business. There is also a degree of risk associated with full-time employment. We’ve seen this over-and-over again prior to and during the current era of COVID. Large and small businesses and the people working for them have been adversely impacted by the recession that occurred due to the pandemic. We are constantly hearing about companies, both large and small, severing large numbers of people. You may have experienced a job loss or you may currently be in a situation where you consider yourself “safe.” I encourage you to not become complacent, because this could change in a moments notice.

Goal setting is critical for shifting successfully.

Many employees have thought of starting and running their own businesses at one time or another. To transition, it is important to take a strategic approach by developing a good understanding of purpose, developing a vision and mission and then setting goals. Developing a plan, which consists of establishing meaningful goals along with action steps that will move you towards starting and building a successful business, is essential. You should also establish time-lines for the actions you commit to taking. If you don’t, the likelihood is that you will remain stuck where you are.

Begin where you are and do it now.

You might wonder what can I do right now. Here are a few ideals that may be helpful:

  1. Develop a business plan while working and seek opportunities to test out your business idea. Some people make the decision to moonlight. They take a part-time job in the industry in which they are interested, or they create a “side hustle.”
  2. Think and act like an entrepreneur as you work in your current job. This has been referred to as intrapreneurship. You act as an entrepreneur or business owner inside your department and/or organization.
  3. Network with others who are running a business similar to the one that you are considering. Networking widely will allow you to build relationships that will help when you transition.
  4. If you don’t have a financial plan, partner with a fee-only financial advisor and have a plan developed. Everyone needs and deserves a financial plan. That is especially true for aspiring business owners. Make it a priority to be disciplined about saving your money and executing your plan with a transition in mind.
  5. Hire a business or life coach to help you build a plan.

The steps above can help you begin the process. As you do so, you will build confidence and become more excited about the possibilities that are before you. I heard someone say, “If you don’t start your own business, you will find that you will spend the majority of your life working for someone else who did.” Many people are working on jobs that they have very little passion for with dreams of owning their own business(es).

Starting your own business is possible, but you must make it a priority and be disciplined about taking the necessary steps to do so. I encourage you not to live a life of quiet desperation and allow life to pass you by. Moving from a paycheck mentality to a life as an entrepreneur is not easy, but it is possible if you take a strategic approach and make a decision to shift from dreaming to taking action.