New Year, New Career: From Corporate Employee to CEO

With the holidays behind us and the New Year in full swing, people are planning to make big changes. Some may be planning to take better care of themselves or take up a new hobby, but many are looking to make a career change. Before I started my company, I found myself in a similar position – not because of a change on the calendar but because of a major change in my life. It was shortly after the birth of my first child, and I needed to find a new job that would provide both the income and the flexibility I needed to support my growing family. I wanted to be my own boss and create enough freedom to be both a mother and a career woman, but I had to figure out exactly what kind of business I wanted to create. In my journey from employee to employer, I picked up a few tips that will help looking to start a business a bit easier.

Find Something That Inspires Your Passion

Being your own boss isn’t easy. It sometimes requires long hours and a high level of motivation to learn new skills and push past the obstacles. It’s essential to find something that inspires the kind of passion required to succeed in an entrepreneurial role.

During this transitional time, I went on a weekend getaway to clear my head and get some perspective. While looking for something to do in the evening, some friends and I booked a class at a paint and sip studio in the area. I immediately feel in love with the concept of combining an upbeat environment with the creative expression of painting. It inspired me, and I soon realized this was exactly the kind of environment that would drive me to be successful.

Identify an Opportunity in the Marketplace

The logistical hurdles to starting a business are challenging enough on their own, but they become even more difficult if you attempt to enter a field crowded with competition. You need to be able to build name recognition quickly and that becomes tough to accomplish if there are similar businesses operating in the same space. While introducing a brand new concept to the market comes with its own challenges, you can overcome those with a clear vision of what your business is and how you want to run it.

Part of the reason the paint and sip studio inspired me was that I knew there was nothing like it in my home market of Raleigh, N.C. I could bring my own ideas to the concept and bring a fresh, new business to the area, drawing in customers who would love the atmosphere just as much as I did. By understanding exactly why I loved the concept so much, I knew exactly how to market it in a city where this type of business was unfamiliar.

Surround Yourself with the Right People

Starting a business takes dedication from not only the entrepreneur but also those who surround them during the early stages of the business. Not everyone who shares your vision for the company will have the drive to help get the idea off the ground. Similarly, not everyone with the drive necessary to help launch a business will share your vision for how to run things. It’s a lesson that many will learn from experience, but it’s for a business leader to develop the ability to recognize the right kind of employee quickly.

While the combination of a shared vision and motivation are essential, it’s also important to recognize when people have experience that compliments your own expertise.  It takes a diverse skillset to build a business from the ground up, and you can’t expect to be a master of all aspects of the business by yourself. From legal and accounting to marketing and human resources, you’ll need to wear a lot of hats, but you’ll also need guidance and support from people who know those aspects of running a business inside and out. While it may take time to get the right mix, you need to have the resources within your company as well as trusted advisors outside your organization that you can rely on to help you make informed decisions and manage the diverse aspects of the business effectively.


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