Growing up, my family drilled into my head that the road to success was good grades, a prominent school, and getting a great job.
I’ve always been a good listener, so I followed their advice religiously, discarding any other idea of success as only “not for me.”
At 24, I had already checked off the list that led to “success.” However, I didn’t feel successful. Instead, I felt like I was the protagonist of Groundhog Day, repeating the same day over and over.
Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful to have a job that allowed me to pay for my expenses, bills, and student debt. I still felt like my work was meaningful, and thankfully, I was still working within the parameters of my career.
But I hit a glass ceiling—AT 25!
Trying to move up in a traditional work setting is not as easy as elevating your skills to the promotion. In most cases, you have to wait years for someone else (typically your supervisor) to see your potential as “non-threatening” and promote you, sometimes with minimal reward.
I started gravitating toward entrepreneurship when I saw some of my friends boating around Miami on a Monday.
I was stuck at the office while they were out enjoying the beautiful sunny day on the water. And no—they weren’t taking a day off work; this was part of their lifestyle.
A few days later, again, I saw that one of them was traveling to Mexico, and the week after, she was in the Dominican Republic.
Meanwhile, I was still at the office, with no hope of vacation in sight for at least several months.
Plagued by the consistent reminder that she MUST be doing something I was missing, I decided to send her a message and ask her what she was doing differently. I wanted to have that kind of life too!
She connected me with one of her associates who explained their business plan to me, and it all made sense; I wasn’t meant to be an employee—I was an entrepreneur.
1. Meet Yourself
After meeting with my new business partner, he explained that I must first change my mentality to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Puzzled, I resisted against it thinking I knew it all.
“Psh, why do I need to change my mentality to start a business? I’ve been successful up until now!”
Aha, there was my ego!
I resisted intently, trying to do things my way until I realized I could either follow the steps my business partners—the ones already living their ideal lives—were giving me or call it quits.
“Karla, you need to read books, listen to audios, and attend events that will transform your mindset into that of a leader.”
I quit resisting and gave in to their advice.
I quickly realized that this was harder than I imagined, but not because it was awful or anything of that sort, simply because it put me face to face with who I truly am.
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. You need to be ready to transform into the best version of yourself, and that journey only becomes easy once you accept that you MUST change.
Turns out I wasn’t as confident or as assertive as I thought I was. I wasn’t a good communicator, despite the fact I had not one but TWO degrees related to communications.
However, my formal education didn’t matter; it only taught me how to “do” and not how to “be.”
We have been conditioned to consistently identify ourselves with what we “do” rather than who we are. In fact, we ask people what they do before we even ask them what they like or how their day was.
Part of being an entrepreneur is getting yourself out of that box and creating a space in which you are your true authentic self, who you really want to be.
2. Get Ready to be Responsible for EVERYTHING
In entrepreneurship, you’re the boss. No one is going to tell you when to wake up, eat, work, or sleep.
If you mess up, it’s your fault. If you succeed, it’s your victory.
The faster you accept that everything is YOUR responsibility, the quicker you’ll be on the right path.
We are used to blaming others and outside forces for absolutely everything that goes wrong in our lives: our mothers, our fathers, our bosses, a rainy or sunny day.
We are also used to making excuses for everything—even for stuff that is FUN!
Think back to how many times you’ve invited a friend to an activity, and the day of, the world is at fault for absolutely every inconvenience that doesn’t allow them to hang out.
“Mercury is in retrograde, my mom is sick, my dog is feeling nostalgic, it’s cloudy and might rain…”
We never brave up and say, “Hey, look, I’m sorry, but not a good day for me, maybe next time.”
If you’re looking to move from employee to entrepreneur, you have to accept responsibility and accept it proudly. This will make you accountable for the things you have to do and relieve you of the burden of blaming others for what is in your hands.
You have to think of your business as your creation and be mindful of your actions around that.
3. Establish Goals and a Plan of Action
Unlike your job, your business is centered around your vision.
The goals you are establishing surround the direction you want to take your business and what you are trying to accomplish with them.
For me, my business’s biggest goal is to help individuals and small business owners build a brand and communicate effectively with their target audiences without having to invest large sums of money. Basically, I want everyone, everywhere, to have the opportunity to reach financial independence.
To reach that goal, I established objectives that will get me there and keep me accountable.
As employees, our goals usually sit on a Human Resources site somewhere and are measured by how much we achieved that year. Every month has a purpose in business, and when that goal is not reached, it will cost you.
It is crucial to remember what I mentioned in step 2—I am responsible for EVERYTHING.
I suggest making the most of this part you sit down and write down all the goals you are trying to reach by making this transition.
If you have a family, sit with those above the age of seven and write their goals as well. Revisit this document each time you go off course or miss your goal for that month, week, or year; it will throw you back into action.
4. Get Acquainted with Delayed Gratification
In 1972, psychologist Walter Mischel led the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. The experiment explored self-control in children with a simple test in which schoolchildren were presented with a plate of marshmallows.
The researcher told each child that he/she would be leaving the room for a few minutes and gave them a simple choice: if the child waited until the researcher returned, they would be rewarded with two marshmallows.
If the child could not wait to eat the marshmallow, they would ring a bell, and the researcher would return immediately; however, they would not receive a second marshmallow.
The experiment explored willpower and delayed gratification. It led Mischel and his partners to a framework that explained human beings’ ability to delay gratification despite emotional impulses.
Researchers followed the 59 subjects of the experiment into adulthood and found that those who were less successful at resisting the marshmallow as children performed more poorly on self-control than adults. In contrast, those who chose delayed gratification proved to have better self-control as adults.
I’m citing this experiment because delayed gratification is a significant deterrent for those leaping from employment to entrepreneurship.
When we become entrepreneurs, we are faced with the reality that businesses take time to grow. It will not happen overnight. All the books and successful people tell you that it will take from 1-5 years for your business to grow.
It’s nauseating, I know.
It’s stressful, I know.
BUT THE RESULTS ARE WORTH IT!
If someone told you that if you work hard for five years, you will have the life you always imagined, would you take it?
But we let our emotions take over us and lead us into thinking, “it’s not for me,” simply because we didn’t see results in the first month.
Do you think about your paycheck when it doesn’t increase after working for the same company for 3, 4, or 20 years? When you spend 40 hours of your time in an office instead of with your kids? When you eat the same lunch every single day except on weekends?
I don’t mean to be harsh—I’m just trying to make you THINK and make you conscious of what you may not have considered.
I’m telling you straight—if you can’t take the heat, you’re not ready for entrepreneurship.
However, if you’re ready to go through to hell to end up in heaven, let’s talk—I’m your Virgil.
5. Take a Leap
If you’ve made it this far into the article—CONGRATULATIONS! I’m sure your palms are sweaty, your mind is racing, and your foot is twitching.
I’m proud of you; despite all that, you made it here.
I know the things I’ve said thus far may sound intimidating, but I’m here to tell you that it’s all worth it.
YOU are worth it and YOU are capable!
The truth is that no one who has ever done anything worth remembering had it easy. The majority of successful people had to work hard and endure a significant transformation process to have today’s lifestyle.
Success means different things to us all, and it’s up to us to define that.
If you’re thinking of making the switch from employee to entrepreneur, the tools are within your reach. All that awaits is for you to take a leap, believe in yourself, and endure.
For more information regarding services provided by KM Consulting, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org