Thinking about leaving your corporate job to go out on your own? After six years of running her own business, Jen brings her recommendations for those in the wellbeing profession contemplating entrepreneurship.
Wellbeing is one of those professions that can be very limited in career growth, so many of us think that going out on our will solve for that problem. That’s why Jen wanted to offer her lessons learned from leaving the corporate world to run her own business. Spoiler alert: she didn’t do any of these…that’s why they are lessons learned! This episode is an honest solo episode about what entrepreneurship entails.
1. Why do you want to go out on your own? Understand and check it against reality.
If you think you are going to make a bigger impact on your own, it’s possible, but please don’t think employers are magically going to invest in wellness services or consulting.
Maybe you’re frustrated with your employer. That’s fine but understand that it may be fixable, or another organization, job, or role may be better for you.
Ultimately, decide why you want to go on your own and own it.
2. How are you going to stand on your own?
When you don’t have your employer’s brand behind you, what’s your brand? How is your brand going to stand out from the millions of others who want to make work a better place?
3. Understand your target market.
While you are still employed, understand your potential customer, and get to know them. What are their challenges and pain points? Do they spend money on a solution? Are the even the decision maker? Having actual conversations with them and writing down what you learn will help you craft your offer.
4. What’s your offer and how can you niche down?
I highly recommend you offer a very specific product, training, or service. I don’t recommend you offer general consulting. Think about what fits your strengths AND people will buy.
5. How much money do you need to make?
Don’t just say “as much as possible” because then you have a never-ending yardstick to measure your success. Plus, at first, you may not make it out of the gate replacing your salary.
Think about what you need – do you need to replace your income, how long is your runway, and what happens if you can’t make enough? Save up at least 6 months of living expenses so you don’t have to stress.
6. Here’s one of my favorite questions from Mark Manson – What flavor of shit sandwich would you like to eat? What unpleasant experiences are you able to handle?
When you run your own business, there are things you don’t love to do. Eventually you can outsource some of these tasks and focus on your strengths but unless you have an investor or a large pile of cash, you’ll probably do things you don’t enjoy.
Think of the things you don’t like to do. Then think about if it’s worth it.
Also, you have no one contributing to your 401K, no PTO, no co-workers unless you hire them, no bonus. So, entrepreneurship has to be worth it for you.
Jen Arnold is a podcast host, Tedx speaker, and CEO of Redesigning Wellness. She’s on a mission to change the common approach to organizational wellbeing through training, speaking and honest conversations. For the 16 years prior to starting her own business, Jen led organizational health and wellness efforts and advised employers how to start them.