Getting in Position to Start a Business

Starting a business takes more than just setting your financial house in order – it takes mental preparation as well.

You may be one of the thousands of corporate employees who yearn to break out and start a business,
but just can’t get out of the mental rut also known as your
all-consuming corporate job.  Listen up, because we have three things
you can do right now to get yourself mentally ramped up for starting
your dream business.

Clear space in your schedule

all of the extraneous activities from your life, inside and outside of
your job.  At work, diplomatically remove yourself from any committees,
task forces or projects that take up a lot of time and don’t add
significant value to your future career.

At home, take a good,
hard look at your personal commitments (e.g. volunteer projects,
homeowner committees and recreational activities), and decide if there
are some that you can put on hold in order to carve out some hours for
your dream endeavor – your business. You will need the extra time,
temporarily or permanently, to devote to planning, research and reflection on your new venture.

That might sound a little drastic, but think about it – if you’ve written your Life Plan,
you should already have a pretty good idea of what qualifies as a high
priority in your life, and you should be able to evaluate your
extracurricular activities based on that plan.  If it’s not high on the
priority list, then it’s standing in the way of your startup dreams!

Discuss the impending lifestyle change with your family

Hopefully you have created a Life Plan
with input from your spouse or family.  Even if you are single, your
career change may impact your family and friends.  You need to let them
know that you will be less available (and more in need of their
support) for a while as you pour your energy into your new business.

a word of warning:  family and friends may be resentful if you start
becoming less available to them.  So include them in the planning
process, if appropriate, and don’t let them deter you!  If you don’t
start planning your new venture now, it will just mean more months or
years in a job that you have grown to dislike (or even despise).  Know your Life Plan and be prepared to live it and defend it, even if others are trying to steer you in a different direction.

you have a spouse and/or kids, their lives will be affected as well, so
you should seek their buy-in and discuss the following questions with

  • If we put our Life Plan into action, what will change in our current life?
  • How do you feel about the changes?
  • What do you need from me to help you through the changes?

How can each of us scale back financially so that we have the money we need to fund the new business?

Create a financial security blanket

One of the dirty little secrets of striking out on your own is that
many entrepreneurs land in a financial limbo when they first start up. 
The painful part of this roughly 2-year period is that you might have a
very tough time getting personal and business financing.  A
bank or creditor is not as willing to take a risk on you for a home
equity loan or credit card if you are self-employed and not showing a
history of steady income in recent months.  And startups less than two
years old are often turned away for traditional financing.

Enter your financial security blanket, a backup plan that will you
help you sleep easier at night when you really dig into starting your
business.  Lynnette Khalfani, The Money Coach
and author of the New York Times bestseller “Zero Debt: The Ultimate
Guide to Financial Freedom,” says, “It’s far tougher to obtain a
personal or home equity loan or line of credit once you’re
self-employed. So get a line of credit in place now! Just be sure to
tap the equity loan only for absolute necessities – no spending on
vacations, frivolous purchases, everyday living expenses that should be
paid for with cash, etc.”

So start pulling yourself out of that “I’m stuck” rut, and get
primed for that new business.  Becoming your own boss is a momentous
event in your life, and it deserves your full attention even before you
hang that “open for business” sign on your door.

Pamela Slim
is a StartupNation guest expert and an entrepreneur coach who helps
people in corporate jobs break out and start their own businesses
through her Escape From Cubicle Nation blog.

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