10 Traps to Avoid When you Leave your Job to Start a Business

Today we are going to discuss the Top 10 traps to avoid when you move from being employed to having your own business. And these traps can last longer than you might think!

I have recently completed some quantitative research on 300 women business owners, and these are some of the traps they faced, and some are from my experience of nine years of working with business owners and people who left corporate to set up their own business – Corporate Crossovers.

For each Trap – I’ll share some ideas about how you might avoid it, or fix it if you are there already.

TRAP NUMBER !: Trying to do it all

  • When you set up you own biz you are probably very passionate about it, and it is something you are very good at and you love doing
  • And when you dreamt of your new business you imagined that you would spend lots of time doing that one thing
  • And then you discover that you have to do lots of things!
  • Chances are you are not an IT expert, a brilliant website builder or even a book-keeper yet suddenly when you start up you are propelled into having to know all this stuff!
  • And you think you have to do it all!
  • I really urge you to use people who are expert at this stuff – find someone who is as passionate about book keeping as you are about your own business, and let them take over your books…or your web design or what ever. They will do the job better and faster than you. And save you much stress and long hours as well!
  • I know may of you will be thinking that you can’t afford it at this stage but every moment you spend doing something like this is a moment you are not building revenue for your business.
  • I believe that anytime I spend on the ancillary bits of my business – you know, the book-keeping website building etc is actually costing my business money – because that is time I don’t get back again to use to build my business.

TRAP NUMBER 2: NOT Treating Your Business Like  A Real Job

  • From my research of over 300 women business owners, I know that a huge majority of them left their jobs for increased freedom and flexibility. And they got it! And they love it! But then what happens is that creep between work and home starts, and those boundaries between their work life and their personal life are really blurred.
  • The issue that seems to come up from this is that many of you feel like you work ALL the time and that getting up first thing to check email and then last thing on your way up to bed means that you have an exceptionally long working day.
  • The other thing that tends to happen if you are home based is that the household chores seem to sneak in during a working day. I know it only takes 5 minutes to throw on a load of washing but doing that can interrupt your flow of work and that feeling you have of being in work mode. And when you sit down to start again, it can take a while to get back into the swing of it. So in reality – you lose much roe than just the 5 minutes it took to put the wash on!
  • And in some cases, quickly doing a few household chores can be a great cover up for procrastination. You may want to ask yourself – what am I avoiding doing for my business by doing this….
  • Or other household/family issues take priority over your work
  • And while this can be fine at the start, I know that many of you aren’t getting the time to do the work you want to, nor are you getting the results you want.
  • Ask yourself this – would you behave like this if you were still an employee?
  • I would ask you to consider these three steps to treating your business like a job
    • set yourself work hours – so you can have a start and finish to each day and stick to it
    • schedule in time for those essential personal items – I know some of you have responsibilities here – put them in your calendar, so you know you actually have time to do them and so thus stop interrupting your day to quickly put a load on
    • if you have friends that drop in because your home – try making a time for them which won’t interrupt your day and flow

TRAP 3: NOT updating What does success looks like now

  • A big cause of unhappiness when we first leave our jobs to go out on our own can be that feeling of not being successful. This is because our criteria of how we value our own success needs to be updated. When I was in my last few jobs, my criteria of success was based on income, number of people reporting through to me, size of budgets, overseas trips, size of hotel room, dinners out and other things like this.
  • It took me a while to realize that when I was considering how successful in my new business, I was still judging by my old job criteria and when I thought of that – I wasn’t successful anymore…
  • Bu then I realized that they weren’t relevant to me any more and actually I valued other things. And that maybe it was time to update my criteria of success..
  • I spent some time thinking about this and came up with quite a different list that represented what success meant to me – and then I realized I was actually quite successful based on this list!
  • On my new success criteria I had things like freedom and happiness, income, doing hat I loved, spending time with people who stimulated me and feeling like I was making a difference. Although I have to pay for my own travel now, this seems a small price to pay compared to achieving success in my updated areas.
  • So I really recommend spending some time renewing your success criteria

TRAP number 4: Isolation

  • If you work from home or even in a serviced office =, isolation can get you down! The thing that Corporate Crossovers miss about their work is that companionship and the instant socialalising that being employed gave them.
  • How easy was it to wonder down the hall and bonce ideas of f someone, or chat about the weekend at the coffee machine or even enjoy having a gripe about your boss?
  • When we work by ourselves, that isolation can be unbearable. It can make you start to question your own ability, start to erode your self confidence because you are not getting instant feedback from people and you can start to question if the move was worth it.
  • To overcome this you need to reach out!
  • Of course you can network virtually – I love twitter an linked in as I feel like I am connected to a really big group of people
  • But I still love face to face best of all. Try joining a networking group – my advice here is to try out several before you pay up – some you will love and feel a great affinity with and others – you wont!
  • And sometimes the thing with networking groups is that it’s not always about the business but often the more intangible elements can be the most valued – the support, talking to people like you and building trusting relationships.

TRAP NUMBER 5 No Goals

  • When we are employed the chances are pretty high that you will have had KPIs, Key performance indicator or objectives set by yourself or your manager. Often when we leave corporate to set up our own businesses we are so loving the freedom and escape from the corporate regime that we let go some of those simple business constructs.
  • I meet so many business owners who don’t have goals for their business and they are often frustrated at how their business is going.
  • It is really important to have goals for your business! At a  minimum I would suggest a goal for turnover and one for profit. The number of customers you want to, is also a great goal.
  • Why do I think goals are so important? They give you a really easy way to work out if you are spending your time, money and energy effectively.
  • When you have a goal you can make the decision about doing something much easier as you can consider – will this help me get my goal or not?

TRAP NUMBER 6: NO Planning

  • This is so linked to not having any goals.
  • When we are in a job our planning and our jobs are often determined by the annual rhythm of the business. So we have a budgeting deadline, quarterly reports, monthly reports etc.
  • When we become Corporate Crossovers and set up our own businesses – we need to do that planning for ourselves.
  • Having a plan can help you feel more confident you will achieve your goal, as you will know the little steps you need to take to make it happen.
  • The other great thing about having a plan is that you can measure how well you are going against it and get a little more sure of what works and what doesn’t.

TRAP NUMBER 7.  Faltering at the first hurdle

  • When we have our own businesses will be pushing against your comfort zones much of the time.
  • You will need to do lots of new thins, be bold and feel proud about your work and valuing yourself as you ask for the money!
  • To do this you will need lots of self belief, confidence – all of this can sound easy on a good day but when a client says no, or a proposal gets rejected, your confidence and resolve can disintegrate in an instant!
  • Some ideas to try to keep your confidence high are:
  • 1. Create a vision board – a collage of how you want your business to be – this can be so inspiring and I look at mine every day to keep my spirits high!
  • 2. Really tap in with WHY you started the business in the first place – what is the real reason you started your business, that deeper value you want to offer your customers – when you know WHY, it is easier to stay motivated
  • 3. Get some support – it can be tough at times having you own business – get some support –this may be form a coach, a mentor, a mastermind group or from an accountability buddy – they can help pull you out of the detail in your business and help you remember what successes you have already have and rebuild your confidence!

TRAP NUMBER 8. Slow Cash Flow

  • When we first start off a business, there are many expenses – new website, business cards and other elements you need to present a professional image to prospective clients
  • Then as our business evolves there are many other expenses taht come along , marketing, professional fees, rent, wages etc
  • The key to ensuring your business is a success is having a healthy cash flow –ensure that there is enough money coming in, at the right time to cover your expenses and to ensue you get paid for you work too
  • It helps if you have managed to save enough money to cover several months expenses before you start but if you haven’t I would really try to save at least 3 months worth of expenses now, so you have an emergency fund
  • The other key issue with keeping cash flow positive is to invoice in a  timely fashion and always, make sure you get paid on time
  • When your cash flow is positive and flowing well, you feel abundant and successful – this has such a positive impact on all other parts of your business.

TRAP NUMBER 9. Hating Selling

  • Many many business owners I know hate selling! They associate it with shiny suited used car salesman trying to flog the old Mondeo….
  • Sadly sales has a tarnished reputation and thus when they have to sell , they may resist it or do a really poor job at it
  • Yet if  we are to be successful in your business, we need customers, and ultimately we will need to sell
  • The trick to overcoming the resistance to selling is to think abut it differently – or to reframe it
  • So try this –
  • Firstly, get really passionate about your product – ‘cos if you aren’t passionate, no one you meet will be either and from all my experience, I know people need to be passionate what they are about to buy before they part with their cash!
  • Think about how your product or service will really help this person – think about the things that worry them, what may keep them awake at night – then think about how your product will help them
  • Think that you are helping them by solving a big issue for them – that’s not ‘selling’ as you may have thought about it but you are actually helping them feel better, be better or operate better
  • So move from the concept of selling to solving a problem – doesn’t that feel better – you are helping someone!

TRAP NUMBER  10:  No Accountability – things take forever to do or fall through the cracks

  • When we worked in a company, like it or not we generally had a boss. And that boss typically expected things to be done! In fact, that was what we got paid for. So we would do them!
  • And often there would be project meetings, update meetings, monthly reports to make – all sorts of structures in place to keep us accountable and doing what we said we would do
  • When we become self employed – its not that simple any more we have to keep ourselves accountable When we work for ourselves, that accountability can easily slip away. How do you have a status meeting when it’s just you?
  • I know from hard experience that it is important to review your actual activity against what you planned every week – the reason for this is that time can disappear so quickly when you are busy and you can easily find yourself doing the small endless tasks and missing out on those big thongs that you know will take your business to a new level. And also, those big things can be a little scary and will mean we have to move out of our comfort zone to do them. So having a review every week – I do mine on a Monday – can help you stay o track and move your business forward!

That brings us to the end of the top 10 traps for business owners –

To recap they are:

TRAP NUMBER !: Trying to do it all

TRAP NUMBER 2: NOT Treating Your Business Like  A Real Job

TRAP 3: NOT updating What does success looks like now

TRAP number 4: Isolation

TRAP NUMBER 5 No Goals

TRAP NUMBER 6: NO Planning

TRAP NUMBER 7.  Faltering at the first hurdle

TRAP NUMBER 8. Slow Cash Flow

TRAP NUMBER 9. Hating Selling

TRAP NUMBER  10:  No Accountability – things take forever to do or fall through the cracks

I would love to know what action you will take as a result of this – leave me a comment below and tell me or send me a voice message!

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