What happens when you leave corporate to set up your own business?

What happens when you leave corporate to set up your own business?

Leaving the perceived safety of the corporate world to start your own business can seem exciting and a great adventure, or it could be scary and risky, depending on your state of mind. Earlier this year I conducted research amongst 300 women business owners. Even though they said they love being self-employed, it isn’t always easy. The transition from employment can be challenging, with revenue and cash flow often erratic at the beginning. And in many cases they are unprepared for the sheer volume and variety of work encountered in running their own business. They may be very skilled in their area of business but it is the myriad of other demands on their time that they find challenging. Whether it is the legal approach, finances, IT or even managing their own diary, these are things that the women have traditionally relied on the large corporate framework to provide, and in many cases even taken for granted. There is no one at the end of their IT help line to fix the printer! Transitioning from corporate to one’s own business can also be challenging at the level of identity. After many years of having a certain title, reliable salary, working for an esteemed company and perhaps having many staff, when this disappears it can be a shock. As suddenly, those external cues we used to judge our success and identified with are gone. The women then need to update their identity based on their values and refresh their criteria of success. In my experience, when women haven’t done this, they may view their entrepreneurial venture as a failure because...
Women Entrepreneurs At The Top – I’m Still Hungry

Women Entrepreneurs At The Top – I’m Still Hungry

Watching the concluding episode of BBC 2’s Women at the Top with the fabulous Hilary Devey, I felt unsatisfied. A bit like the feeling you have after a Chinese meal. You feel full as you stand up from the circular rice covered table, but then hours later you are rummaging in the fridge for something else to eat. (Or is that just me??) Last night, Hilary and the production team at the BBC did a wonderful job of exposing us to innovative employers who think differently about how they can provide flexible working for their employees and cost effective and convenient childcare. These are fantastic places to start and I am sure would encourage more women to stay longer and work their way to the top. Or would it? I still don’t think the ultimate issue of corporate culture has been addressed enough. Why is it that smart, ambitious women who have their home lives organised to enable them to have a career still decide to leave? Yes, I know from my research that for those who are mothers, the flexibility of running their own business is appealing. And I also know from that research that these bright, ambitious women get fed up. They don’t want to play in this sandpit anymore, growing tired of the games and politics needed to elbow their way to the boardroom table. Here we have a conundrum, or do we need to be more patient? Do we hope that the innovative flexible working and child care solutions exposed last night do the trick, as more employees are exposed to this new way, that...
Women At The Top?  – Not in Corporates

Women At The Top? – Not in Corporates

Last night BBC 2 provided us with some gripping television which is a major feat considering the Paralympics are grabbing the viewing audience. Hilary Devey, a British multimillionaire entrepreneur, presented a programme called “Women At The Top.” Designed to discover why there are so few senior women in UK corporates. And a severe lack of women at the top. It was a great programme but it reminded me of the superficial presentations we all get a company induction day, that day when, after we start at a new company, all new recruits sit through hours of powerpoint presentations in a stuffy room having one manager after another show vision statements,  organisation charts and strategy slides in an effort to educate us about the business. And we learn about the business but we are never told the real nitty gritty of how the organisation really works, and how you need to behave to fit in and be a success. Women At The Top was a little like that. It did a great job in raising the issues and informing us of the reality of the inequity between the genders as the seniority of the positions changes. It gave brilliant examples of how women and men operate differently in groups and at the workplace. It showed how Proctor and Gamble examined the productivity of its project teams based on gender, and found that those with an equal balance performed 5% more effectively. And when your profit is close to $9 billion, a percentage point can make a massive difference to the dividend return. So why do I think it could have gone...
Toxic Culture or Glass Ceiling – Why Do Women Leave?

Toxic Culture or Glass Ceiling – Why Do Women Leave?

Why did you leave? I know that most of you probably left corporate to set up your own business to escape the toxic culture and to have more freedom and flexibility. I would love your views on my interview on BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour – listen to the debate and let me know what you think! Click here to listen! [new_line] Would you like a weekly burst of momentum delivered straight into your in box? Simply click on the button below, we’ll send you the latest tip each week! Sign me up for weekly Thrive!...
Even if you paid me more, I still wouldn’t…

Even if you paid me more, I still wouldn’t…

The most surprising fact that came from the Corporate Crossovers research was even if they were offered more money, two thirds of those women earning less or much less in their businesses compared to their previous work, still wouldn’t return to employment. Clearly their distaste for their previous environment outweighs their lower earnings. Money isn’t the driver for these women anymore. Many said in the research that they were happier with less, they had become less materialistic and were loving the freedom and flexibility that their new life gave them. Where are you with this? Are you really happier earning less, or if you are honest would you love to earn what you once did, doing what you do now? If this sounds like you, this is why I set up Corporate Crossovers – to help women like you thrive! Take the first step for change and download my free e-book on “How to Start earning what you are really worth”. And let me know how you get...
Did you lose yourself when you left your job?

Did you lose yourself when you left your job?

When we have a job it can be easy to use the status and position that it gives us as our defacto identity. We relate more to our title and company name than to who we are without it. I know from my own experience, that I didn’t really think that deeply about who I was and my real identity until I left my corporate job nine years ago. Stripped off my office, business card and flashy title, I was unsure how to introduce myself, and how would I talk about who I was? Searching unsuccessfully for a position in a foreign country deepened my identity crisis and I remember spending hours grieving for what I had lost. If you had already taken that step away from your corporate identity or are thinking about taking the leap, spend some time to reflect on who you are, what matters most to you and what is your true identity. I would love to hear from you about your identity shifts as you crossed over from corporate to your own...
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