Is Becoming An Entrepreneur The (Only) Solution?
Taking full responsibility for your entire career (and life!) is the fastest path to career change.
Career change and entrepreneurship have become global obsessions. Everyone wants a slice. Whenever a new study is published, larger and larger percentages of corporate professionals come out as being fed up with their jobs, bosses, toxic company cultures and working hours. Are you one of them? Maybe you are devouring stories of people who successfully “made the jump” and seem to have it all figured with their fancy entrepreneurial ventures? Wondering what they know that you don’t?
Is the (only) solution really to become an entrepreneur?
Having spent the last 10 years+ as a career change expert and entrepreneur, I’m honestly excited about the way the world of work is changing and just how many more avenues are now available to help facilitate your career change.
It’s easier than ever to start AND market your own company. However, at the same time it also seems like there is much less certainty and much more unpredictability than just 5-10 years ago. And this can make it even more intimidating and scary to “do your own thing.”
As a result I see a lot of corporate professionals who, rather than dealing with the root cause of their career unhappiness, choose to look for coping strategies to help them deal with the pain of staying in the job or career they no longer enjoy (at least “the devil you know” right?). However, I would argue making that choice is even more risky and certainly more unsustainable than actually facing your real problems and the changes in the working world head on. And I want you to be ahead of the curve!
Thinking and behaving like an employee (even if you are one) is no longer going to get you the kind of career you truly want or deserve. Or keep you safe. Or have job security. AND it’s actually riskier than facing the reality of where the (working) world is going.
Why? Because thinking and behaving like an employee forces you to rely on factors that are mainly out of your control, behave according to unwritten rules that are outdated (and not yours) and hand over way too much of your decision-making power and ability to act to others. And what you do you really get in return? Who says you won’t be the next one to be made redundant? Or replaced? Or being taken for granted? If you are looking for a solid way to fast-track your career change (and career full stop), here’s what I suggest you do instead:
The Solution: Become a Career Entrepreneur (whether you want to start your own company or not)!
This might come as a surprise to you, but I don’t actually think we all have to become entrepreneurs (though I highly recommend entrepreneurship). What I do suggest is that we all start to think and behave like one when it comes to our careers. And even more so when it comes to your career change.
There is still a place for being an employee before/during/after your career change, as long as it’s on your terms. And you are clear about what you are getting out of the deal that is taking you towards what you truly want and is part of your bigger career plan. As a matter of fact research shows that most of us are going to go through a mixture of self-employment and working for others in the very near future (might as well get ready, eh?!). Hence why I suggest that we all become career entrepreneurs rather than (just) entrepreneurs (even entrepreneurs rarely end up with the first business they started, so they need to keep an open mind too). This means changing your mindset AND your actions – The way you look at, make decisions and take actions related to your career. Whether that’s through your own company or a great job opportunity. Or a mix (yep, you have more options that you could ever imagine for your career (change)!).
Action: Treat Your Career (Change) Like You Would A Start-Up/Your Own Company.
- Thinking like an entrepreneur!
- Taking 100% responsibility for everything in your career – Full commitment, no blaming, no excuses. Buck stops with you.
- Knowing you are never “Done” – No one career, job or business model is forever – Everything is an on-going experiment – It’s not about getting it right or perfect, but about getting closer to what suits you best and makes you do your best work. Which is only possible over time.
- Getting used to testing your assumptions and ideas on the real world (as opposed to just in your head). Test driving is the most important part of anyone’s career and how you get to know yourself best (you can’t just think your way through to self-knowledge or “research” it!). This is one the fastest ways to get unstuck with your career change too.
- Knowing that you won’t be the same person in 5, 10 or 15 years time – Nor will the world – Hence you keep adjusting accordingly because you want to make sure you career matches who you are and who you are becoming. As well as what the world and those who pay you need.
- Pro-actively and continuously investing your time and money in your personal and professional development – YOU are your biggest asset and unique selling point. Keep growing, learning and improving. Even if it comes out of your own pocket.
- Building a strong network of collaborators and true friends – Because they will help you get further ahead than you are ever able to get by yourself. AND they will help you bypass the classic “gatekeeper” issues that still keep most career changers with an employee mindset stuck in jobs they hate! You don’t have to go it alone. Reach out.
- Realize that you have the ability to design and create the career or business that is perfect for you. Or to identify it and go out and hunt it down. You no longer have to put up with the limited options that “seem” to be available. But you have to be all in and realize it’s up to you (i.e. don’t wait to be noticed, picked, selected or somehow found!). Learn to ask for what you want.
- Much more – but – hey – we don’t have all day! And there are more blog posts coming ;.
What Can YOU Do Now?
Start incorporating the above principles straight away – I suggest you pick 3 to begin with.
Remember: You don’t have to become an entrepreneur to reap the benefits of thinking and behaving like one – Just apply the above entrepreneurial thinking and behaviour to your career (change) and the framework/system you are currently choosing to work in and watch the difference it makes!
Interestingly, adopting this attitude now also makes it much easier to make the jump from employee to entrepreneur once/if that becomes your best option. Start now. Be in charge.
P.S. If anyone you know is struggling to figure out what they should do with their career, please share this post. It could really help them. Thank you.