I recently conducted a survey among all my colleagues on LinkedIn, asking them to tell me about their experiences transitioning from a job to self-employment. I posed the following question: What was the single most important thing you had to learn if you left corporate employment and started a new business?
The choices were: How to manage time, how to cope with working alone, having to learn new skills, finding qualified assistants, and marketing the new business.
The answer chosen most often was “marketing the new business,” (44%) and next was “having to learn new skills,” (24%).
The comments about marketing had a negativity that gave me pause–listen to some of them:
- Go into business because you love business, not a particular profession,because the business activities will take up 90% of your time.
- Within the first months,you’ll realize your primary job now is to market the business, and not to do what you are good at doing.
- I was was able to get several clients, but it took a lot of time and effort. I was more than happy to return to a place where I could work with a staff and stay connected to people. I have no desire to work alone again.
So it sounds like many people who have started their own business are finding that it is not what they thought it would be. I don’t know, but I wonder if a lot of these people underestimated the nature of the changes required of them, and that they are suffering because they set up a business that was unworkable from the start.
You should expect to spend 90% of your time marketing in the first month or so, but it should drop off significantly after that, once you get your pipeline full. If you put a strong marketing system in place, you will get a steady stream of clients from a measured amount of activity each month, leaving you plenty of time to do what you love.
If you are making any major change in your life, get a coach, a mentor and/or a teacher to make sure you understand the nature of the work ahead. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel!
Susan Longley is a business coach who specializes in empowering emerging entrepreneurs to become confident business owners. She works with people to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and teaches them the basic skills they need to start and grow their businesses. www.keystonebusinesscoaching.com
Also, listen to Susan’s interview where she talked openly about her transition from employee to entrepreneur on my BlogTalk Radio Show, I am The Boss of Me.
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