Work at Home
How to Make the Move From Big-Business Employee to Small-Business Owner
Original article at Entrepreneur
By Jane Porter
Within just three months, Avi Yashchin went from helping manage a 42 billion dollars Lehman Brothers portfolio to working out of a makeshift office wedged between two of his four roommates beds. After the Lehman Brothers collapse left him jobless in 2008, Yashchin started CleanEdison, a New York-based job-training company that focuses on the green-building industry. It was a move that forced him to revamp his approach to business. You always have someone else to do things for you in a big corporation, he says. The pendulum really quickly (swung) the other way.
To avoid running into his roommates girlfriend in her towel, Yashchin interviewed potential hires at the Starbucks across the street from his apartment. He became a pro at assembling furniture and replaced the legal counsel he had had at his beck and call at Lehman with a 200 dollar database of legal documents. We did everything on a shoestring, he says. But over three years, Yashchin grew his revenue to more than 3.5 million dollars last year and hired 22 full-time employees.
To make the move from corporate employee to entrepreneur, you need to develop a new mindset. Here are six steps to help ease the transition:
1. Read the fine print on your corporate employment agreement.
When leaving a company to start your own, closely review your written employment agreement, says Ross Kimbarovsky, a former attorney who worked with small businesses on intellectual property issues for 13 years before starting his own company in 2007. Some companies will include confidentiality and noncompete provisions that bar you from disclosing their proprietary information and from working in a certain market or geographic radius for a period of time. Just because such restrictions are in writing, does not mean they are valid or that you can not change them, Kimbarovsky says. In such cases, professional legal help is advisable. The last thing you want is your former employer threatening to sue you when you are starting your (company), he says.
2. Leverage your former employer.
Before Richard Palmer co-founded Nehemiah Manufacturing Co., a Cincinnati-based maker of baby-care and yard maintenance products in 2009, he had worked for Procter and Gamble, Ernst and Young and Deloitte. Although he had not worked at P and G for eight years, Palmer and his business partner, also a former P and G employee, had stayed in touch with contacts there. Their connections enabled them to partner with P and G on a licensing agreement that today is Nehemiahs primary revenue source. Maintaining relationships with former corporate colleagues is one of the best ways to expand your business, says Palmer, who also leveraged his connections at Deloitte to get clients when he worked as an independent consultant before starting Nehemiah.
3. Be prepared to put in even longer hours.
Often, people want to become their own boss because they are tired of the long thankless hours in a corporate job. But be wary. If you are making this change because you are fed up with the corporate world and no longer want to work 12 hours a day. You might be in for a shock, says Kimbarovsky, who often worked through the weekend when starting crowdSPRING, a Chicago-based design and writing services company. You are going to be doing a lot of stuff on your own.
4. Look outside for help.
Because you no longer have vast corporate resources at your disposal, everything falls on your shoulders in a small business. That means it is important to seek outside help and expertise. Palmer often looks to suppliers for product ideas. We can be faster and have a lot higher quality when we are willing to team with others to bring things to market, he says. Making outside connections also means leaving the office and picking up the phone more often than you did in your corporate job. I went from somebody who people were calling all day to (making) a hundred phone calls a day, says Yashchin.
5. Choose a target market wisely.
In a large corporation, it is easy to think in terms of capturing very large markets, but as a small-business owner, you will probably need to zero in on a specific consumer segment. In the corporate world, you really have the power to get the entire market, says Diego Saenz who left Wackenhut Corporation in 2000 to run PetPlace.com, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based pet health and information site. As a start-up you are going to get a subset of the entire market. Choosing that subset may require some trial and error. In the early stages, PetPlace.com focused on the veterinarian market until Saenz recognized there are a lot more pet owners than veterinarians. In 2006, he and his partner sold the veterinary website and focused on the pet owner market, a move that tripled revenue to 3 million dollars in 2010.
6. Take risks.
In large corporate bureaucracies, major decisions are seldom made in a hurry. But as an entrepreneur, be ready to take more risks and make more decisions on the fly. Nine years into running PetPlace.com, for example, Saenz realized the company needed to improve its cash flow. Without a business plan or a warehouse to store inventory, he bought a thousand bags of kitty litter to sell online as an e-commerce experiment. A year later, after expanding its product selection, the e-commerce site generated sales of 1 million dollars and today accounts for a significant part of the business. When you are building a startup, you need to be more aggressive about taking risks to build your brand, Saenz says. We did not have the answers, but we figured it out along the way.
Work at home can happen for you, if you are motivated. Now, there is a work at home community that you can work with and gather as much information that you need to succeed. The community name is Tomorrow’s Home Business social community and is located at this address http://tomorrowshomebusiness.ning.com.
In this work at home community, the business entrepreneur will be able to read blogs and watch videos for business, or just for pleasure. With a couple of RSS feeds coming to the main page, the entrepreneur can even stay informed of what is happening in the world. There is something here in this community for everyone.
Groups like the Maniac Marketers come in and post their blogs in the community, giving valuable information for their Health and Wellness businesses. If you would rather watch videos of the TriVita videos, you can do that, too. Or if you just want to hang out and relax, you can do that, too! There are many music videos like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, and Seasick Steve! Or if you want to learn about handcrafts or see the equally oldest Ford antique car, a 1903 Model A Ford, you can do that, too! Or maybe you need an inspirational video clip! There are many choices of inspirational clips, such as Al Pacinos locker room speech in Any Given Sunday, or Mel Gibson as William Wallace motivating the Scottish men men before battle in Braveheart; or Sylvester Stalone as Rocky and how he motivates himself in the boxing ring, or even his inspirational conversation with his son, and who can forget those chants for Rudy in the movie Rudy!
When you become a member of Tomorrow’s Home Business Social Community, there is a profile created just for you. You can use the standard set-up on your page. Or you can be as creative as you want to be. For an example check out my profile page at Terry Allisons Profile Page. I use my profile page as a dream-building tool. I have always wanted a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I have learned to keep this dream in front of me.
Terry L. Allison, Sr., #13134349 1 Star
Independent TriVita Affiliate Member
Creator of Tomorrows Home Business Social Community