Navigation: | Home | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 |
Entrepreneurialism Information Click here for eBay Motors! Get 2 weeks FREE CA Anti-Virus 2007 Accept Credit Cards Get your FREE $250 Cash Card PhotoStamps

From Employee to Entrepreneur: Taking the Plunge


Before you decide whether or not running your own business is right for you, start by pinpointing your area of expertise and assessing your aptitude for business.

Starter Questions

Ask yourself the following questions:

- In what areas do people approach me for advice and assistance? From what parts of my job do I get the most satisfaction?

- What do I like doing so much that I would do it even with no pay?

- What hobbies or interests could I "spin off"into a small business?

- Do I enjoy budgeting and financial planning?

- Do I enjoy making cold calls, tele-marketing and selling?

- Do I have enough self-discipline to work on my own?

- How easy is it for me to bounce back from rejection & setbacks?

Proceed with Caution

Before you take the plunge, it's important to "wade in gradually" or you may just find yourself swamped. Before I started The Training Oasis, Inc. I tested the waters for a few years by doing some freelance facilitation and design work while I was still employed. I enjoyed it.

At the time, it seemed that a logical transition would have been to become an associate of one of the firms that used my design and facilitation skills from time to time. Things don't always go as planned. Despite persistent effort, I couldn't find a consulting firm that was willing to add me to their regular "string" of freelance trainers. This puzzled me as I consistently received excellent ratings from course participants. Even in the 1990s, many firms were not sure how the majority of their clients would react to a Black female trainer. In short, it was perceived as just too much of a risk.

I realized that I would have to do it on my own if I was to do it at all. I put together some training material in the area of personal marketing strategies for professionals who wanted to make career changes.

Let Your Network Work For You

I discovered that networking is one of the best strategies for building a business. For example, by joining a professional association related to your area of interests, you can make contacts and increase your profile. To be successful, it is important to go with an attitude of giving rather than just getting.

Write articles for the newsletter, volunteer to help out at meetings and conferences. Join a committee to help the organization plan a special event. Mentor some of the younger members who are just entering your profession. To get you must give. Gradually, people will get to know you but it takes time. You'll need a lot of contacts when you're out on your own.

One word of caution... don't overdo it. At the end of each year, if membership in a particularly association is not resulting in buiness, then don't renew it. I once did a total of what I had spend on associations memberships, conferences and sponsorships over a few years and it was a staggering $50,000. My business leads were not coming from the contacts I made through the associations. I should have caught this long before it became a big ticket item and such a serious hit to my bottom line. Don't let the same thing happen to you. If a particular membership is not yielding desired business results, you can always pay the non-member rate to attend a specific session or conference that is of value.

If there are structured networking events in your area, attend them regularly. These are usually more cost effective. They don't involve a membership and the focus is on generating business leads. I attended Bette Myer's networking sessions at The McGill Club as well as ConnectUs hosted by Donna Messer and Vicki Vancas.

Advice From the Pros

Identify people who can give you advice about how to make your move and follow their advice. I am going to stress this. Make sure you send a prompt thank you note. If you are ever in a position to give these people business referrals. DO IT!! After 9/11 when the crunch hit me and a lot of other trainers, I'll never forget wondering what happened to all those people to whom I had given free advice that helped them launch their careers. Most of them never said thank you or looked back once they had achieved their goals.

Bette Myer made it possible for me to have a mastermind session over the phone with Dottie Walters. Later on when I was in a position to do so, I used her to conduct a networking session for a organization when I was on the board.

More about the Dottie Walters consultation. When I told Dottie that I was thinking of using public workshops as my transition strategy, Dottie cautioned me that public workshops were a hard sell and extremely difficult to market. She advised me to target the corporate market, advice that I was not ready to hear.

To me, the obstacles seemed insurmountable. How could I make myself available to corporate clients when I was working full time? How could I ever hope to compete with the large consulting firms when I didn't have their big budgets to invest in glossy brochures and large ads in prominent magazines? I struggled with these questions for a long time. While I don't have all the answers, I experimented and eventually found some ideas that worked for me.

Start Again

There is no point in waiting for everything to be perfect. Your first attempts may not turn out exactly as you planned. What you've got to do is learn from them, start again and see what happens.

Bearing Dottie Walter's cautions in mind, I decided to run my Career Makeover workshops at prestigious women's clubs such as The McGill Club and The Elmwood Club in Toronto. I came up with the workshop and promotional material but, for the life of me, I just couldn't find a name that captured the essence of my business and my vision of training. So I picked a name, New Directions, even though I knew it wasn't exactly what I wanted.

I tried a variety of approaches to marketing the workshops. I distributed my flyers at bookstores, women's clubs and through mailings sent out by some of the professional associations to which I belonged. I soon learned that the world of marketing public workshops was very different from marketing courses within a corporation. For example, I naively believed that, you could distribute 200 - 500 flyers and have 20 people attend your workshop. After all, that's the way it worked inside the corporations where I have worked as a management development specialist. It's not so easy when people are taking the money out of their own pockets to pay for a workshop.

The most effective method for me was going to structured networking events, generating leads and following up on them. I enjoyed moderate success, 6 - 8 people per workshops. This was certainly a lot less than what I had anticipated. When I called Dottie Walters again, she assured me that I had been more successful than most people who had attempted to offer public seminars. The participants loved the workshops and found that the techniques which I taught really helped them.

Have Frequent Checkpoints

Re-set Your Course

Checkpoints are important. I paused and evaluated what I was doing, I realized that, while I learned a lot and had satisfied my customers, the numbers I was generating were not nearly enough to make it possible for me to "give up my day job". It also became clear that it was the phone calls and not the flyers that were resulting in registrations. Working all day. Trying to get my toddler settled and to bed on time so that I could hit the phones at night was bringing me closer and closer to burnout.

Next, I tried to hire someone who would work on commission to do the phoning for me. The result - it bombed. She was unable to close a single sale. As an entrepreneur, a lot of your initial success will come from your own enthusiasm. Sometimes, it's difficult for a third party to convey your vision with the same passion level of passion that you bring to it. If you do use someone, pay them stictly for results. If you pay them a base plus commission, they will never be motivated to hustle for you.

You'll need to re-set your course time and time again. I had to do it when the NSDAQ tanked in 2001 and most of my clients were in the high technology sector, after 9/11 and after SARS. When companies significantly cut their spending on training, I spun off the executive consulting services and executive retreats into a new company Executive Oasis International.

Re-Charge Your Batteries

So, I rested for a while and spent a lot of quiet time by bodies of water and near the fountain in front of my dream house. I listened to motivational tapes and books and read my Bible while I contemplated my next steps. The vision for my business became clearer and clearer. I didn't know how I was going to do it but I took the advice that many people had given me and decided to target the corporate market. For a long time, a name for my business was elusive . It was a long process that took a lot of reflecting. Then, one day "out of the blue" I woke up with the name The Training Oasis. It fit my vision of training as a creative, colourful, energizing and refreshing experience perfectly. I wondered why I hadn't discovered it before. I guess I had just been too tired.

Get the Creative Juices Flowing

Through mind-mapping and brainstorming with Donna Messer, Bette Myer and marketing guru Jerry Goodis, I was able to come up with some creative ways to market my services. You can use the same techniques that I did to come up with creative marketing approaches that reflect your vision. Instead of sending out letters, I distributed gift bags filled with some of the toys and energizers I use in training. I found stationary with an energizing waterfall in the background that captures the essence of The Training Oasis to produce a one page "teaser" and I started meeting with some corporate prospects.

Only You Can Make It Happen.....Think Again

Taking that plunge isn't easy but, if it's for you, you'll eventually come to a point when you just have to do it. It's scary giving up that pay cheque. After I attended a two day speaker's school sponsored by the Canadian Speaker's Association and saw other people succeeding, I realized that I could do it too. I approached my boss, Marc Berwald, and told him what I wanted to do. He was very supportive. With his help, I developed a business case to propose converting my role from employee to consultant as an interim step. He championed it for me and it resulted in a consulting contract with my former employer. I kept marketing myself and networking and I gradually obtained more clients. It wasn't easy and, like the desert before the oasis, there have been dry spells and the inevitable setbacks. In spite of this, during my first year of operation, I made more money than I had ever dreamed of earning as an employee. Over the years, running my own business has allowed me to:

- have more balance in my life

- go to auditions and slowly build my acting career

- spend quality time with my son

- send my son to private school and involve him in a range of athletic and recreational activities (even though I am divorced and assuming the primary responsibility for his care)

- travel to Asia 7 times and visit many beautiful places while I was there and in transit (Malaysia including Kuala Lumpur, Penanag, Melacca, and Kuching, Singapore, Bangkok, Mumbai, Dubai, Paris)

I could never have done this as a full time employee and this would NEVER have worked without the support of friends, family and, most of all God.

Before Diving Off

Running your own business is not for everyone but it can be fulfilling if it's the right thing for you. So, get started. Clear off those credit card bills. Set aside 20% of your income in a slush fund to provide yourself with start up capital. Conventional wisdom used to be that you should sock away enough to cover 3 months worth of living expenses before you take the plunge. In this turbulent market in which dry spells can be long, setting aside enough money to cover 1 1/2 to 2 years worth of living expenses is more prudent. So delay your launch date so that you can really give yourself a chance to make a success of it.

Make sure that you get your mortgage and line of credit approved. Take care of your dental treatment and any major medical bills that your company health plan will cover. Develop a clear and focused pictures of what you want to do and then just keep at it. Get high quality business cards, stationary and your web site in place before you give you your day job.

Surround yourself with positive and supportive people, attend conferences and courses that will move you closer to fulfilling your dream. Never let anyone tell you can't do it. Keep those pessimistic tire kickers as far away from you as possible.

Finally, when the time is right...and only you will know when that is....go ahead and take the plunge! It may be the refreshing change you've been seeking.

2005 Executive Oasis International - All Rights Reserved

Reprint Rights: Ezine publishers may reprint this article, as long as the following information is included:

- the summary about the author and her company (see below)
- all links are active
- all key words above the links below are included as part of the active link when you publish it on your site

This permission does NOT extend to trainers, speakers or consultants with competitive services or companies that want to place articles on their intranet. Contact us directly for permission.

Anne Thornley-Brown is the President and founder of Executive Oasis International, a Toronto based consulting that helps executive teams in Canada, Jamaica, Asia, and Dubai generate strategies to thrive in a turbulent economy. For more information about their services, visit their web site:

Executive Oasis International, Specialists in Executive Retreats and Executive Consulting: http://www.executiveoasis.com

Taking the Plunge from Employee to Entrepreneur is available as an interactive keynote: http://www.thetrainingoasis.com/keynotes.html

You can find more articles by Anne Thornley-Brown in:

Spice of the Month: Accelerated Learning Ezine http://thetrainingoasis.com/ezine.html


MORE RESOURCES:
Business:Entrepreneurialism Articles from EzineArticles.com
06/17/2019 10:09 AM
Are You Wasting Your Time As a CEO?
The impact of your decisions is great, so addressing issues effectively is going to have positive repercussions. How do you best spend your time as a CEO?
06/07/2019 10:47 AM
How To Recover From Business Burnout
Is it possible to recover from business burnout? The answer is yes! Here are some suggestions that can help.
06/07/2019 10:45 AM
To Be a Strong Leader, Know Your Limits
We spend a lot of time in our culture emphasizing possibility and lack of limits. You can do it! Everything is possible!
06/03/2019 10:21 AM
To Increase Revenue, Focus on Your Impact
Companies that focus on impact have more financial success than profit-focused companies. Aligning your company around impact is a significant growth strategy.
05/27/2019 04:02 PM
6 Tips For Staying Motivated When You Just Don't Feel Like It
No matter how interesting running your own business is, and how enthusiastic you are about all the great opportunities it offers, there will be some days when you struggle with motivation. You just don't want to sit at that desk another minute and answer yet another email or tweet another message.
05/24/2019 12:45 PM
How To Write and Publish Your First eBook
Writing an eBook can catapult your business to the next level. But first, you have to get it done. Let go of perfection and at least get the first draft done. Here's how you can do it.
05/24/2019 12:43 PM
Inspiring Women CEOs: Lindsey McCoy and Alison Webster
Called the "Netflix of shampoos", Plaine Products is a rapidly growing company with the goal of significant environmental impact. As co-founder with her sister Alison Webster, Lindsey McCoy (formerly Delaplaine) is finding ways to address one of the major environmental issues of our time. Drive down any road, walk on any beach, and you'll see the consequences of our disposable lifestyle.
05/16/2019 11:55 AM
The Key To Setting Realistic and Attainable Audience Growth Goals
Growing your audience requires doing something to get more email subscribers, more social media followers, and more people looking at and consuming the content on your website on a regular basis. If you have the right information, you can set realistic and attainable goals that make sense for you.
05/13/2019 01:38 PM
What Do Your Customers Really Think Of You?
When you put your users' experiences about your business first and foremost, it will show up in not only better traffic to your website but also better stickiness from those who do visit or buy from you. If you want people to become loyal to you, put them first and they will.
05/10/2019 10:23 AM
How To Stop Negativity And Start Thinking Creatively
The more you can experience positivity, the better. Read positive books. Watch positive movies. Be around positive people and practice turning all negative thoughts into positives. When you do, you're going to be more creative and more people will want to be around you - which will also increase your creativity by opening more resources for you to use.
05/10/2019 10:22 AM
Learn To Let Go So Your Company Can Grow
In 2016, my client Mariah found herself at a tipping point that many entrepreneurs can relate to. Her business was growing in revenue, scaling quickly after several years of building. Mariah had steered her company for 6 years but was spread so thin that the stress was beginning to show.
05/07/2019 02:12 PM
Quick Guide on How to Get and Stay Motivated
Motivation encourages us to deal with our opportunity and become valuable and useful for the society. When motivated, we don't squander our time. We interact based on facts and values. We only concentrate on the objectives that we need to accomplish prior to the end of the day.
05/07/2019 01:11 PM
Quick Guide on Being Mentally Tough
Everybody has mental toughness to some degree. But the tougher you are, the more likely you are to accomplish greater and better objectives. When you are mentally tough, you'll have the capacity to re frame your negative self-talk so you can keep progressing in the direction of your objective with expanded certainty.
05/06/2019 09:56 AM
7 Ways You Can Make Your Company a Great Place to Work
Losing a great employee is costly. Here are 7 ways you can keep your best staff members.
04/29/2019 10:18 AM
Power Amplifies: Are You Using It To Have Impact?
As a leader, you have power. How you show up every day influences your organization and your impact.
04/24/2019 12:05 PM
Is Ray Higdon's Success REALLY Duplicatable?
If your in Network Marketing, then you HAD to have heard of Legendary Blogger Ray Higdon. He isn't shy. He proudly possess producing benefit from his blog site totaling over $50,000 A MONTH! How? When just a couple of short years ago he was in financial foreclosure.
04/24/2019 11:43 AM
Selecting Your Temporary Medical Staffing Niche
Why is it so important to pick a niche in the medical staffing industry? It is the difference between finding contracts and loosing the opportunity to establish yourself as an expert and resource in this industry. Far too many starting in this industry want to be everything to everybody.
04/23/2019 02:27 PM
Autopilot Money Making Software
What is autopilot money making software? How can someone use it to build an online business from scratch and reach a global audience with digital products?
04/23/2019 10:05 AM
Startup? Build a Business With Staying Power!
Are you thinking about starting a business in 2019, but don't know how or even where to begin? This article outlines the biggest obstacles to overcome, what you need to start your business, and what to do after year one!
04/23/2019 09:49 AM
How Limiting Beliefs Can Hold Your Business Back
It's important to ask yourself whether you have beliefs which are limiting you at the moment. Once you have identified these, you should know how they can hold you and your business back.
04/12/2019 11:26 AM
Fear and Getting Through the Storm
We all have fears. Fears about how the company will do financially this year, about that crucial new hire who looks promising but is unproven, or about how your new offering will fare in a busy market. Fears can abound, especially if nurtured and given attention.
04/08/2019 09:25 AM
What Is a Biblical Entrepreneur?
So, what is a Biblical Entrepreneur?Also in some circles the term Christian Entrepreneur is used. To fully understanding the meaning (and heart) of a Biblical Entrepreneur, you must understand how God views business and entrepreneurship.
03/12/2019 08:35 AM
Your Strategy Is Destined to Fail If You Don't Do This
Effective strategy can make the difference between success and failure of your business. At the very least, a poor strategy will undermine your company's earning and impact potential. The Purpose of Strategy Strategy: Sets priorities and establishes direction so you can respond to a changing environment Focuses the energy of your staff and other stakeholders (e.
03/08/2019 10:53 AM
What Is Standing Between You and The Life Of Your Dreams and Desires?
If you guessed--a problem, Notice I said "create" your dreams and desires versus focusing on a problem. When we focus on a problem or the problem... we find more problems. If we focus on a course of action... we are focusing on solutions. What is the best way to invent the light bulb? Edison didn't look at all his 'failures' he looked at what to do next to invent the light bulb.
03/06/2019 09:16 AM
Your Will or His Purpose
God blesses in several different ways, but His blessing solely depends on His purposes. Sometimes God's answer will match exactly what the person has requested, sometimes His reply is less than desired, and often God's answer dramatically exceeds our expectations.
03/04/2019 10:24 AM
The Scariest Thing I Ever Did Changed My Life Forever
Every day we are faced with big and small risks. The biggest risk I ever took shaped my entire future.
03/04/2019 09:26 AM
High Value Thinking Time Increases Your Income and Impact
As a busy CEO, you likely don't have a lot of time to sit and do nothing but think. But you should - here's why and how you can add more thinking time to your schedule.
02/25/2019 09:12 AM
Reimagine the Purpose of Your Business
Much has been written about your business' why, your purpose, your mission. All of those can be a very narrow viewpoint. You can have a much greater vision.
02/18/2019 09:05 AM
Ready for a High Impact Mindset Reset?
Your mindset, your thoughts, can buoy you and your business up or drag you down. The good news? As you practice these mindset boosters, the easier they become.
02/08/2019 12:20 PM
Highly Engaged Employees Increase Your Company's Impact
Engaged employees are willing to go the extra mile. Find out how you can encourage engagement within your impact-focused company.
01/25/2019 12:04 PM
Three Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make At The Outset
Many entrepreneurs make three crucial mistakes at the outset. They do not pay sufficient attention to customers' preferences; they ignore their competition because their product enamor them, and third, they neglect to follow their business strategy. Indeed, some have no strategy.
01/24/2019 09:52 AM
Try These Tips If You Want To Succeed In Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing can be a great way to establish a good income with little or no overhead at all. Just a whole lot of honest hard work, dedication and of course, good information. This article is designed to provide you with some excellent advice on the business of affiliate marketing and help you find your way in and around it to a nice, consistent profit!
01/21/2019 11:07 AM
How Customers Are Using Their Money to Vote for Impact
Customers increasingly want their purchases to do more good in the world. Your commitment to impact can expand the number of customers you reach.
01/18/2019 04:48 PM
Helping You Better Understand Leadership With These Simple To Follow Tips
Having good leadership skills is important if you are in charge of one person or 500 people. Good communication, people skills and many other things are required of great leaders. If you do not have these skills already, it is time to learn. Use the tips below to become a more effective leader to your team.
01/18/2019 04:47 PM
Discover The Tips That Can Lead You To A Prosperous Affiliate Marketing Strategy
If it's affiliate marketing that you want to learn about then you have come to the right place. When it comes to affiliate marketing it's sometimes the little tips that you know that contributes to your success. Experts and newcomers alike can appreciate any and all tips that come there way, so dive in and digest these useful tips.
01/17/2019 02:33 PM
Reputation Management - How It Can Help Your Business Thrive
When you are trying to maintain a positive business image, you're going to encounter a ton of obstacles. You might know quite a bit about business reputation management, but you can never be too prepared. So continue reading in order to find out some great techniques you can use to help make sure your business continues to thrive.
01/17/2019 02:33 PM
Take Charge Of Your Life With These Top Leadership Tips
The unique assemblage of traits and qualities that comprise a truly great leader can sometimes prove quite mysterious and elusive. To really grasp what effective leadership entails, it is important to acquire a thorough education on its principles and truths. The material below should provide a strong basis for any study of the topic of leadership.
01/07/2019 12:55 PM
A Simple and Powerful Tool for High-Impact Achievement in 2019
Year-end planning helps define your 'what'. To be inspired in your aspirations, here's a tool to help define your 'how'.
12/26/2018 01:27 PM
Here's Why Your Strategy's Not Working As Well As It Could
Conventional strategic planning techniques only go so far. They're missing an important ingredient that materially affects your business' success.
12/18/2018 12:57 PM
Don't Snuggle Up to Your Self-Doubt
You might believe that those high profile people you admire always know what to do. Nothing could be further from the truth.
12/10/2018 10:55 AM
Stop Managing Your Time and Do This Instead
Busy as you are, you may still not feel that you're using your time well. Time management systems don't address this fundamental issue. This article does.
11/19/2018 02:50 PM
You Could Be Sabotaging The Long-Term Success of Your Own Business
You could be close to that next-level growth in your business, but seem to be hitting a brick wall. Don't make the mistake of overlooking the obvious in search of the spectacular. The key to unlocking the future of your business may be just one degree away. This article helps you identify a common behavior that can hinder you from long-term growth.
11/12/2018 12:16 PM
Armor Up: What's Holding You Back As a Leader
I always thought that it was fear that holds us back from being the leaders we want to be: bold, courageous, inspiring. Research has found otherwise.
11/09/2018 02:05 PM
Top 10 Questions You MUST Ask an Event Planner Before Your Next Speaking Gig
Last week we started talking about getting started as a professional speaker, and some tips to give your business a boost. One of the key points is to be polished, professional and at ease, in any situation - the best way to do this is to be prepared - for everything.
11/09/2018 09:54 AM
How to Make Sure Your Goals Are High Impact
Make your goal setting a high ROI activity by using the IMPACTOR Goals model. It will ensure that your goals will get you where you want to go, with high impact.
10/22/2018 09:41 AM
Stop Arguing for Your (and Your Company's) Limitations
Your choices are very powerful. When you make choices that are world-class, you'll get world-class results. Mediocre choices?
10/10/2018 05:51 PM
11 Ways Investing in Impact Helps Your Business
Impact is where you and your business meet the world and make it a better place. Here are 11 reasons why investing in impact helps your business.
09/24/2018 10:08 AM
How to Lead Change in Your Business Like a Boss
Change in your business is essential. Navigating it is challenging and can be bewildering. Here are 10 ways to work change like a boss.
09/20/2018 01:09 PM
Find Your Success Sweet Spot!
Most people don't show anyone their scars and bruises or share their "up to their eyeballs in the dirty stuff", real and RAW stories of what the journey to success is sometimes like. They usually reveal the rainbows and glitz of it instead. The pretty and SHINY version. When only the SHINY and glammed-up version, smelling like roses is revealed it seems off and PHONEY, like they're disingenuous or hiding something.
09/17/2018 11:12 AM
5 Business Lessons I Learned From My Mom
You're surrounded by people with gifts to give. My mom's way of being in her prime has been valuable for me in my businesses. From my mom to me to you.


home | site map |