Not everyone chooses a career – some, if they are honest enough, will confess that they got into a career by chance. And once the course of time runs and the biological clock runs, most would choose to stay within the comfort zones of known routines, predictable outcomes and familiar territory, instead of venturing out into newer, better opportunities.
Yet, there are others who are driven by a passion to exceed their own expectations. Those who know that the experience and the expertise they have achieved in the corporate world is only the stepping stone to what they eventually want to become – a successful entrepreneur who always sees an unfulfilled need that could be met.
Pros and cons
There are those who have reached the zenith of their career – and are looking for a successful exit strategy. Entrepreneurship is naturally an option to consider, but only if you have got the talent to manage the tight rope walk self-employment often is. For women in particular, becoming self-employed is a very attractive option mid-career but the pros need to be weighed against the cons. To start with, a supportive spouse or family goes a long way in making entrepreneurship a possible and a workable choice. There are other aspects to consider too.
Leaving the comfort zone of a corporate job can be difficult. Entrepreneurship is not always the dream start everyone makes it out to be but yes, there are very many rewards. Utilizing your talents and your expertise in unharnessed ways can be rewarding in itself, leave aside the monetary rewards.
There are many out there stuck in corporate ruts, wishing they could start something on their own if only the funds were there, if only the time was right, if only the monthly bills could be managed until the whole self-employment thing works out.
I left the corporate world almost 20 years ago to become an entrepreneur. I haven’t looked back and yes, it has been challenging but it has been a tremendous road to travel. The initial shock of not having the comfy office, the structure of the work environment you have been used to, soon wears out as you dig your heels in become busy with developing your business. The flexibility of entrepreneurship is extremely attractive and rewarding too. You can choose the time you work and that means working your schedule around the children and home chores.
Reaching the top
It is a fact that not everyone gets to reach the top. Not everyone wants to, either. The cost of it can sometimes be overwhelming in personal terms. For most women, branching out into doing something on their own can be sometimes a complete turn from what they have been trained to do. There are women who having worked as accountants, have become experts at running a bakery business. There are others who have turned a passion that has become a hobby into a thriving career.
The beauty of entrepreneurship is that you can always reinvent the wheel. All it takes is to get the blend of elements right. There are so many unutilized opportunities and unmet needs that companies and consumers would pay to make use of. Innovation is one great platform all entrepreneurs can use. Today’s technology with multiple layers of communications opportunities, social media and the Internet has added a totally new dimension to entrepreneurship.
You can work from wherever you are and the world is indeed your oyster. You can sit in your home in front of your laptop and talk to customers half a world away as if they were in the next room. With such power at our fingertips, in an ideal world, there would be hundreds of entrepreneurs born every week.
Start it small
Of course, entrepreneurship at the end of the career rainbow is not always the best choice if your aim is too high. Working for yourself often brings you down a peg or two and enables you to connect with the world in ways you may not have thought possible before, from inside the cocooned atmosphere of the corporate world. You have to do things on your own – get around, meet and greet, talk to people and communicate with them on different platforms. Entrepreneurship is often an experience in itself, empowering you to do things you haven’t done before and go where you haven’t gone before. It is an enriching and a daunting, yet a wonderful experience at the same time.
Financially too, starting on your own can be challenging if not frightening at the beginning. If you hire people, you need to be able to pay them and pay a rent if you hire an office. The wisest choice for those aspiring to make the transition from the corporate executive to the entrepreneur is to start small. To ensure that whatever it is, it is manageable in the foreseeable future without having to break a bank. A glittering launch would be nice but may not be very practical as you start out. In
entrepreneurship, rewards don’t always come at once but down the road.
For all of you out there dreaming of starting on your own – keep dreaming. You can and you will – when you know what it is that you want to do and more importantly, when you know what makes you happy to be doing.
(Nayomini Weerasooriya, a senior journalist, writer and a PR professional, can be contacted at nayominiweerasooriya @gmail.com)