How to Transition From the Corporate World to Entrepreneurship as a Working Woman

Transitioning from corporate to entrepreneurship can be a scary prospect as a working woman. Here’s how to approach it.

Transitioning from the corporate world to entrepreneurship is going to be one of the most impactful journeys you may experience as a working woman. It will change what you have been conditioned to believe and challenge you to grow in unexpected ways.

According to the American Express 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses, more than 11.6 million firms are owned by women. These firms generate $1.7 trillion in sales, employing nearly 9 million people. Thirty-nine percent of all privately held firms are also women-owned.

In other words, an increasing number of women are transitioning from the corporate sphere to the world of entrepreneurship. If you are in this group or thinking about it, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

1. Start with mindset.
Many, if not most women, suffer from a lack of confidence as well as from the notorious “impostor syndrome” in their careers and businesses. As a working woman, you may feel like despite your accomplishments, your personality isn’t adequate. Or you may feel like you’re not competent enough.

I’ve personally had to fight the negative voices in my head telling me that I needed to acquire an overwhelming amount of competence before being secure in my entrepreneurial abilities. Like many women, I struggled with the feeling of “not being enough” or the fear of being “the only woman in the room.” As you transition from a corporate career to entrepreneurship, you should be aware of these negative mindsets in order to proactively fight them. Work on increasing your self-confidence through self-care, positive mindset practices and challenging yourself to face your fears.

2. Be financially prepared.
Starting a business requires money. This is especially important for women, as they face greater obstacles when starting a business. While they start more than half of the businesses in the U.S., very few women receive venture capital funding. As a working woman, having a financial cushion to fall back on lessens the pressure. While there is always going to be a measure of risk involved, being able to financially plan ahead goes a long way toward accomplishing your goals.

Remember that the best time to set money aside while transitioning from the corporate world to entrepreneurship is when you’re still employed. Consider living below your means before quitting, reducing your expenses, and paying off or consolidating your debts. This will not only help you build better spending habits, but also grow a reliable financial support system through this process.

3. Mind your emotions.
One aspect of transitioning from a corporate job to entrepreneurship that often gets overlooked by women is the emotional side. The many pressures of balancing work and life, as well as the significant challenges facing women in business, can wreak havoc on your emotions as a working woman. Yet, emotions can actually help your entrepreneurial career.

Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster with unpredictable ups and downs. This can lead to emotional distress, and even depression and mental health issues. As you prepare mentally for your entrepreneurial transition, don’t forget to mind your emotions too. Resist the temptation to get down on yourself for feeling such emotions as fear, disappointment or even anger. Instead, show yourself some much-needed compassion and learn to use your emotions to boost your entrepreneurial ventures.


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