I get a lot of questions regarding how to balance a corporate job with all my entrepreneurial interests and endeavors. Well, for starters, taking the first step is never easy, hence the inspiration behind this blog post, but give yourself a pat on the back, because congratulations (if no one has said it to you) for taking the first step! Get ready to embark on your entrepreneurial journey!
Before I lay out my top tips and tricks that have worked to balance the two, I want to tell you a story. I was bit by the entrepreneurial bug as early as a toddler! Seeing my father work from home and never report to an office or boss intrigued me. At a young age, I witnessed pure entrepreneurship at its rawest form. I was inspired by my Dad, so even as I was going to some of the most prestigious schools growing up, my lust to grow up quickly, experience the real world, and make my own money drove me tremendously and shaped my entrepreneurial spirit. All I knew was that I couldn’t deny this itching feeling. It would lay the foundation to everything I have done since.
Instead of focusing on my academics (as my parents had hoped), I was always thinking of ways to start things and monetize them. I remember in high school, I formed my own HIV/AIDS Awareness Club, in which I had to creatively think of ways to raise money for this cause. On top of having something to write in my college applications, I was passionate about proposing new ideas and taking initiative in various projects. Because both Steve Jobs’ daughter and John Doerrs’ daughter joined my club, I used that to my advantage, and got 1) Steve Jobs to donate two Apple iPods (RED) generation to our club to raffle off to our entire school, and 2) John Doerr to match the funds we raised in an entire year, helping us cross the 10K mark in our community efforts.
You see, the entrepreneurial spirit has always been in my blood, so once I made the realization, I knew I would never turn back. As you are reading, I challenge you to think about the first entrepreneurial action you took! Let that be the guiding force to how you approach your entrepreneurial journey, as I outlined above in my Steve Jobs / John Doerr story.
So if you’re itching with the entrepreneurial bug, don’t fret. You’re in for an exciting journey! Trust me, it’s going to be a roller coaster ride, but you’re going to learn so much about yourself, and believe me, life will never be boring again.
I’ve curated 3 tips and tricks for you when it comes to incorporating an entrepreneurial endeavor into your lifestyle
- Do Not Quit Your Day Job While Starting Your New Venture
I know how you feel. I know you have great hopes and aspirations in yourself and your new idea. Continue to, because you’re going to need that confidence boost in your entrepreneurial journey. Before you make any life altering decisions, make sure you take the time for yourself to sit down, reflect, and do a reality check. Make sure this new lifestyle is really for you. I know we all want to ditch the corporate lifestyle, make our own decisions, and be in control of our destinies, but let me tell you, entrepreneurship is a very lonely, but fulfilling road. You have to be prepared for stress, unpredictable work, tough decisions, sacrifices, people who don’t believe in you, etc.
I’m not going to lie, but starting a company is stressful and challenging. But having a job might be a good way to get that consistent paycheck, get the balance you need for visible accomplishments, and of course give you passion for new ideas to keep you energized enough to excel in both. I also suggest keeping your startup efforts “below the radar” until proven. Unfortunately, even if you feel an incredible amount of passion for your idea, not all friends and family will be positive or accepting of the major risks and commitment involved. Also, make sure you keep all your priorities, personal and business, in balance, because adding a new startup effort does require time and effort.
A little about my experiences in balancing the two. Over the last few years, I’ve been a contractor at several companies, but what I’ve found is that every time I’m at a company for 5-7 months at a time, I end up accomplishing something in my business that I treat as a “milestone” as well as gaining the industry experience necessary to propel me in my professional career. For example, when I was an Executive Assistant at Bessemer Venture Partners, I founded Kalon SF and set up my first business. While I was a Project Manager at Sephora last year, I launched my blog and started my journey as a Content Creator and Blogger.
- Adopt a Growth Mindset Now
Entrepreneur life requires patience and sacrifice. Creating a sustainable business comes from building a solid foundation for your business to grow on. It may take much longer than you expect, but rushing the process results in poor decision making, which hurts your business in the long run. After all, are you in it for the short term or the long game? You may have to work long and hard to achieve your goals, so ask yourself if you’re willing to pay the price.
Adopting the belief that you are in control of your own ability, and can learn and improve will be critical in your success as an entrepreneur. Here are some growth mindset phrases for inspiration: “Challenges help me grow”, “I can learn to do anything I want”, “Failure is an opportunity to grow”, and “I keep trying and never give up”. Learning how to embrace challenges will be critical. Setbacks become wake up calls to work harder next time.
- Try, and Try Again. Don’t Be Afraid of Failure.
Entrepreneurship is about learning from failure without embarrassment. There is no better way to learn than trying an experiment that doesn’t work. So as an entrepreneur, access your level of risk tolerance, energy, and motivation because the entrepreneurial lifestyle is very different from traditional business or a corporate job. If you can, take a hard look at your personal goals and drivers, because when mistakes and business setbacks happen, knowing your why and what drives you will keep you grounded and humble. Learning from mistakes is one of the wisest things an entrepreneur can do, because we are all human; we are bound to make mistakes, but just don’t make the same mistake twice.
Remember, success looks different for everyone, and it certainly does not happen overnight. Try not to compare yourself to others. Entrepreneurship is truly a journey, but it’s important to embrace the ups and downs. If you believe in your business, stick with it, and work harder and smarter than anybody else. Reach out to other entrepreneurs and like-minded companies to get help starting your business, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Eventually, opportunities will arise. Be respectful when you network with others, keep your eyes on the road ahead, and succeed where others fail.
As Albert Schweitzer said, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”