During my tenure as an author, speaker, and leadership coach, many of my colleagues are curious how I got my practice started. Many of you may not realize that I started my business from “square one.” I did not know I was going to be laid-off from Iron Mountain and I had zero plans to start an independent practice.
When I think back on how I got my practice started, I share the following thoughts with my colleagues:
- Ensure your significant-other supports your transition. One of the two things that will end your transition from corporate to consulting is your significant-other, looking at you across the breakfast table, telling you that he/she needs you to get a job.
- Have a strong financial foundation. The second thing that will end your transition is a financial crisis. Anyone transitioning from corporate to consulting needs to have a strong financial foundation for at least three to five years. You will need it!
- Be transparent about your wins and losses. Hiding how you are doing (or not doing) can be a very easy behavior. This only leads, however, to others believing you are achieving more than you are. Always be transparent with your significant-other regarding how you are doing, what is working, and what is not working.
- Create best-in-class materials. Great artifacts of your work will lead others to believe what you are doing is great. Second-class materials (generally created to save money in the short-term) will lead others to believe what you are doing is second-class.
- Always be optimistic and persistent. I started my practice during our most recent recession in 2008. It would have been easy for me to blame the economy and quit. Yet, because my wife supported me, we were financially sound, I was transparent with her, and I invested in best-in-class materials, I was able to make the turn.
You are more likely to be successful if you have a strong foundation and start with your house in order.