I wrote about making the JUMP off the corporate ladder a couple of months ago.
As I reflected on this some more, I realized that I made a mistake: DO NOT JUMP!
No, I am not regretting my decision already. I just realized that I did not actually jump off myself.
For those who have been asking me for tips about making the jump, here’s my piece of advice: Don’t Jump, Slide Off!
If you do not know exactly what you want to do. Don’t jump. Oh! So you know what you want to do, but have not trained and gotten experience on it. Don’t jump! You’re ready and confident. Great. Wait, have you built your network? No? Don’t jump! Everything’s set-up. Great! What’s your exit strategy? Hmmm.. Read on.
What To Do
Jumping without knowing what you’ll do next is fine if you don’t have anybody counting on you, or if have a rich spouse or huge inheritance. Otherwise, it is simply irresponsible.
Exactly what it is you will do, will depend on you.
It might be cliché to say find something that you love to do, but this can be really important. The journey, as I’ve mentioned, can sometimes be difficult and uncertain, so actually enjoying the journey makes it easier to ride through the waves.
To be clear, this is NOT a requirement as others have claimed to becoming successful doing something that was not really their passion at the start.
What’s important is you have something specific in mind.
Training & Relevant Experience
I took a course cooking and restaurant management. I got a certification on Social Media management. I took a Masters in Entrepreneurship.
That’s great! Is that enough for people to trust you?
I came across a term while working with a fellow trainer on a presentation: MRC. Minimum Required Credibility.
Are those diplomas and certificate enough to get you over that MRC? In other words, will folks trust you with their business just because you have classroom knowledge? Honestly, the answer is not likely. People want to see that you have actually applied these knowledge in the real world.
You might ask, “How do I do that while balancing a day job?” As my mentor once said, “if there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Ask a friend who owns restaurant if you could “sit-in” and observe on weeknights or, maybe work some hours on weekdays. Apply in one of those freelancing sites (freelancer.com, etc). Start a small home-based business. Take a side job.
Who You Know
Some say, it’s not what you know but who you know.
Personally, I would not go that far. Your friends will not (and should not) stick out their necks for you just because.
However, I also believe that you must have built a network in the field that you plan to slide into for you to be successful. Without the necessary network, it would be a tougher for you and your business to gain traction. You need to build a network of your possible customers, or at least those who can influence or introduce you to your future customers.
Note: Don’t hate on your friends and family who do not actively refer you. I’m sure their have their reasons. On the other hand, be grateful to those who trust you with their referral.
“There’s no reason to have a plan B because it distracts from plan A.”
“I’m not much of a planner. I set a goal and there really is nothing else… no plan B.”
“You can’t have a plan B if you want to succeed. Plan A is the ONLY way!”
Nice quotes but these is just like that “You complete me!” crap from Jerry Maguire. Great sound bites but could be catastrophic if followed blindly.
Those are great if you have nothing to lose, if you are down on your luck. However, we are talking about sliding off the corporate ladder here. This assumes that you are coming from something and you actually have something to lose. Taking a risk is commendable, but make them calculated risks please.
Here are some questions to prepare you: How do I know if things are not working? What are the things in my control that I can do to change the plan, not the goal? How long will my current savings last? How do I know that it is time to change the goal?
Bonus Tip for those in Relationships: Get your spouses and significant others involved from Day 1. Getting their support is crucial. After all, such a huge change in your lifestyle will definitely have an effect on them as well. Besides, by getting them on board, you automatically have your support group.
These steps were deliberately described to be simplistic, but there are definitely more things to be considered depending on your personal situation.
Move forward with caution but, more importantly, move forward.