Later life transitions to being your own boss


You’ve had what felt and looked like a good career.

Then, one morning, you’re asked to step into a small room. There’s your superior, someone from human resources, and, if you’re lucky, someone hired in for the separation to help with the transition.

It’s over. Now what?

For most of us, when this particular moment comes, our first thought is “get another job”. But should it always be the first response?

After all, you’ll never be better placed than you are right when you’re let go from corporate life to start your own venture, at least financially, but, surprisingly, emotionally as well.

Yes, it’s traumatic losing the security a business card with a title on it gives you. But going through a search for a year and then starting a venture out of desperation isn’t better.

By then, you’re an emotional wreck.

As every entrepreneur knows — successful or failed — the ups and downs of getting a venture off the ground, running, and dealing with its issues takes its own toll on your psyche and emotional state.

Nothing can swing you higher or lower faster than your own business.

Nothing can swing you higher or lower harder than your own business.

You also have to master hundreds of new skills overnight, become a generalist instantly, take full responsibility for every decision to be made — oh, and have an idea to run with, too.

You have to be able to strategically plan, tactically manoeuvre, and handle operational details all at once. Worse (especially if you’re coming from a senior position) you have to do it all — there’s no one around to delegate to. No HR department to screen résumés when you need to hire. No finance department around to pay the bills, or handle purchasing, or bring the books up to date. No IT group to keep your computer and printer running, or keep you connected to the Internet. There’s no team of salespeople ready to run with your latest marketing piece — you have to start dialling for dollars and going out on cold calls.

It’s not for everyone, certainly. But it’s for far more than are willing to try it, too.

Which sounds better, three years from now, if you’re interviewing? “I had this idea and gave it my best shot”, or “I was downsized/capsized/outsourced out”.

One thing that holds many people back on starting something is that they don’t have a good idea.

People coming from a technological background, for instance, tend to limit their thinking to just ideas in their space. IT people think of applications or hardware they could build, for instance.

Nothing says your idea has to come from your work experience. What you’ll be taking from your corporate past are skills. But your idea could be as simple as “this neighbourhood needs a better coffee shop than the Starbucks on the corner”.

Really good neighbourhood places, in fact, are hard to come by. Sure, coffee shops, fish & chip shops, etc. are a dime a dozen. Still, when the good one comes along, even in a crowded few blocks, it finds its feet and sets itself apart. Your idea, focused on what “better” or “really good” would entail, allows you to compete against all the existing players.

Even if you really do crave just another job, spending some time — whether you’re employed now or not — thinking about ideas, and what’s possible, is good for you.

It sharpens up your mind, by thinking outside of its normal channels. It hones your ability to judge ventures (good if you’re planning to invest in any of them). It gets you thinking about reducing your risk by having more than one iron in the fire.

A PDD advisory relationship can be the key to helping you think about all of these things, and more. Whether you’re comfortably parked in a high corner office, slaving away in cubicle land, one of the many who’ve just been dumped to fend for themselves, or working to make your small business succeed, we’re able to help you deal with risk, personal and family security issues, and be a sounding board for your ideas and ventures.

Talk to us. You’ll be glad you did.

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