You can't choose a path to entrepreneurship - it chooses you. Here are three signs that it's time to leave your corporate job and start chasing your dream.
Ambitious people usually don't work well under corporate confines. If you're an entrepreneur at heart your passion will, eventually, lead you elsewhere.
Before starting Avondale, we each had backgrounds in larger companies. For both of us, getting out wasn't an option, it was more of a necessity. As we like to say, you can't choose a path of entrepreneurship, it chooses you.
Here are three signs that it's time to leave your corner office and follow your entrepreneur dreams:
1. You're unfulfilled in your job and it's filtering to other areas of your life.
At Avondale we like to promote a healthy work/life balance. With our travel schedules and frequent nights away from our families, we like for our team to take days off to maintain that balance. As the saying goes, one should "work hard and play hard."
Working hard should mean fulfilling you in ways your personal life can't. It should shape and mold you to grow both professionally and personally. Sometimes, however, your career can shape you into a foul person. If the nature of your work is no longer fulfilling (or perhaps it never was), it's best you start looking elsewhere. If the stress from work is filtering into your personal life and affecting relationships (and your "Play Hard" time), it's not worth the paycheck. Follow your passions to a more fulfilling career, one that positively influences your life and makes you happy.
2. You don't like people telling you what to do.
We run our business under strict assumptions that anyone we hire should have an entrepreneur mindset. We prefer that people take initiative and find areas to fill gaps and add value. We generally don't tell any one individual what they need to do; it's up to them to carve out their career path and present their ideas.
This type of behavior rarely happens in corporate America (for many obvious reasons). Some employees take direction very well and prefer working within the guidelines of processes and recurring tasks. However, if you've reached a point where you cringe each time your boss asks you to complete another to-do, it may be time to walk away. Corporate politics often lead to employee oversight, and if your voice is not being heard, resentment may build. Heed the signs and get out.
3. Your fear of failing is less than your fear of remaining unfulfilled.
We all have dreams, whether we admit them out loud or not. More often than not we suppress them due to innate fears that we won't be successful in trying something new. Stepping out and taking a risk can be daunting. It's much easier to stay put in the comfy corner office with a steady paycheck. However, this route is not necessarily the most fulfilling.
When you have reached the point where comfort is no longer the priority or fear of failing outweighs the fear of living an unfulfilled life--it's time to chase your dream! Become the entrepreneur you've always (secretly) imagined.
KARL STARK AND BILL STEWART are managing directors and co-founders of Avondale, a strategic advisory firm focused on growing companies. Avondale, based in Chicago, is a high-growth company itself and is a two-time Inc. 500 honoree. @karlstark