There's an age-old story that no doubt will continue to play out among entrepreneurs across the country for time eternal:

An employee working at a large, established company begins to chafe at working for "the man." The rules and regulations seem onerous. The bureaucracy is infuriating. The lack of decision-making ability is frustrating. The status quo is intolerable.

Or maybe the employee has what he or she believes is a great idea that will never see fruition -- or they think they can do things better on their own.

So, they leave the company and hang their shingle, develop their product or service and do things their (theoretically better) way.

All is great at first, but some unforeseen problems soon develop.

When Things Go South

Here are a few common examples which I see happen often to fledging entrepreneurs.

I'm working with one now whose startup is in its first year. He's doing reasonably well, and a path for long-term success is apparent. But like many newer businesses, there are financial challenges, and he needs a loan to fund further growth.

Unfortunately, the entrepreneur has grown frustrated that the lenders treat him far differently than they did when he was at a more prominent, established company. He wants his loan structured similarly to how it was at his prior job, and that just isn't going to happen. He laments that the same lenders he worked with before, who knew him, but now don't seem to respect him.

Meantime, another entrepreneur I know is a marketing person who used to work in tandem with numerous agencies. Now that she's on her own, she is overwhelmed with new tasks.

The Need to Adjust

When you set out on your own, you're working with a blank slate in more ways than one. Yes, you get to do things your own way, but for the people you're working with, you're also an unknown. How you operate on your own may be completely different than when you're inside the structure of an established business.

The entrepreneur with lender woes has to realize this. Lenders may know of him from his previous gig, but the former employer primarily shaped their opinions. That means he has to prove himself all over again.

As for the entrepreneur with the marketing background, she's going to have to learn that there's more to business than just her fiefdom. Plenty of business people make the mistake of thinking that their one area of expertise will provide them with enough familiarity to handle all aspects of the new business.

That's not the case.

None of this is meant to dissuade you from leaping into entrepreneurship. Plenty of people who do so are successful and figure things out promptly.

Reality Check Exercise

The key to obtaining that success as quickly as possible is by realizing that once you're on your own, the rules change. You are now an unknown entity.

Is your new situation causing you to knock your head against the wall? Have you hit a bump and can't push through it?

Use this exercises to bring clarity and help you push through:

  1. Identify the problem or struggle
  2. Think about how you would have solved the problem in a previous role
  3. Consider if this approach is realistic in your new situation-- be honest with yourself here
  4. Make adjustments based on current reality and resources 

If you can't adjust, you may need to go back to work for "the man."

Published on: Oct 20, 2019
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