Your boss is a challenge.

The company offers no training.

The projects you are assigned are boring and make no material impact on the business.

Sounds like you are stuck with limited ways to advance your career. You can follow basic advice like:

These might unlock your next move and accelerate your career up the corporate ladder. Or, maybe not. I have a different idea--why don't you start your own company? You know you have thought about it. Your startup may be the promotion you are looking for.

Climbing the corporate ladder is usually about any number things including:

  1. Obtaining more responsibility
  2. Delivering an individual impact
  3. Gaining a chance to lead a team
  4. Making more money (creating personal wealth).

In a corporate environment you cede at least half of that outcome to others. In your own startup, you take 100% control of that outcome. Startups provide you an instant return on your personal mission. Every aspect of business that you hope to achieve lies totally on your shoulders. You will make mistakes but those mistakes are learning opportunities that in a more traditional setting might take years to gain access to.

As a founder or co-founder you have responsibility for the vision of the company, the development of a product or service, the negotiating of contracts, and the hiring/firing of employees. Every one of those tasks are an integral aspect of becoming a leader.

Your vision for a product or service will serve a customer--a customer with a need. Talk about an impact. Every one of us yearns to make a difference and leave our mark. The level of personal gratification that comes from being 100% responsible for serving a customers need cannot be measured. It goes everywhere you go. There is no way to achieve that level inside someone else's company.

Leadership can be a squishy notion but we all know one thing--great leaders lead. They lead by taking that first step forward when everyone else is thinking about what to do next. Corporations pick leaders. As a startup founder you take the leader role. What better way to build those muscles?

Creating personal wealth is difficult, however, I believe you measure this in decades not years. With that in mind, what better way to invest in you than by taking majority ownership in the very entity that will create wealth? Your first venture may not be that winner but the next one might.

There are many ways to accomplish your personal career goals and taking control of your trajectory is the first step. Startup companies have many risks but also hold an equal number of advantages. As a serial startup entrepreneur who also spent years inside large billion dollar companies, I simply want you to consider all of the options available to you.

Published on: Jan 29, 2016