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Thinking about escaping your job?

So You’re a professional thinking about escaping your corporate job…

What are your options?

The decision to leave a corporate job is huge.

Sometimes the decision is yours – the time is right and you know for certain you’re ready to do something else.

But often the decision is not within your control.

Whether due to redundancy, ill-health or changes within the business, you may find yourself having to decide on your next steps whether you’re ready or not.

So here is my personal take on the options available, but do bear in mind, I am completely biased in my view – you may be able to tell which is my recommended option fairly easily 😉

1) Get another job

Perhaps it’s time to jump ship and go for a more senior role in another company.

Right now good, highly skilled candidates are hard to find, so you have more choices than ever before.

But it’s easy to lose confidence in yourself and your value when you’ve been working in the same company or role for a long time.

Your colleagues, management or clients may have taken you to quite a dark place. Self-belief is so important if you want to improve your career outlook and have a fresh start.

If corporate life, working with a team and having a strong framework around you is important – as it is to many – then make sure you’re not jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire!

Consider working with a career coach to help you regain confidence and then find a specialist and reputable recruitment consultancy that has your interests at heart and which cares about what’s important to you in a job.

We can introduce you to great career coaches and recruitment consultancies, so if you’re planning on changing job let us know!

2) Contract for a while

If you’re not sure about your next steps but want a lower-risk change, then a short or long-term contract might be the answer.  You’re usually paid a day rate via an agency and work on specific projects that sometimes have an end-date, but which can often be extended.

While this financially can be a good option, for me the downside is not truly being part of the business you’re working with.  Some contractors like the fact that they are not a core member of the team but others struggle with this disconnect.

I worked on a long-term contract once and felt a bit left out when the company took everyone on a big event to celebrate a company achievement but because I was not an employee I wasn’t included 🙁

I have also known contractors who rarely took holidays because they knew exactly what that was going to cost them in day rates! 

Others have ended up working on 1-2 day a week contracts for 2 or 3 different companies which again, while lucrative, meant they were working 7 days per week and were well on their way to burn out.

As a temporary stop-gap, a 3 day week contract that gives you time to reset and plan your next steps is ideal if you can find it.

3) Buy a franchise

If you’re someone who loves structure and processes and just wants to do what you do, then becoming a franchisee may be the answer.

Good franchises provide the branding, framework, processes, documentation, insurance, marketing support and community that means running your own show comes with far less risk and fewer unknowns.

But be wary of franchises that have onerous, long-term and restrictive contracts, require high ongoing monthly fees no matter what you earn, that don’t send you leads or actively promote you, and that don’t offer you a community with support and training.

If you have to do all the legwork finding leads and converting them to clients, for the same investment or even less, you could start your own business and have the freedom and control to do things your way.

4) Invent a new product

While we all know of inventors who have invested in and manufactured an amazing new ‘widget’ that’s gone on to make them millions, we don’t hear as often about the ones that have crashed after burning through huge amounts of cash and time.

The easy part is the inventing, it’s exciting, intoxicating even to think that you might have the ‘next big thing’ on your hands, but whether it is a success or not actually depends on your sales and marketing skills.

Can you imagine cold pitching potential retailers and distributors multiple times and handling rejection without being crushed?  If sales is in your soul then this might be the route for you.

Just bear in mind that you will also have to deal with getting prototypes made and if they’re physical products, then you also have to account for manufacturing, storage and logistics.

And don’t forget to calculate how many products you’ll need to sell to make a decent living after all your R & D, manufacturing, distribution, sales, marketing and commission fees have been taken into account.

This option has potential for massive success but – as anyone who’s ever watched Dragons Den knows – also for absolute heart-break.  Not one for the faint-hearted that’s for sure!

5) Start your own B2B consultancy, coaching or expert business

If you’ve had a long career and during that time have developed skills and experience solving costly or time-consuming problems for your employer then you probably have a consultancy, coaching or expert business bubbling within you.

The good news is all you need is your brain, a computer and your phone and you can be up and running the day you make the decision to start.

The bad news is you still have to be prepared to learn about and get good at sales and marketing, but those skills can be learned.

The upside is that if you win ongoing contracts at a decent monthly fee, you don’t need that many to earn a healthy living. And if you have a strong professional network, your first deals may well come from people you already know, reducing the need to be awesome at sales and marketing straight off the bat.

Whether the revenue from this business can quickly match or exceed your corporate salary or not depends on your money mindset, the value of your skills and the cost of the problem you solve to your client.

But the beauty of it is that creating a B2B consultancy centred around your ‘business genius zone’ means you can focus on doing the work you truly love, helping people you really care about.

If you think your future is in the coaching world, even if you have coached people and teams for years, please do make sure you get a professional coaching qualification first.  When you’re handling people’s mindsets and mental health, proper training is essential (and extremely enjoyable!).

If you’re thinking about starting a consultancy or expert business, think about the additional training and qualifications you could be earning now that will give you the confidence YOU need to get out there and start your business.

But be really careful about feeling the need for more qualifications!

They can be a great way to avoid the reality of promoting your business when you probably know everything you need to know already!

But I do understand the desire consultants have for training and qualifications that help you feel confident pitching yourself – I am a serial course taker!

If you’re thinking about becoming a ‘corporate escapee’ the main advice we and our members would give you is to go for it!  Believe in yourself, have a plan and be prepared to work on your sales and marketing skills.

Promoting yourself rather than your employer’s corporate brand is a very different kettle of fish but with the right support, mindset and community around you, starting your own business can provide a very enjoyable route to freedom and control over your time.