Question: Why entrepreneurs quit their jobs to launch a business
Query: Seeking successful entrepreneurs who would like to share why they quit their corporate jobs and how they went about this. Plus, what would you have done differently in hindsight?
We are in a day and age where it is not uncommon to hear of new entrepreneurs launching a business or employees leaving the corporate infrastructure to do something new and different. Why do entrepreneurs quit their jobs to launch businesses? There’s not just one answer to this complicated question. We will tackle many of the matters that carry a lot more weight for employees with the JOB than before. Advancement in society means that access to entrepreneurship is much more attainable than it has been previously.
Author, entrepreneur, speaker, technology strategist, wife and mother, Misha Bleymaier-Farrish wears many hats. As founder of GSD Factor, she shares her passion and life motto of “GSD – Get sh*t done” with her podcast listeners, coaching/mentoring clients, and now, readers of her book The GSD Factor. She is also founder of Etymology Consulting where she continues to use her expertise of the entire technology lifecycle to assist clients to reach and enhance their organizational goals.
We are in a day and age where it is not uncommon to hear of new entrepreneurs launching a business or employees leaving the stability or volatility of corporate infrastructure to do something new and different, but why?
Gone are the days where you spend your entire career in one job, at one company, in one industry. With each passing generation we are continuing to see passion and mission-driven individuals who are more concerned with a company’s mission than staying at a company just because it’s a good job. Employees are expecting to see action from their corporations, not just lip service to things that matter most to them. You can no longer just check the boxes for diversity, equity, inclusivity, belonging (DEIB), environmental, social, and governance (ESG), and other current issues. Employees are ensuring that there is tangible evidence that these things really matter and must emanate throughout the organization. Employees want to have work-life-family integration, flexible working hours, benefits that are meaningful to them in their life’s current chapter,not necessarily the future, a healthy culture, and flexibility in their working location. If they can’t find even a few of these things, they are quickly exiting in pursuit of their own entrepreneurial goals. Is starting a company that easy, though?
Advancements in technology, simplification of products and services such as legal, branding and marketing, website development and even product platforms have put the power of doing it yourself in the hands of the people. No longer do you have to hire expensive lawyers, full suite marketing firms including web designers, graphic artists, copy editors, or even product development teams, but now we are in the age of DIY and/or utilizing templates. Now the question is does the more accessible path of entrepreneurship mean it’s for everyone?
Welcome to your new generation of entrepreneurs. It takes a special type of person to create a vision for something and then actually implement that vision. It’s not just anyone that says yes to exploring all the possibilities that are out there and turning the impossible into possible. It’s an individual that lives and breathes their confident assertiveness that says I’m not satisfied until I’ve done things with my fingerprints. It’s a person saying I want to be my own boss, define my own rules, follow them or not follow them, but I want to be free to do as I choose. I want the freedom to do something on my own terms, at my own pace, how I want, when I want. It’s innovating solutionists that challenge the status quo that says just because something was designed to function a certain way, that doesn’t mean that function is its full capability. These people dream big, bigger than the box; they embody square peg in round hole energy. They are constantly exercising their inquisitive muscles to challenge and make things faster, better, stronger.
COVID19 saw a huge wave of women in the workforce leaving to care for the family at home, and industries have not yet recovered. Many of these women embarked on their own entrepreneurial journey because it integrated with the new normal of home and family. As our country has been slowly rebounding to life as we once knew it, albeit different, many of these women are enjoying the new freedoms and successes that entrepreneurial life has brought them. There has been some progress made on equity in corporate America for women, but it may not be enough when you evaluate the pros and cons of returning to the corporate world where you will more than likely make less than your counterparts as opposed to having full autonomy and control of your income and future as an entrepreneur.
We have seen such an uptick in entrepreneurial activity these last few years between COVID19, the great resignation, and high number of layoffs in certain industries. I think the other thing that has been a big contributor is the important awareness and education around mental health. Mental health for so long carried a negative stigma, and previous generations rarely, if ever raised their hand about burnout, discrimination or hostile work environments. For this current workforce, they have been equipped with the right words and actionable steps to seek help or get someone to listen more so than before. If an employee does not feel heard, or their organization is not proactive in addressing issues, employees will seek employment elsewhere, be it at another company or through entrepreneurship instead of sticking it out in silence. The individual that has the confidence and tenacity to say entrepreneurship is the option for me is automatically influential because others see him/her and say yes to their new company or yes to their own endeavor. It’s becoming contagious, especially for those that are hitting barriers and glass ceilings.
That brings us back to why entrepreneurs quit their jobs to launch a business? There’s not just one answer to this complicated question, but we have touched on a lot of matters that carry a lot more weight for employees with the JOB than before. Advancement in society means that access to entrepreneurship is much more attainable than it has been previously.
As an author, entrepreneur, speaker, technology strategist, wife and mother, I wear many hats. As founder of GSD Factor I share my passion and life motto of “GSD – Get sh*t done” with my podcast listeners, coaching/mentoring clients, and readers of my book, The GSD Factor. I am also the founder of Etymology Consulting, where I continue to use my expertise of the entire technology lifecycle to assist clients to reach and enhance their organizational goals.
The reason for my first entrepreneurial journey was burn out. I had accomplished great things but at the expense of my physical and mental health and the wellbeing of my family unit. My work and professional accomplishments didn’t amount to anything if I wasn’t going to be here to enjoy them with those that loved and cared for me. I also learned the lesson that toxic work environments with individuals that you are spending more time with than your family and friends are not healthy, and when a lot of money comes into the picture due to the success of the company, people do inhuman things to get more of said money. There is not a dollar amount that is worth my life, my family, or my knowledge and experience that I have acquired throughout my career. You can replace a job. You can’t replace me.
Earlier in my career I embarked on consulting within the insurance and technology sectors, so I had an idea of what my company could offer. I also knew that to be successful I had to look the part as much as being able to execute for my clients. In hindsight there were a number of takeaways that I would have done differently. One of those lessons was to hone in my offerings. I thought I had to be all things to all people, and that’s not the case. As you are embarking on this chapter, find your focus, identify what makes you different from anyone else and share that story. Make sure your company name, brand, and values shine through while sharing that story. Here at Etymology Consulting we donate a portion of all proceeds to a nonprofit organization of the project team’s choosing. This mission driven value and commitment has earned us projects where we may not have been the least expensive choice, but because the clients were aware of our community focus, they wanted to work with us. The second lesson was to not be afraid to build and deliver a minimal viable product (MVP) and then continue with phases of growth and improvement. I had known this concept throughout my career but when it came to my own business I thought I had to deliver the final product out of the gate. I would argue that delivering the MVP is even more important in entrepreneurship because we don’t have the luxury of endless time and resources.
The GSD Factor was a different type of business therefore with a different business model. The foundation was content that was being fleshed out as I wrote my book, but the book was not finished when we got our LLC, so I started with a podcast. I was marching down the path of building out all these different offerings around a book that wasn’t complete. My team and I had an incredible workshop with a strategy firm, and they reminded me what to focus on, declaring that the rest would follow. We immediately paused all other projects, and all energy and time was spent on finishing the book because it truly was the foundation that would drive the direction and vision for everything else. The other lesson that I learned from The GSD Factor is the importance of having tangible assets that can generate repeatable revenue. This type of model gives you the foundation for your business as you layer in other types of revenue streams such as events, coaching, and workshops.
If you are embarking on this entrepreneurial journey, know that it’s not for the faint of heart. There are good days and bad days. There are days where you are shouting from the rooftops that this is the best decision in life ever, and then there are days that your therapist billables will be on the heavier side. If you are passionate about your story, which includes your products or services, it will carry you through whichever day you need. You have to be ready to be a DOer or, as I like to say, a GSDer. You will absolutely need all the attributes of the GSD Factor life of confidence, inquisitiveness, imagination, presence, resilience, and influence, but it is worth it. Find your group of fellow entrepreneurs that will support you, cheer you on, challenge you. You are not meant to do this alone.