How to Transition from an Employee to a Small Business Owner

Written by Kate Tran

A few years ago, I made the switch from being an employee to owning my own small business. I wanted to pursue my real passion for photography and the corporate grind was sapping my soul. It certainly wasn’t an overnight decision and like most small business owners experienced a fair few challenges, especially in the first year! I want to share my experience by telling my story and give advice to those that may be thinking about a similar move.

  1.       Map out a clear plan before you quit

This was key for me. I increased my photography skills and built up a small client base to bring in some consistent income. I mapped out a business plan as well as a wider plan covering my transition from the corporate world to my own photography business. My plan covered my personal and professional development.

  1.       Don’t let your passion blind you

My passion is photography but I didn’t let this impact my decision-making. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in your passions and make your decisions from an emotional place. Start by determining if there is a market for your product. Will you be able to convert customers? Are your skills or knowledge good enough to go professional? You need to be passionate but you also need to objectively consider your position.

  1.       Get third-party advice

Well-founded and balanced advice is key. A third party can alert you to more balanced perspectives and may be able to offer you expert advice. You can turn to a career counsellor, financial advisor, small business coach or even a good friend.

  1.       Prepare a decent savings account

Save enough to bankroll your business for six months. Most businesses require at least a small amount of initial investment.

  1.       Self-educate

Small businesses don’t have corporate learning and development on tap. You’ll have to become a jack of all trades. I had to improve my photography skills and learn more about multiple business areas including marketing and finances. Many websites offer affordable courses on a flexible basis.

You may develop new passions as you widen your skillset. For example, while learning about digital marketing I became interested in e-commerce so I’m now also involved in managing a photography-related e-commerce business.

  1.       Set long term and short term goals

Small business owners cannot neglect to set goals for themselves. Short and long term goals will ensure you are headed in the right direction,  The beauty with owning a business is that you can tie some of those business goals into what you want to achieve personally.

Making the switch from the corporate world to owning my own small business has been a great move for me. That’s not to say that it was an easy thing to do. I hope you find the above advice useful and I wish you all the best when making the switch from employee to entrepreneur!

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About the author

Kate Tran

Kate Tran is a Brisbane based photographer who manages a niche photography business.

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