When you started your career, you learned many skills that made you successful. And you kept learning more and more, continuing to climb the corporate ladder, get promotions and bonuses and manage people and teams.
You know that things will be different when you leave corporate life. I found that I was prepared for this to some degree. And I was surprised to find some ways that the skills I’d learned were actually interfering with starting and growing my business, and I see it in working with my clients.
Many of my clients are starting businesses after successful corporate careers and suffer from Corporate Hangover. That is, they’re still operating with habits and skills that they learned and honed throughout their career. In fact, they’re almost on autopilot because they’re so used to working that way.
Look for these Corporate Hangovers:
- Being multi-talented. This is very helpful in corporate careers, especially when you’re moving up into the executive levels. Many people grow up being told to do only one thing. Or their parents ask, “When are you going to do only one thing?” Some of us aren’t meant to do only one thing.
C-level executives must know and be able to do and manage many things. Otherwise, they can’t run large organizations or international organizations.
The dilemma is that most people in our society are not multi-talented and don’t understand those of us who are.
Why it’s a Corporate Hangover: This can be a Hangover because when you start your own business, you “can” do everything in your business. If you don’t consciously decide to have a team working for you and delegating to them, you’ll can easily fall into the trap of doing everything. Your business can grow only so much when you do everything.
- Shifting your Mindset. In corporate life, you have external goals, expectations and acknowledgement. Your company, division and department have goals that you’ve contributed to – perhaps even set. Everyone fits into those goals. You work together to achieve them. When they’re achieved, everyone celebrates.
Why it’s a Corporate Hangover: When you’re in your own business, it’s you. Period. Even if you have a team working with you, you’re the one that sets the vision, goals, strategies and tactics. And achieve them or direct others in your organization on how to work toward them. The focus moves from external to internal – not an easy move. And there’s no-one to acknowledge and celebrate when they’re achieved. Also, it can be tough to tell some friends and family members because they may think you’re bragging.
- Shifting the way you work. With the corporate goals, expectations, timetables and acknowledgement, you also had staff. Those timetables were established with staff in mind. Everyone has their expertise and their job to do. You may have been the project manager or responsible for the overall project, goals and team.
Why it’s a Corporate Hangover: In your own business, you may have some staff. Often it’s Virtual Assistants (VAs) rather than full-time employees. They may work on a project basis or retainer. And the business must cover their fees. You may not be able to count on full-time staff, let alone overtime, to finish a promised project. Or cover an emergency situation with a client.
If you’re experiencing any of these, no worries. You’re not alone. And you don’t have to solve them alone.
Take 10-20 minutes to review your business Vision – the one you wrote when you were excited about leaving corporate life, starting your business and pursuing your calling.
Write down the ways you’re experiencing Corporate Hangover. Be specific. And write how it’s affecting your business – what it’s costing you. Then write down what it will take to make changes so that you continue to grow your business to fit the vision you had when you decided to leave corporate. Put these on your Task List and Calendar and take action.
Want to know the Top 10 Corporate Hangovers and Cures? Click here to find out.
Jan Wallen has cured her Corporate Hangovers (mostly) and is living the life she loves – leading retreats in beautiful fun places, working with clients she loves and traveling. She’s had several successful careers in corporate sales and marketing, and as an entrepreneur, speaker and author. She works with coaches and solo-entrepreneurs who want to decode their ExpertiseDNA™ and build lucrative values-based businesses around their purpose and talents.