This article has been translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors can occur due to this process.
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
From what we see on TV, the internet and our social networks, the founders of startups are young men who live in Silicon Valley. According to various studies, the average entrepreneur opens their first business at the age of 40. The Kauffman Foundation found that older people have started more businesses than younger ones in recent years, and another study found that 70 percent were married and at least 60 percent had a child when they started their first business. And the reasons for doing so are everything from becoming a millionaire to wanting not to work for someone else.
And this is not just a "moment" for older generations. The feeling of being trapped in corporate life is a feeling that has developed over the years.
According to a 2013 Gallup poll, two-thirds of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers feel out of their way with their jobs, and the main reason for this split is because they don't feel committed to the company's mission.
All of this culminates in many people from those generations who want to move into the entrepreneurial world, and I am including myself.
After I was diagnosed with lupus at the age of 45, I decided in 2010 to change my eating habits, including being more creative on family evenings. We had a tradition of ordering pizza on Friday evenings, but the dough that was processed did me great harm. So I started experimenting with cauliflower. Three years after presenting my experiment in a local market, my Cali & # 39; flour Foods brand is represented in Whole Foods, Albertsons, Safeway, Walmart and Kroger, among others. In 2018, we were selling a pizza dough every six seconds in our digital store.
While being a great entrepreneur has its advantages (such as more financial support, a stronger network and experience), it also has its own challenges.
For anyone looking for a first adventure in the corporate world, here are a few ways to prepare for and avoid the most common mistakes.
Work on your business while someone else is paying you
Do you want to make sure you don't have to go back to the corporate world that you hate? Then get ready. Start your business while supported by a 9 to 6 job. Take baby steps to ensure your idea is resonating, really paying off, and has a niche in the market. This can mean spending your weekends in front of the computer (instead of dining with your family) or your nights researching things (instead of watching Netflix), but it will help you a lot when the time comes to stop.
For example, if you have a service business, you can start building your customer base. What I see a lot are people who initially work for free to have clients. The reason for this is because these new customers give you their feedback on what you do well and what you don't, as well as serve as references and testimonials of your offer.
If you are a product company, start your business. Look for people who interact with your company. Run small tests to see where your customers are on the Internet. So you know where to invest your resources and time.
Create a business plan
I know not everyone wants to sit down and come up with a full business plan, but trust me, this will give you a lot of information and perspective.
If you take the time to think about everything from marketing to technology to finance, you can spot the areas of opportunity.
This doesn't happen in an afternoon. Building a solid business plan can take weeks (if not months), but it will help you figure out what your business needs to be successful. It has to be a work in progress and the business owner needs to be flexible and willing to learn from their mistakes instead of becoming frustrated and demotivated. I really believe that failure is an opportunity for growth and that we need to open the door to failure. It may seem paradoxical, but the more mistakes we make, the more we grow. It was something pretty weird and something we definitely hadn't planned in our original business plan.
I would also recommend an experienced advisor to review your plan. I know enough to know how much I don't know, so it's important to surround yourself with people who know more than you do. This is the wisdom of Solomon Short who says, "Half your intelligence is in knowing the things that you are stupid about." With limited experience, I hired a very experienced CFO to review our plan and his experience was helpful.
Add your family
This decision is not just about you. If you have a partner and / or children, you need their support. If not, things get very stressful at home.
My family has been involved since I started with Cali & # 39; flour Foods. You are everything to me so it was important that you agree. In the beginning, I made a conscious effort to involve my husband and children in all aspects of the business, from company name to product development to selling in local California markets. And they are still involved to this day.
Even if your family is not part of the business itself, they are part of your life. If you are considering leaving your corporate job, you need to share that desire with your family. Tell them about your plan to get their support. Tell them how you are going to do things, including how you are going to make money (either by doing business or by finding freelance work while your business is starting) and why it is important to you. If something changes in the daily routine, explain the change and how you will deal with it. The more comfortable you feel, the better the transition will be.
This is a big deal and can mean the difference between doing or breaking your business – prepare as best you can financially.
Although you now have more financial stability, you also have more responsibility. Make sure all parts are in place.
When I started Cali & # 39; Flour Foods, I was fortunate enough to have savings that I could use as capital. Later, when we were more established, he'd built a line of credit to fall back on.
But much of my business started in credit cards and we lived hand in hand. It is a mental challenge to work this way, especially if you have a team whose salary depends on you.
A backup plan is essential. You may find yourself getting a freelance job or teaching or whatever while making your business profitable or looking for other sources of capital. We chose Shopify and Amazon, both of which offered loans. In addition, our local bank was very accessible and we partnered with them on certain funding efforts.
When starting your business, consider all of your options. Consider building a solid budget, meeting with a financial advisor, and attending workshops while you save.
Also, remember to change your habits. How much are you spending and how much could you reduce that? You need to plan for this because if you don't make plans, as I said, you plan to fail.
Set dates to get back to work
The world of entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride. There will be impressive ups and downs and if you do it will be all worth it.
But there are many companies that fail (some say 90 percent in the first five years). What do you need to achieve with your company in order not to have to return to the corporate world? What profit do you have to make to survive?
Although many people get things done on a day-to-day basis, this is not a good plan if you have other financial commitments (a house, children's school, etc.) (and frankly, it's not a good strategy for anyone).
Decide how much you as an entrepreneur need to earn per month. Take into account your lifestyle, your expenses, and what you need to add to your home. Get back from there. Set measurable goals that you can achieve and that will bring you closer to that amount. Then set dates and check them from time to time. Make adjustments if necessary, but blame yourself.
Rely on your network of contacts
Perhaps the biggest advantage you have as a large business owner is that you need to build a large network of contacts. Use it.
If you are thinking of quitting your job (or if you are just quitting), let your friends, co-workers, and acquaintances know and ask them for assistance. This can be as simple as introducing your project, when partnering, asking for financial assistance, or simply asking for advice. The people around you will help you move forward.
When I was developing Cali & # 39; flour Foods, I joined the Specialty Food Association and found an advisor at one of the seminars (which I keep going to). He was one of the keys to our success and surrounded me with other like-minded people. These industry experts keep me from falling or help me meet the people I need to get my next victory.
I also met Bob Burke at a seminar and he has become a great mentor. He has more than 30 years of experience in the industry and is very well connected. He taught me a lot about trading and introduced me to key people in the industry. Since then, I have invited him to join our board of directors, which has been a great blessing for both me and the company.
Finally, I strongly recommend investing in workshops and seminars. These experiences provide industry knowledge and a strong network of contacts to help you grow.
Have the right attitude
I often hear from big business owners who are concerned that they won't be able to compete with their younger counterparts. This attitude can be detrimental to your success. It is important to know that you have experience and use it to your advantage.
Pain and obstacles are a fact of life, and these are the moments when you should most of all have a "warrior mentality" and change your view of success, have courage and resilience, and go through adversity to get better and stronger.
I believe that thanks to experience, the warrior mentality will grow stronger as you learn to overcome obstacles and control and handle them in a more meaningful and positive way.