July 31, 2017 How I changed my career and started a business
Like most, I came out of uni all guns blazing, wanting to do something with my life.
Looking back at the first 10 years of my career, everything was going great.
In fact, I loved it.
Post graduation, I worked with IBM, then headed to the UK before returning to Melbourne to deliver business and software solutions for a raft of blue-chip corporates.
Life was good.
But then something happened about a decade in. I wasn’t feeling it anymore.
I felt stuck and was really starting to question whether it was a career path I wanted to spend the rest of my working life in.
How did I know?
I was chronically worn out, my heart just wasn’t in it anymore, I felt empty and bored, and my lucrative salary just wasn’t offsetting it anymore.
At the time, I really felt quite trapped.
In saying all that, I’d developed an appetite for something bigger, wanting to both push and challenge myself, which, in hindsight, is something that drove me to start my own business.
I actually spent a considerable amount of time reading books and looked at other people I aspired to.
I teamed up with friends on a couple of start-ups.
Both of which fell over pretty quickly, which was a lesson in itself as I realised that high-risk ventures just weren’t for me.
I really wanted to run my own show, away from the corporate world, but was starting to feel like I was overanalysing everything.
That was when I started looking closer to home. Namely my brother, Jason.
He was an experienced financial planner and we start spitballing ideas about how, together, we could provide a unique experience for people looking for highly personalised financial advice.
The rest is history.
Jason and I now run our own show and, most importantly, on our own terms.
Fear of failure
To paint the picture along the way, though, there are two important things that came up for me in the early transitioning from the corporate world to my own business: money and status, and a genuine fear of failure on both fronts.
I’ll start with the first – money.
I was on a good wicket, financially.
I’d reached the point in my career where your level of expertise equates to a rather healthy income and one that can be hard to give up. The fear here was that starting from ground zero with a business would restrict my family’s lifestyle and, worse, put us into debt.
The second was that if the business failed.
What would my peers and friends say?
Would I have to come running back to the corporate world with my tail between my legs?
Seems silly now, but they felt like serious fears at the time. Perhaps most importantly, my family depended on me.
What if I couldn’t provide for my wife and, at the time, newborn daughter?
So, here’s how I changed my career and started a business, and how you, too, can manage the transition
Start letting go
And by that, I mean letting go of everything that’s keeping you stuck in your current job situation.
This takes some serious introspection and working out what’s stopping you from living a happy, much more balanced and successful life.
The biggest red flag for me was that I was always taking work home and constantly carrying my work problems around with me mentally outside of hours. In realising this, it actually spurred me to work out what I wanted to get rid of in my life. Which leads me to my next point…
Get clear on what you want
I wanted more time with my family. Plain and simple.
Once I worked that out, it became my overriding principle in life and the foundation for how I wanted to take my life forward.
To quote Winston Churchill, though:
“It’s a mistake to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be handled one link at a time.”
Sounds clichéd, I know, but he was bang on.
Because I was clear on the end goal that I was working towards, just focusing on doing my best every day and focusing on what I could achieve in the short term made a huge difference in the early stages of launching Orange Wealth.
Act don’t analyse
As I alluded to before, I got stuck in the ‘analysis’ phase for a quite a while.
With the benefit of hindsight, I realise now that I had to work out what I didn’t want before truly working out what I wanted. Take the start-ups, for instance. I realise now just how conservative I am – there was just too much risk and uncertainty in those.
Out of that, I was able to work out that I needed a business partner whose style, approach and focus matched mine.
Focus on people, not jobs
I can’t stress this one enough.
Look back at your career, and it’s not the companies you worked for that you remember, it’s the people.
Similarly, moving forward, you’ve got to find someone who’s on the same page, driving towards a similar focus. That alone can significantly reduce frustration and conflict that invariably arises in business.
Jason and I were precisely on the same page when it came to starting Orange Wealth.
Through our experience – both in career and in life – we wanted to help families who were in a similar situation to us.
Having the same focus makes it easy to come to work each day. Why? Because we’re both genuinely passionate about delivering exactly that.
Have a financial-mitigation plan
This one’s critical, too.
Chances are your income will take a bit of a hit in the short term when starting at ground zero with a new career direction.
If you have the luxury beforehand, start squirrelling away a bit of an operating reserve to lessen the financial blow once you make the move, particularly if you’re coming off the back of a well-paid corporate gig and have to start a few rungs down in terms of seniority.
The other thing to mention is that you may need to make some financial changes in your life, too.
For me, those questions were:
- Can I afford my lifestyle with my new situation,
- How do I achieve my financial goals with less income, and
- Can I create security for my family while changing careers?
I’ll be completely honest, it was tough.
Emotionally, I felt like I was up against it all the time.
In saying all that though, the early trade-offs I made were totally worth it.
I’m happy, I love getting up to come to work every day and I get to spend more time with my family.
You couldn’t really ask for much more!
As I’m sure you can tell, this is a topic I’m pretty passionate about, so if you have any questions, please reach out. I’m always up for a chat.
Disclaimer: all information contained within this article is of a general nature. It does not take into consideration your personal financial circumstances. Please consult a professional financial adviser (just like us 🙂 ) when making a financial decision.