Seven years ago, I was vice-president of a large advertising agency, my children were seven and nine years of age, and I needed more autonomy, more freedom. I had always been very hard-working and was driven by new challenges. I was surrounded by 500 colleagues who were each more extraordinary than the next, but I had a strong desire to work for myself and start a business. I just had to find an idea!
Finding your potential
I started to do some serious thinking during which period I:
- hired a business coach;
- met with my former employers;
- drew up a list of my strengths and weaknesses, my passions, my interests, tasks I enjoyed and those I tended to put off doing. Above all, I listed my values.
Little by little, I arrived at the idea of starting my own ad agency and of acquiring a car dealership. I started with the first idea because, even though I would have to build it from the ground up, this project seemed more realistic in the short term.
My journey wasn’t without its share of difficulties. The beauty of entrepreneurship is also knowing how to overcome challenges. Going from being an employee to owning a business (three, in fact, in three years!), I accomplished so many things I would never before have believed possible. Starting a business is a major decision that comes along with a whole host of worries and obstacles that are totally self-imposed. Here are a few tips that eased my transition into my career choice.
Develop your network
Throughout my journey, I had the opportunity to meet a number of exceptional people who had an influence on my businesses and I made a point of thanking them. Never underestimate the strength of your network of personal and professional contacts. Participating in networking events in your industry is an excellent way of developing new business contacts and promoting your business. Become involved in causes that are important to you.
Overcome impostor syndrome
Being a business owner means also owning your successes as well as your failures. When I started off in business, I feared not being able to excel in every facet of my business. With time, I realized that you don’t have to be good at everything. To maximize your potential, ask for help and take on the resources you need to create your team. Never hesitate to ask for advice. Strangely, you’ll notice that those people around you who seem to be busiest are also the ones most willing to help you!
Dare to get started
Starting a business also means facing a ton of new experiences and confronting the unknown. Since I’m a cycling enthusiast, I sometimes like comparing entrepreneurship to going on a long bike tour. At times you just have to go all-out and let the road guide you. Despite the fears you may have, there are moments in life when you have to learn how to face them, establish a game plan and believe in yourself. To help you along:
- draft a business plan;
- meet with successful entrepreneurs;
- meet with potential clients and find out if they are interested in your services.