From The Corporate World To Self-Employed & Running Your Own Business


When I left corporate employment 13 years ago it took me some time to adapt to working locally and building local connections. In the corporate world, as long as you achieved your main 3 or 4 objectives each year, then you could be relatively successful. With saying this, I know that the pressures in the corporate world with modern technology and high expectations, are ever increasing, so there is no suggestion life is easy there either.


Taking into account “that 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 80% fail in the first 5 years,” I started my non corporate life in a portfolio career where I covered my bills working 3 days a week for a compliance/HR company and the other 2 days setting up my own company as a  coach. As coaching was as new to me then as it was to my prospective clients, I knew it would take time to set up the business. Generally, it takes any company 2 years to do so successfully.

 After 9 years with a portfolio career, I now focus purely on my coaching company which includes business mentoring. I am amazed that so many small businesses “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” which is probably the reason why the failure rate is so high in this sector. Part of my business mentoring package is a questionnaire which is a steppingstone to a simple action-centred business plan.


One of the reasons I started off in a portfolio career was that I was nervous about working from home in an isolated environment. I had 6 months “in the garden” and I realised I needed an office environment for company, a bit of banter and social interaction.

When I worked in the corporate sector, I had plenty of people to support me both administratively and for IT.  I was known as a master delegator. I certainly wasn’t used to covering all aspects of business. So, many years later, I have my own network including someone to host my website and send my monthly e-newsletters. I also call on the support of my ex-Marketing Director and I have a social media expert. My wife checks my copy and makes sure my articles make sense. I struggled with this in the first few years.


Because I had a portfolio career whilst building up my own business, I was in a strong position financially. Many people setting up their own business are not in this fortunate position. How much money do you need to cater for your responsibilities and how well will you cope with these responsibilities? As a younger person, I wonder whether I would have had the mental fortitude to weather the storm of setting up and running my own business?


Do you have a vision for your business?

Do you have the belief you can make this happen?

Are you determined to give it your best shot?

Mike Teasdale author says “find an honest mentor who you can talk to. Not a friend who will tell you what you want to hear, but somebody that will – in a positive and constructive way – challenge and mentor you through the journey

Another good book to read is “the E Myth Revisited” by Michael E Gerber who covers a lot of the ground I have covered here. A business owner needs to be a salesperson as well as a technician. Remember the famous golfer Gary Player quote “the more I practice, the luckier I get.” I remember a colleague saying how fortuitous I was to pick up a large piece of business, when in fact I had been keeping in touch with this client for 3 years, as well as many others who remain prospects and with whom I still keep in touch.


I will run my business as long as it suits my lifestyle, knowing that when I do decide to finish, I will not have a business to sell. Are you building a lifestyle business or one with value which you can sell on later and have an exit route?

If you have a value business, do you have an exit plan and is your business going to be worth what you want for it when you exit?

Are you working in the business or on the business?

Do you control your budget closely?

Are you building around systems rather than people?

Do you have quality people to focus on all of the business functions?

How high risk is your strategy? 

You would now be halfway through the book “From Crew to Captain” which goes onto business planning and all of the important aspects of building a business. If you need to know more about this, buy both books I have mentioned and if you decide you want to take a calculated risk and build your own business, contact me at or visit my website