4 tips for a mid-career switch to being your own boss

SOURCE: Source: Chandan Khanna/AFP
Nicole Gates, 46, entrepreneur and managing partner at Lil Greenhouse Grill restaurant, poses for a picture in Miami, on April 20, 2020.

By U2B Staff 

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Dreamed of launching your own start-up or business? It’s never too late to do it, but before you hand in your resignation letter, make sure you’re fully prepared for a career switch to entrepreneurship.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 20% of new businesses close shop during the first two years of being open, and it’s estimated that nine out of 10 start-ups fail.

To avoid disappointment, it’s best to follow a few tried-and-tested tips to thoroughly prepare yourself mentally and professionally before embarking on a career as an entrepreneur.

Here’s how you can make a successful transition:

Do your research

Before launching a new start-up or introducing a new product to the market, be sure you do market research before investing your hard-earned money into the business.

According to Fortune, the top reason that startups fail is that “they make products that no one wants”. So be sure you spend plenty of time ensuring you’re targeting the right market.

Take an online course

Have no idea how to run a business? Then you shouldn’t be going into it blind. It’s great to be ambitious, but be sure you have the right skills and knowledge to become an entrepreneur.

Invest in yourself through online courses and certifications to learn more about becoming an entrepreneur and how you can successfully market a new business.

For those looking for more in-depth knowledge and skills, taking a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship or an MBA can greatly help you when embarking on a new career direction.

If you’re not in a position to take a graduate course, there are also plenty of free online courses and webinars to develop new knowledge and skills.

Be a keen learner so you can arm yourself with the necessary tools to build a career in the competitive world of entrepreneurship and start-up culture.


Build a network

Having a strong network is key to building a successful business, especially when you’re just starting out.

Laura Begley Bloom, an entrepreneur who made a career switch from editor to yoga and meditation teacher in her 40s, said, “Seek out people you’re already connected with, but don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you haven’t been in touch with for a long time — especially if you think that person might have valuable information or be willing to help.”

If you aren’t sure how to develop a professional network, becoming active on LinkedIn is a great first step. You may need to invest some time and energy into building up your profile, but it’s a good platform for connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs and others in your industry.

Engage with mentors

When looking to break into a new market, who would know better than veterans already in the scene? Bloom advised budding entrepreneurs to look into a professional mentoring group.

“You will benefit so much if you can find a mentor or a mentoring group that works in your new field. For instance, I’m currently in a group for people building private yoga practices created by Emily Sussell, who built a successful business herself and now coaches yoga teachers.

“Her tagline is, “I teach CEOs how to be yogis and yogis how to be CEOs.” She calls us “yogapreneurs.” I didn’t think I needed this kind of support, and I’ve been 100% surprised at how much I’ve benefited from it.”