Since I started my own consulting business, I’ve heard from more than a hundred people who want to quit their jobs and start over.
I tell them that before taking any action, they need a plan.
• They need to figure out what will make them stand out from all the other consultants out there.
• If they don’t have the right experience, they need to get it before making any move.
• They may want to consider enrolling in a consultant certification program before making moves.
Risking It All
Making a big change is exciting, but doing it with a plan is the only way to go. Too often, people make a drastic change on an impulse, resign from their job and temporarily enjoy the dopamine rush of enthusiasm until it wears off and gives way to a feeling of fear. Many people are left wondering, what now?
Not everyone naturally has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. However, there are certain steps you can follow and a particular mindset that comes into play to make a move like this.
Adjust your mindset.
Before taking the consultant path, you’ll need to identify your skill, align it with your values and create a solution. The world is waiting for your idea.
First comes the decision to do it, tackling the thought process and overcoming any self-doubt.
Second comes the inventory of your expertise and related experience. Discover how to take a single idea and turn it into a niche offer and a profitable business.
Third is taking action. Knowing what deliberate action to take means the idea or dream you’ve been sitting on ignites into a moneymaker.
Through all of this, you should be cultivating a present mindset.
Build consultant credibility.
If you want to start consulting and create your own business, one way to establish credibility as an expert is to become certified. A number of consultant certification programs exist; my own, called Taking the Titan Path, is a 12-week process. These programs can empower you with the tools you need and a proven process that works.
I think of leaving a job to be a consultant and starting a business in the same way I think of training for a marathon. If you do the training, follow a process and build the foundation, then you can successfully run the 26.2 miles. You don’t simply decide to run a marathon on a whim and head out the door to do it. The same goes for your career. Don’t quit your job because you think the grass is greener somewhere else.
Becoming a certified consultant takes time and is a deliberate process. But you can do it privately and remotely while you are in your current role.
Go slow and steady.
First, the old saying is crucial: Slow and steady wins the race. Second, put in the legwork—it will take about three months from start to finish to bring your consulting idea to fruition. Before I ever made the decision to become a consultant, I made sure I had the right experience, credentials and a solid plan before my launch.
Know your why.
It’s not enough to simply quit your job because you are unhappy. You have to understand why you are making the change. Knowing your why for launching your own business or becoming a consultant is critical.
Your why should resonate with you emotionally so you don’t quit easily when the road gets rough—and it will. There may be long hours and some sleepless nights, but you’ll also have incredible autonomy and a feeling of overwhelming pride (not in the ego sense, but in the accomplishment and gratitude sense).
In my case, I wanted to create something that would be my very own—something that no one could take away from me where no one was telling me what to do or not do. I wanted to set up a consulting business I could always have to do work that I love part-time or full-time through the years. I wanted the autonomy to take on projects (or not). And I wanted a creative outlet for both thought leadership and helping others—something that was completely my brand, my voice and my solutions to serve clients in a meaningful way.
Figure some things out as you go.
Being your own boss is possible. For me, it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s sometimes scary but always rewarding.
A shift happens once you stop complaining about your current job and find meaning and purpose. You realize there is more you could be doing, and then you learn how to get there.
Solidifying your offer as a consultant is key. Know your niche.
There are some things you’ll need to figure out as you go. In the beginning, you’ll wear many hats: business developer, brand manager, editor, negotiator, administrator, and IT and payroll manager. It is not glamorous.
There may be many people who won’t wish you well. Being in the arena is a risk; sitting in the spectator seats is safe.
Call To Action
If you’re ready to make a change but aren’t sure how to go about it, lean into this guidance: Accept help. Invest in yourself. Understand your worth and value. Take slow and deliberate steps and give yourself at least three months to process and build the foundation before launching into consulting or starting your own business. Consider a part-time consultancy you can develop as you work for another company. Inventory your skills and experience. Fill in any gaps. Share your value with the world.
Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?