Many of us are turning our hands to starting a small business to supplement retirement income. This will probably pose no problems if you have been an entrepreneur previously – though few entrepreneurs retire!

It is those who have dedicated their working lives to the corporates that might have difficulty with changing their mindset.

Having spent more than 20 years as an entrepreneur, I would like to look back on some of the things I feel one needs to be aware of when making the shift from corporate employee to entrepreneur.

Becoming an Entrepreneur Requires a Shift in Mindset

An entrepreneur tends to see everything as an opportunity to be explored or exploited. The employee, on the other hand, works for the good of the company or to satisfy the requirements of an employer. This involves, in many cases, toeing the line or adhering to company norms.

Entrepreneurs usually see the end goal and minimise the obstacles and limitations, whereas the employee is given the company goal and is asked to focus on how to get there.

Ring-Fence Your Retirement Finances

Do not pour your retirement savings into starting a new business. If you need to use some of your retirement capital, structure your company so that debtors cannot get to the rest of your carefully saved retirement funds.

When you are just starting out, that might sound rather negative, but it is foolhardy to risk your retirement savings when you no longer have the time to build them up again.

Time Is Money

When we start out, we tend to do everything ourselves. As the business begins to grow, many entrepreneurs forget that doing everything themselves will lead to burnout.

It is usually cheaper to pay an expert to do certain jobs that you would struggle with due to lack of expertise. For example, if you have never before done any book-keeping, it would save you time and money to pay someone to look after the financial side of the business.

Stay True to Your Values

Our value system is like a compass, if we are aware of what we regard as important, we can use this to steer us in the right direction. Our parents, schooling, and religion play a large, though far from finite, role in forming our values’ structure.

Recently I hit an impasse in my business progress. When I pulled out my values’ structure, I realised that I was not being true to what I value in life and this was at the root of my problem.

The starting point, however, is knowing what you value. There are many suggestions on the Internet to help you draw up a list.

You Cannot Ignore the Internet

Many boomers have slipped through in the shallow waters before the wave of connectivity hit the world and are afraid of the Internet because they do not understand it. Unfortunately, the saying “when in Rome, do as the Romans” could not be more true for this aspect of business.

These days as an entrepreneur, it is almost impossible to survive without some kind of presence on the web – if not a website, then a Facebook or Linkedin page.

I have written a couple of articles on the value of digital marketing, you can refer back to them for guidance.

Telephone directories are diminishing, and print adverts are few and far between. More often than not, if clients want to find you, they will go to the Internet!

Therefore, Be Prepared!

These are some of the first things that come to mind when I think about the adjustment of becoming an entrepreneur.

Successful entrepreneurs tend to be those who take calculated risks, step outside of their comfort zone, and have a clear idea of what they want to achieve.

If this is not you, it does not mean you should not start your own business, it simply means you need to define your product carefully and draw up a detailed description of your target market and start small.

Baby steps are important. Building on each completed stage to grow your business slowly will go a long way to diminishing the risks.

If you were to start your own business, which niche would you choose? Do you have expertise in that field and how did you acquire it? What do you think you will need to change about your mindset in order to succeed as an entrepreneur? Please share your thoughts below.

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