Guest Post by Sam Vander Wielen
This time last year, I sat in a big corporate office building counting down the minutes until I could bolt. I felt utterly hopeless in my career and didn’t know where to turn or when.
I didn’t think I’d end up like this. Like any good student, I did what I thought I was supposed to do and flew through college, studied super hard, and got into law school.
I felt like becoming a lawyer was the right thing to do. It never crossed my mind I could or should pursue something I loved. I thought work was work, and that was it. We didn’t need to love what we do; we just had to do it.
If we don’t know each other already, let me introduce myself! I’m Sam Vander Wielen, an attorney-turned-entrepreneur and health coach who ditched my corporate attorney career in 2016 to pursue entrepreneur status full-time. It’s simultaneously the scariest and most amazing experience of my life. After starting my own health coaching practice in 2016, I started helping women entrepreneurs confidently create content from the heart with DIY legal templates and resources in 2017.
I’m hoping my journey of choosing a career that didn’t serve me, making the leap to switch to something that did, and becoming an entrepreneur helps you in your quest to do the same.
How I Ditched The Corporate World to Be My Own Boss
Here are a few tips I have for you if you too want to switch careers or start a new one completely:
1) Prepare To Leave: Save Up
I know what it feels like to want to up and quit. You want to walk out, throw your employee badge on the floor, and say “SEE YA!” to all your co-workers. Please… don’t do that.
If you want to switch jobs or careers, make a plan. Start saving, cut extraneous expenses, and prepare to live off of little to no money for at least six months to a year. While you’re still employed, use some of your salary to invest in your education, your new business’s expenses, and getting yourself set up.
2) Your Network Is Your Net Worth
Start integrating yourself now into your new community. Want to become a health coach? Start connecting with other coaches or in groups online. Start attending events or getting involved in groups where your potential clients might hang out. Start now; don’t wait until you have everything up and running. You’ll be so glad you did.
3) Business Planning and Exploration
Although you don’t always need a formal business plan these days, it’s still helpful to plan out the beginning stages of your business and where (at least for now) you want to see it go.
What services do you offer? What products? How do they help people? What pain points do your services/products resolve? Who are your ideal clients? Where do they hang out? How are you going to reach them? Can they afford to work with you? Do your price points reflect that?
But remember, even if you come up with a plan, you’ll want to remain flexible. Don’t get so wedded to a plan that you miss a great opportunity down the line. And most important of all: start and plan your business following these steps.
4) Market Research
While you’re planning your business, services, and products, you’ll want to conduct some market research. You don’t want to offer products or services to people because you think they’d be helpful. You want to offer things your ideal client needs and wants. You want to think about a spotlight shining on your ideal client, not you.
So how do you figure out what your ideal clients want? Ask! Start emailing, texting, Facebook and Instagram messaging, etc. and asking what struggles or frustrations they’re facing. What solutions are they looking for they can’t find? How much would they be willing to pay for it?
Track the responses and start looking for common themes, requests, and pain points. Those will be the backbone of your business. Oh, and one more thing: start collecting those email addresses, girl! Those will be gold down the line. Ask the people you talk to if it’s OK to add them to your list, though – unsolicited emails are a no-no!
5) Use Your Life + Work Experience To Your Advantage
Use your prior life or work experience as part of your message. Battled and overcame an eating disorder? You have the power to share how you did it with your tribe. Hit rock bottom in a cushy corporate career and had the courage to step out and do what you love? So many people feel your pain and will connect with your story.
I honestly believe we attract those who we truly want to work with when we put out our most authentic selves.
Do you have a story about quitting your 9-5 job and making the leap to entrepreneurship? Maybe you’re still thinking about it and need some encouragement or advice! Share your experience and ask your questions in the comments – we’re excited to be along for the ride on your entrepreneurial journey!
About the Author:
Sam Vander Wielen is a corporate attorney-turned-entrepreneur and health coach. Through Sam Vander Wielen LLC, she helps women confidently create businesses and content they love, all while protecting themselves with DIY legal templates and resources. When she isn’t helping boss babes build their online empires, she’s usually drinking coffee, at the beach, or watching the Bachelorette because Rachel Lindsay is the bomb. You can catch up with Sam on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.