How to be a career ninja

Starting over with a new business idea or career path is never easy, but sometimes it is absolutely necessary (this applies to other things in life as well). I have started over multiple times. I quit a stable job in HR to start my own business. People called me crazy, but I followed my dreams and persevered. It was anything but easy, but it brought me to where I am today and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

So if you have a dream of starting your own business or moving to the other side of the world to pursue your dreams - do it. But only after you read this.

Make your own decisions

When you have an idea and you want to start your own business and build your brand, you’ll probably ask a lot of people around you, “do you think I can do this?”. Don’t. Ask yourself. Am I ready to do this? Am I ready for a time of uncertainty when I take the jump? Am I ready to give up some form of stability to start my dream? It’s your decision (and your family’s if you have one - don’t be selfish).

Don’t count on other people to tell you what to do. It’s your choice. If you don’t feel ready, maybe wait a bit longer. But eventually you need to try so that you don’t have regrets later in life or blame others for decisions you didn’t make.

Be a dreamer but also a doer

Of course you need to start with a dream and an idea. But then comes the hard part — putting this into real-life goals and deadlines. Setting that goal is extremely important. You need to know what you’re working towards. If you don’t have a goal, you don’t really know what you’re doing.

When you have a vision and you believe in yourself, you’re already halfway there. By setting goals, you’ll be able to actually start building your product and business and create a team to support you.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns

When I decided to become an entrepreneur, I romanticized the whole thing. I was extremely excited, felt on top of the world and thought nothing could stop me. Until I was crying on my kitchen floor after four weeks. Why did I leave my stable job (which I loved)? Why am I doing this? All the “why” questions can start to fill your head. Don’t give up. Of course there will be days or weeks that you feel like everything you’re doing is wrong, but don’t let that stop you! Admit to yourself that there will be hard and painful moments, have that cry on the kitchen floor, but then pick yourself back up again.

Think about yourself, your dream and your goals. Nothing will be 100% as you imagined, so be ready to Pivot.

Use your background and experience

A lot of people say that starting your own business is starting from zero. In a lot of ways that’s true. But you can also count on your own background and experience to help you get started. It doesn’t necessarily have to be professional experience, it can be life experience as well. When you start over, you will always have your experience and knowledge, so use them.

I had a background in HR and used that experience to my advantage. In my years at a large company, I gained valuable knowledge and interpersonal skills that helped me to sell my vision and ideas later on. I learned how communication flows through a company and how to prioritize projects with lots of moving parts. I knew who to speak to, how to speak to them, and when to follow up. I had clear templates in mind for a lot of my business processes, and I shared them with my small team every day.

So if you have the privilege of having a full-time job before you jump into entrepreneurship, take that opportunity to learn the skills you might need in the next step of your career.

Old and new friends

When you leave a company to start your own business, leave without burning bridges. You made some valuable connections in your career and you don’t want to lose them. You might be surprised by the support and ideas you’ll receive from them. So leave the door open, and an old manager may become your new mentor.

In order to grow professionally (and personally) you’ll also have to find some new connections. “Where do I find those?” you ask. Well, I think LinkUpConferenceShow is a good way to start (hint hint).

You’re never too old (but maybe don’t wait forever)

People saying they’re too old to switch careers or start over again are lazy and making excuses. That’s a hard truth. In reality, being a bit older gives you a lot of advantages! You have a bigger network, a bigger support group, more experience, and you make more rational decisions and fewer emotional ones.

But of course you also have the increased responsibility that comes with age - maybe a family, or maybe you are a single parent. You don’t only make decisions for yourself, but for your family. If this is the case, it can be a good idea to start small and see how you can grow your idea with your family in mind.

Changing careers or starting over is hard, and not nearly as romantic as many people (and movies) make it out to be. If entrepreneurship was easy, there would be a lot more entrepreneurs. But trust me, it’s worth it. I have enjoyed every minute of being an entrepreneur. And if you’re still in doubt, join LinkUpConferenceShow. You won’t be the only aspiring career ninja there.