As an entrepreneur, two things are probably true at some point in your career trajectory.
First, thinking like an entrepreneur is nearly impossible to turn off. If you're driven to be a self-starter and creator, odds are that you're constantly thinking and planning. Secondly, there will come a time -- barring any unforeseen angel investors or trust funds -- that you'll need to take a job before fully branching out on your own.
Although startup costs vary, launching your own vision does come as some price, which means many budding entrepreneurs find themselves working a day job -- planning for their dreams while feeling chained to a desk.
Rather than letting this temporary set-up squelch your ambition, use these three tips to fully leverage every step on your way to professional independence.
1. Treat yourself like a brand. Every brush with a company makes an impression, whether positive or negative. Now consider yourself with that in mind. How would your colleagues describe you? Are you contributing to your workplace? In what ways are you positively impacting your audience, or in this case, your coworkers? How can you go the extra mile for your clients, or in this case, your bosses?
Taking yourself seriously at the office will only add to your professionalism, build upon strong working relationships and create a heightened awareness in building your own enterprise. Besides, the connections you make at your day job, could be important relationships later on for your business later on.
2. Foster Curiosity. It's also important to always remain a student, no matter how far up the ranks you may climb. That could mean anything from learning about new technology, to taking suggestions on more efficient ways to work or communicate, to mastering social media. By constantly learning and remaining open to new work methods and behaviors, you're not only growing your personal skill set, but also widening your company's capabilities.
3. Get Gutsier. Your days left at your current day job are numbered, as they should be. You're almost ready to start your company or launch your product, there are exciting prospects on the horizon. Rather than quietly bow out of the office at the end of your tenure, why not make the most of your last weeks by truly leaving your mark? Perhaps you have a new formula you've been interested in testing, or an event concept you've been too shy to pitch. Maybe you've been meaning to ask a respected colleague to lunch to discuss business but have never gotten around to it. Now is the time. You'll want to look back knowing that you've made the most out of every opportunity sent your way.
Cristi Young is a New York City-based writer and the founder of No.2 Creative, a branding firm that offers editorial content and strategies for companies looking to grow and refine their brands. Combining classic communication models with creative tactics and delivery, Cristi thrives on telling stories that make an impact.