3 Great Tips on Making the Transition From Entrepreneur Back to Employee
As we approach the end of the year, it's normal to take some time out and either recommit to your business by doing some goal-setting and business planning, or consider other options like getting a job. Entrepreneurship can be a grind, and for some, the extra stress and hours don't align with their current goals and objectives.
As an entrepreneur, you have no doubt developed some great skills, but you may be wondering whether they're valued in the corporate world.
You may also have no idea how to position yourself if you decide to make the transition from entrepreneur to employee.
Career transition expert Catherine Morgan of Point A to Point B Transitions has helped many entrepreneurs leave their business behind and find great corporate positions. I decided to reach out to her to see what's working these days -- and what's not.
Carefully craft your story
It may have been years since you've gone on a job interview, and just the thought of having to answer the interview question "Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background?" might be enough to send you into a panic.
Morgan says that entrepreneurs need to devote a good amount of time working on their answer to this question. They also need to be able to answer why they are interested in leaving their business.
She recommends that candidates always be truthful, but frame things in the best possible way. If your business failed, you might talk about unanticipated market conditions, supplier issues or whatever happened in a way that doesn't blame someone else or overly defensive.You also might talk about how grateful you were to have had the opportunity to give it a try, and what you learned about yourself in the process. This can work especially well if you were in your business for a short time.
Morgan says, "I always recommend that candidates focus on what they learned and how the experience they gained running their business is invaluable. I also urge them to say something about being excited about working with great teams, doing something bigger than they could do on their own or anything that indicates they won't be difficult to manage. Employers are wondering if they'll be able to take direction after being their own boss. And whether they'll play nicely with others."
As with anything new, practicing is the key to success. Morgan recommends you practice your story out loud and with real people until you can say it easily and effortlessly.
Confidently articulate your value
Morgan coaches her clients to stand firmly in the value of their experience and to take the time to understand their best skills. Then, she preaches the value of identifying where these skills would be valuable within a larger organization.
If a candidate doesn't truly believe their skills are valuable, nobody else will either. Morgan says the biggest issue entrepreneurs have in career transition is the negative self-talk in their own heads. She assures candidates that if they truly believe what they're saying, hiring managers and HR will, as well.
Morgan coaches candidates not to assume hiring managers will understand the candidate's thought process. She says successful candidates walk anyone who is interviewing them through the reasons they believe that doing something in their own business is equivalent to doing something similar for the organization.
Prudently evaluate fit
In many job descriptions, you'll see references to wanting a candidate who has an entrepreneurial mindset or is self-motivated. Who could be better than a former entrepreneur?
That said, Morgan urges candidates to try to keep some mental distance and perspective while going through the interview process. Even if a candidate desperately needs the job, she urges them to dispassionately evaluate the fit of the job description and the corporate culture.
Morgan shared a story of an entrepreneur who thought he had found a "good enough" job and took it even though there were some obvious warning signs. He gave his notice after just six weeks and is now being more cautious as he looks for another opportunity. He is going to take his time and honor the process this time around.
Morgan says that she is having great success helping clients transition from entrepreneur to employee. She says her clients who made the decision to leave their businesses for the right reasons are happy with their decision and are enjoying working in larger organizations with regular paychecks and benefits.
Finding a compatible corporate culture and position that has some autonomy seems to be common themes for a successful transition from entrepreneur to employee.
While Morgan says she loves being an entrepreneur and working for herself, she freely acknowledges that wearing every hat from being the CEO to the janitor isn't for everyone, so don't be afraid to reinvent yourself back into being an employee.