Last year’s Office of National Statistics figures revealed that just 53% of the UK’s working population are fulltime employees with a regular pay cheque. More and more of us are choosing, or being forced by circumstances, to adopt alternative ways of funding our existence. The outcome can range from worries over simply paying basic bills to affording an enviable, comfortable lifestyle.
I’ve learned that whether starting up in business as a small-scale entrepreneur of any age, or as a local provider of professional services, downscaling from a dazzling corporate career, or on the verge of what could be a great money-making venture, many of us all share the same feelings.
Much of my networking in the first few months of Comanche Communications & Marketing was at a local SME level. I met many people who are or have been in similar circumstances to myself, setting out in business as a sole trader and trying to carve out a modest niche among the opportunities available within the accessible business community.
Then I found myself networking in different company when I spent a day at the third annual Great British Workforce Revolution conference. These events are tailored around opportunities for former company directors to ‘go it alone’. This can mean starting a new business, investing in other people’s new businesses, or taking interim roles to guide companies unable to afford their experience and knowledge on an fulltime basis.
A forum of former ‘captains of industry’ made some useful comments about the attitudinal re-think needed when making a career transition that are worth sharing with anyone who takes responsibility for their own destiny. Many people using crowdfunding hope it’s going to make a significant impact on their lives, but are they really ready for some of the consequences?
The key ten points the panel made were these.
- It’s scary to be in a new place. Doing new things, outside of a comfort zone that may have previously been full of support, is scary.
- Most of your previous contacts become useless because they were part of that former comfort zone, that former life.
- It’s difficult to achieve a target daily pay rate, so do what comes up that looks like it would be good to be involved with.
- But don’t forget that time is your most precious asset, particularly if starting a new enterprise later in life.
- Reconsider the people who you know. Build connections among a new group of people who are going to be able to help you.
- Think about how to help them, not only how they could help you.
- You should remain curious and love learning. Which is now easier than it ever was with the range of material available through the internet.
- Add practice to your knowledge, by simply getting out there to start providing others with the benefits of your knowledge and skills. Even do it free for a local charity rather than keep them to yourself. This will help teach you how to best present that knowledge in a way that builds confidence.
- Confidence is what your new customers or investors will recognise and buy in to.
- Work with people you like, who respect you and pay you on time. Life’s too short to do otherwise.
The Panel, left to right below: Steve Gilroy, Chief Exec at Vistage International (UK), the world’s leading Chief Executive organisation and main sponsors of the conference; Stuart Lucas, a former global finance high-flyer and Founder and Co-CEO of Asset Match which allows shareholders in unlisted companies to freely offer their shares for sale; Peter Collier, Executive Director and Founder of TCWM Ltd, held senior positions in the financial services sector until 2012 when after voluntary redundancy he started a business by taking small consultancy assignments; Robin Hill, Founder and CEO at Ruffena Capital Ltd, previously had senior positions in technology and media businesses. “It’s better to be more in control in a smaller company than lost in a big one,” he said.
If you’d like to explore crowdfunding as a way to help you change your career path and want some objective advice and support then please get in touch. Drop a line to me at [email protected].