How to Make the Move Toward Entrepreneurship

So you want to start a company? Leave behind that mundane, repetitive desk job, along with your crazy, cranky boss? Mark Zuckerburg, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and even Kim Kardashian did it, and so can you.
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2015-01-15-JosephDiTomaso.pngAuthor Joseph DiTomaso is co-founder and CEO of AllTheRooms, the world's only complete accommodation search engine -- bringing you every room on the planet. If you can't find it on AllTheRooms, that's probably because it doesn't exist.

So you want to start a company? Leave behind that mundane, repetitive desk job, along with your crazy, cranky boss? Mark Zuckerburg, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and even Kim Kardashian did it, and so can you.

But in order to start a company, you need to be mentally, emotionally and financially prepared. As Paul Coelho says, "The secret to life is to fall seven times and get up eight." Here are a few personal tips on how to prepare yourself for the transition:

Mental Preparation

When she asks for career advice, "House of Cards" protagonist Frank Underwood tells Zoe Barnes, "Treading water is like drowning for people like you and me." It is easy to feel this sense of quiet desperation when you're not doing work you truly love. Sure, you can work hard, keep your head down and not ruffle any feathers. You will get that promotion, two weeks of paid vacation, and a golden watch when you retire. But if you want to start a company, you need to mentally prepare for the long haul. The transition from corporate life to startup life is a major one. There are certain days when things will not go well. You will doubt yourself and feel insecure. Your mind will wander. Don't let it. Quiet yourself. Find a few minutes to breakaway and meditate daily. Breathe and focus on your goal. It takes discipline, dedication and a strong belief in your idea and yourself. Believe that you are doing something amazing.

Emotional Discipline

I remember the first time I read "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" shortly thereafter. I was captivated by the larger-than-life characters: Dagny Taggart, Hank Rearden and Howard Roark. They chose to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise their artistic and personal visions.

From a young age, we are taught not to listen to ourselves; to ignore our instincts. You must obey, listen and follow. The years advance, and what once was a crisp clear voice slowly fades. We decide to close the door on our dreams and passions and resign ourselves to whatever quiet destiny fate has reserved for us. If you are anxious to start a company, be prepared for the emotional battle (with yourself) that will inevitably ensue. When I am feeling emotionally drained and anxious I head for the gym. There is something about throwing around 120-pound dumbbells that quickly puts me back in check. Your past will haunt you -- self-doubt and insecurity will look for an angle to creep in. Be sure to hold your resolve. Don't let them.

Financial Security

There are several types of people who want to start a company. Unfortunately, many do so for the wrong reasons. I believe there are two types of entrepreneurs: those who want to change the world and those who want to make a lot of money. Many people look to start a company because they are motivated by the potential for independence and personal freedom (the prospects of significant wealth). If you are thinking about making the move, be sure you and your family are financially prepared. The financial demands of your business will undoubtedly add unforeseen and additional pressure to your personal and family life. This will have a direct impact on your company's success.

After almost two decades as a Wall Street investment banker, starting my own company has been exciting, challenging and rewarding all at the same time. If you are determined to become a startup founder, get ready to mentally, emotionally and financially prepare yourself for the long haul. The highs are high and the lows are low. But in the end, you will come out on top.

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program.


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