What is going through people's minds when they are first made redundant or have a life change?
In my experience there will be a very real and sometimes painful process to go through before anyone should be looking to make yet another major change in their lives.
It's likely anyone who has just been made redundant will feel some or all of the following:
Before any plans are set in stone, make absolutely sure you are emotionally robust enough to truly take on the immense task of setting up your own business.
There is a time of what is probably best described as desperation. "I have to have a job, earn money, get back in or I will be left behind."
I suggest some focused research. I never pour cold water on any ideas. Chances are the client is looking for something positive to happen.
Self esteem takes a huge hammering in a redundancy situation and if I'm honest, most of people I work with knew this was coming, but for whatever reason buried their head in the sand. That will be the guilt bit of the process!
My focus is usually: "How about framing this as a life opportunity? Let's sprinkle some magic dust and open up the door to any and all possibilities."
By suggesting and encouraging some due diligence, researching each idea, this needs to be focused on opportunity, not desperation.
How do you advise people to proceed at this point?
The first thing to get sorted is a daily routine. Possibly not dissimilar to the one you were living before losing or leaving your job. Having eight hours of free time when you don't actually want or need it, can be quite challenging to our sense of purpose and our place in our world. Working on finding the next right option for yourself IS WORK!
Create a working space at home and get dressed for work, this all helps to get you into the right head space. Next, list all of your options regardless of how out of the box they may appear. Delegate an agreed amount of time to research each option. I often encourage clients to have a coffee or phone chat with anyone who they think may have knowledge and information that supports their research. It's interesting to note that a lot of people lose their confidence and find these first steps really hard.
The core issue here is market validation, to gather all the information you need before you make any decisions. Be that for a start-up business, a complete career retrain or presenting yourself back into the same job market you came from.
I have a workbook that I ask all my clients to complete, "Life Achievement." It's an inventory of all the success you have achieved in all areas of your life. Most clients can list all the negative stuff easily, but this is the time to shine a huge torch on the positives. It's also a great way to rediscover your passions.
What other processes should people go through before they launch themselves into a new venture?
There is one absolutely fundamental piece of work everyone should do and that's their life values. The people I know who are truly happy and fulfilled (including myself in this), are the people who make a living in such a way that it is in congruence with their core values. To ensure you have a forward thinking honest picture of what you want and need for yourself and your career, a life mission statement is also a great way to focus your thinking on the truly important stuff.
I want my clients to be able to effortlessly state: "This is who I am and this is what I stand for."
It's fundamentally about building the confidence in yourself and the possibilities of your future. Once you have worked through those issues you're on the runway ready to take off.
What examples have you seen where people have gone from an office job they loathe to running their own business doing something they love?
'Richard' was over working as a partner in a corporate communications firm, but had no idea what else he could or should do. Over the next two months he decided he needed to re-evaluate his values. Once that piece of work was completed he offered to do some volunteer work for someone he admired. He found he wanted to find a way to put back into the world, chasing the highest salary wasn't delivering the happiness he had thought. 'Richard' now lives in New York as head of communications for a world renowned charitable foundation.
'Sam' was given two weeks' notice and the job that she had poured her heart and soul into for four years evaporated before her eyes. Once she had gone through the initial emotional roller-coaster, we focused on her core skills and identified what she was passionate about.
Still passionate about what she had been doing, she decided to just consider opening her own business doing the same thing. At first she was terrified and absolutely sure she
didn't have the ability to setup her own business.
I sent her off for two weeks to answer the following questions and come back with evidence:
What problem am I solving by offering this service?
Do people really want the service I want to supply?
How much will they pay for the service?
Who else is doing this, and how?
What am I offering that is different/better than my competitors?
Two years later, she is the owner of her own company with a solid client base and a future that's brighter than she ever thought possible.
Every client I work with is different. My advice is to take one day at a time, know who you are first, your life values and then you will have a much better chance of knowing where to put your energy and finding out where you should be.
Next week: How do you foster a more corporate culture in your SME when there's only a few of you ? How do you make your small business look like a big business?By Gill South Email Gill