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September 9, 2011 > Transitioning from Employee to Entrepreneur

Transitioning from Employee to Entrepreneur

By Alan L. Olsen, CPA, MBA (tax) Managing Partner, Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen and Co., LLP

If you are out of work, have you ever considered creating your own job? As of April 2011, 9% of the American population was unemployed [1]. The downturn of the economy has led many to wonder where they are going to find work, but has also opened opportunities for many to start their own business. The transition from employee to entrepreneur is not easy. An entrepreneur's path is rocky and more risk driven than that of an employee, but it is also more rewarding.

If you are ready to take on the challenge of transitioning from employee to entrepreneur, the following tips may help:

1) Make a plan. What type of business do you want to start? What are your objectives? To begin, it may help to consider the following questions:
What do I want for myself?
What do I want for others?
What do I want for my business?

As you outline your business goals, your target market and your financing strategies you will be able to create a business plan. This plan will guide you as you start your own business.

2) Communicate with Others. The next step towards becoming an entrepreneur is communication. How will you communicate your business plan to others? Networking is a great way to start and branch out. You can also use social media to publicize your business. Connecting with others on Linkedin or "tweeting" your latest business news will allow your name to become better known. The key is to develop relationships in which your acquaintances will know you, like you and trust you.

3) Take Risks. Entrepreneurs are willing to take risks. The McDonalds franchise first started when an entrepreneur saw an opportunity to grow the McDonald's restaurant that was started by two brothers in San Bernadino, CA. Was this move risky? Of course. In fact, the McDonalds brothers weren't even willing to do it. The outcome of the risk is obvious today as the franchises dot the globe [2].

It may be hard for you to step outside your comfort zone and take risks, but it is something that every successful entrepreneur must do. Look at each risk as an opportunity to learn and grow.

4) Be Accountable. Accountability is an important factor in starting your own business. As a business owner, you are accountable for your business. Understanding the importance of accountability can help you to be more efficient in how you use your time. A client does not want to pay you for doing nothing. With accountability, tasks are accomplished and changes are made to increase service, productivity and quality.

Our firm has developed a system of accountability where each employee reports to an advisor. Their personal progress is tracked so that improvements can be made. Developing a system of accountability within your business will be beneficial.

As you start your own business, each step you take towards becoming an entrepreneur will bring you closer to becoming self-reliant, leading you to greater wealth, happiness and success.


[1] States with unemployment rates significantly different from that of the U.S., May 2011, seasonally adjusted. 6 June 2011. Web. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/laus.pdf

[2] History of McDonalds. 6 June 2011. Web. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_McDonald%27s


Alan L. Olsen, CPA, MBA (tax) is Managing Partner at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP, a leading CPA firm in the San Francisco Bay Area and host of KDOW 1220's American Dreams radio show. With more than 25 years of experience in public accounting, Alan works with some of the most successful venture capitalists in the world, developing innovative financial strategies for individuals and businesses.

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