Leaving Corporate? 7 Things You Should Know

Nina Muhleisen | 26 August 2018


Leaving the Corporate world wasn’t easy. I loved my job, I was the Head of an amazing team, had a very supportive boss, was given excellent career opportunities and everything was more than I could ask for.
After 7 years, I craved a new adventure. So there I was, working at a Start-Up – and now, I’ve made a decision to start my own – Three6. Whilst I’m definitely not an expert on start-ups just yet, I’d like to share the 7 things I’ve learnt after leaving the corporate world.

1. The corporate world is great for job stability

Although the common saying was ‘change is the new constant’, in a large corporate you are somewhat protected from the small shifts. While there’s a need to keep up with changes, restructures, new strategies and directions, these shifts still happen within the operating rhythm of the organisation. With enough people, process and profits surrounding you, it takes time (rightly or wrongly) to shift the marketplace of a large corporate.

For smaller start-ups, these shifts can have a huge impact and making the right decisions about business opportunities, resourcing and investments are crucial. You need to know what is important to your business and how you can use the shifts in the environment to benefit you. You also need to understand your performance metrics to know if you are making progress, if the dips are just seasonal or if you need to change direction. Reading and keeping up with the market is essential. So, if you need a greater form of security then corporate is a great place to be.

2. You must be strong and clear in what you have to offer, but flexible in your approach

Knowing what you have to offer, is the core of what you do and more importantly why you do it. You need to be clear on this so that your customers can understand what value you can offer them. If this ambiguous, it will show in your engagement and therefore your conversion rate. At the same time, you need to understand your customers. They have unique business problems that often don’t fit a cookie-cutter approach. Learn to understand what is core to your business goals and your non-negotiables and where you can flex and adapt to potentially develop new services, products and secure new clients.
I love using the Business Model Canvas by Strategyzer to help clearly define what you are doing, why you are doing it and who you are doing it for.

3. Co-working spaces are amazing and great for connections

I am a very social person, anyone who knows me finds it difficult to get a word in! So, going from managing a large team, in a large organisation to being the only person in Melbourne in a team of three was going to be a struggle. But it turns out this wasn’t an issue at all! Due to the wondrous world of co-working, I had a permanent desk which meant I sat around the same people every day, and everyone was on a similar journey. It is such a great network of likeminded people, in great locations and with great facilities. What was one of my biggest concerns when I left corporate turned out to lead to great opportunities.

There are so many in Melbourne that you can work at, most offer very similar working environments and access to communities outside of your city as well so a lot will depend on your location and the desk arrangement you need. For me, I was looking for something city-based, or close to and somewhere where I wasn’t always working on a couch or kitchen table (unfortunately I am getting old… my back just can’t take it). I ended up at The Hub, and loved the team, the community they created and the facilities there but also enjoyed others described below:
The Hub – Great community, an excellent range of permanent and flexible desks, location opposite Southern Cross (which can be a good or bad thing depending on where you are travelling from).
The Cluster – A close second for me, a little bit more expensive but again great working space, engaging team and excellent if you host events regularly
Inspire 9 – one of the first co-working spaces in Melbourne, based out of Richmond, open plan working environment.
The commons – Gorgeous building and facilities, however, can be difficult to get in due to high demand.

I have recently started doing some great work with outcome life, who can also help with an intern to assist for 3 months, I had my launch party here and the venue was great, the staff exceptional to my needs.

4. You learn a lot and quickly

Stepping into a small business you need to do more than just deliver the service or product. You need to understand every facet of the business. You need to incorporate sales and delivery and balance time between the two. Market trends become increasingly important and so does what your competitors are doing. You may need to understand invoicing and payroll. There may be new techniques or methods that will need to be self-taught all these things are great.

There are many people out there who have already been on this journey before, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. Open your mind, listen and learn because each new skill will help you build your success. Feel free to ask me anything! Soon we will be launching the Three6 Community where you can grow, learn and contribute with meaningful connections from a source of like-minded professionals register your interest today.

5. You are going to make mistakes

No matter what you do, you are going to make mistakes. You won’t get everything right the first time around and that’s ok. The key thing is that when you make a mistake you reflect on what happened and learn from it.

6. It might not be the right fit first time around

Working in a start-up is great, it provides excellent opportunities for growth and development, it delivers challenges and adventures that you often can’t prepare for. But finding the right place for you is crucial. If it’s not your business then you need to ensure that it aligns to your values, goals and cultural fit. Do your due diligence, learn everything you can, spend time with your new work colleagues and prepare to adjust if necessary.

7. It’s really exciting pursuing your passion

When you get it right and you are following your passion and delivering something that is aligned to your values, it is exciting. I have never felt more motivated. What I put in, I get out. That is a great feeling. I know there are challenges in front of me but instead of letting that scare me, I am ready for whatever happens next.