How to Transition from Entrepreneur to Corporate Employee

Running a business is hard. Whether you are a solopreneur or leading a team, it takes passion, stamina, and drive to start your own company.

At some point, transferring those business skills to the corporate world starts to look appealing.

There’s no doubt that entrepreneurship has a lot of positives. But sometimes, it’s no longer the best fit for your desired lifestyle.

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There is nothing wrong with working for a company and collecting a paycheck.

In fact, business owners are often sought-after candidates due to their strong work ethic and natural leadership skills.

Below we will provide 5 tips to transition from entrepreneurship to a corporate employee.

1.     Figure Out Your Career Goals

As a business owner, it’s common to wear multiple hats. At one point or another, you are likely to handle HR, Finance, Sales, and Marketing tasks for your company.

With such a broad background, it can be hard for companies to know where you’ll fit in.

That’s why it’s so important to choose a focus area.

What aspect of running a business did you like the most?

Was it the leadership aspect? The sales and business development? Working hands-on with clients? Engineering a new product?

Likewise, what aspect of running a business did you like the least?

Whatever it is, it’s important that you identify what you enjoyed most, and focus on this for your job search.

Rather than appearing as a generalist who did a little of everything, you will want to focus on your key strengths, including what you enjoyed most.

Tip: Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. On the left, list out the things you loved doing. On the right, list out the things you hated doing. This will help guide your job search.

2.     Create a Professional Resume

Now that you know what you are looking for in a job, it’s time to craft your resume.

Your resume should focus on your business achievements and accomplishments.

What kind of success did your business have? What was the total revenue you built your company to? Did you manage any employees?

Building a business from scratch is impressive. So, take this time to brag a little.

If you aren’t sure what to put on your resume, or you aren’t great at writing about yourself, maybe you should consider hiring a professional resume writer.

Your resume is the very first thing a hiring manager will see. They won’t take the time to speak with you in person and learn how amazing you are if your resume does not pass their test.

If you take this part of the process seriously, you will find a job in no time.

3.     Apply for The Right Jobs

One of the biggest mistakes we see entrepreneurs make when applying for corporate jobs is the jobs they are applying for.

As discussed above, try to narrow your job search down to one specific set of jobs. You should not use one version of your resume to apply for finance and marketing jobs.

Additionally, make sure to consider the size of the company.

Just because you were the CEO of your company, does not mean you should apply for CEO level jobs at other companies.

A CEO at a 10-person company might only translate to a manager level position at a 500-person company.

Rather than focusing on job titles, consider the budget, team, and responsibility of the jobs you are applying for. If they are similar to the budget, team, and responsibility you had while running your business, that job is probably a great fit.

4.     Network with People Who Know About Your Business

Did you work with any vendors or companies while running your own business? Whether these individuals were clients of yours, or service providers, it’s worth reaching out.

Anyone who was able to see you in action as an entrepreneur, is a great potential lead.

Contact past clients, service providers, vendors, etc. and let them know you are looking for a corporate job.

I know it seems tough, but it is worth swallowing your pride to do this. Past clients in particular are the most willing to help, especially if they had a positive experience working with you.

As you know, networking is becoming the leading way that people find jobs.

5.     Interview with Confidence and Without Arrogance

Business owners are some of the smartest and most confident people around. Confidence is great, but don’t let that confidence turn into arrogance.

Believe it or not, it’s common for entrepreneurs to walk into interviews and say all the wrong things.

Here are some things you don’t want to say in an interview:

  • I am leaving my business because it’s too much work. I just want a job that is less demanding with a consistent paycheck.
  • I am very independent and prefer not to be managed in any way.
  • I have mixed experience and can do a little bit of everything.

It’s common to be asked why you are quitting/selling your business to take a job as an employee.

A great answer to that question is:

“I’ve really enjoyed running my own business. I’ve learned so much from the experience and have grown professionally more than I ever could have hoped for. At this point, I’m just looking to apply the experience I’ve gained to an established company with traditional work hours.”

If you have a family, this sort of an answer is extremely reasonable.

Good luck on your transition from entrepreneurship, you are going to do great!

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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