5 Strategies To Make The Leap From Employee To Entrepreneur

Are you ready to leave the corporate world and work for yourself?

woman sitting in an office getty

Are you a woman trying to learn how to become an entrepreneur?

Here’s a secret: You have options in your career. If you’re currently in a corporate position, it may not feel that way. But if you’re not putting your needs first, it may be time to make a change.

It's time to work for yourself.

The truth is that women have a tendency to shrink if they think they’re not good enough or experienced enough to fully contribute where they work.


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Laurel Rutledge knows this all too well. As a black woman with years of corporate experience, she was trained to work hard and then even harder than others, being a woman of color.


The idea of entrepreneurship was not part of her upbringing or something she even thought was an option.

But, over the years, Laurel felt a pull to work for herself. Today, she's a well-known radio talk show host as well as a career and leadership transformation expert.

To go from an employee to an entrepreneur, here are 5 strategies to make that leap, according to Laurel Rutledge.

1. Treat people with dignity and respect.

Any time you relaunch, you need the support of those around you.

In order to work for yourself, you’ll need a variety of people: Mentors, subject matter experts, employees, clients, to name a few.

To build this team, treat everyone you encounter with the dignity and respect they deserve. Doing so will help make your new venture a success.


2. Remove the labels.

Now more than ever, it seems there’s always something that divides us. Make the decision to stop allowing the labels that others assign to you to determine your path.

This can be easier said than done and it doesn’t happen overnight, especially if you’re an overachiever.

When something goes wrong, you immediately start with self-examination. The corporate world can feed that ego-centric thinking.

Go into your new role without relying on old labels and re-define who you are.

3. Take your experience with you.

Corporations often hire you for the experience. But, true inclusion means bringing what you’ve learned to the table.


The truth is, many organizations don’t have the know-how to do this. Particularly in tenured companies and older industries, a "we’ve always done it this way" mentality persists.

The result? You end up feeling frustrated, stuck, and undervalued.

A lack of willingness or ability to include different ideas and perspectives will stagnate a business. So, take your experience with you into your new venture and use the experiences of others who come alongside you.

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4. Show up as your authentic self.

If you can’t be you when you work for yourself, when can you? But this can be harder than you think. Just because you’re going out on your own doesn’t mean you’re operating from who you are.


Make the effort to explore and present your authentic self going forward.

Realize that this may mean changing. It can include learning new things, adjusting your current viewpoint, and even relaunching as you move forward.

Learn to own your own narrative and spend time getting clear on your why and values you want to bring to your business.

5. Be patient.

Creating your new role may take time. Be patient in finding your path and finding what you truly want to do.

Be willing to keep learning and to do the work that will get you there. In addition, address what’s standing in your way, either your own limiting beliefs or others’ influence.


Above all, know you will continue to evolve. Your brand should evolve with you.

So, are you ready to take the leap from employee to entrepreneur? Laurel has 3 quick tips:

Get still: Slow down and determine if this is really what you want.

Make a plan: Figure out how you’ll do it before you do it.

Give yourself grace: The inside and outside voices can guide you if you let them.

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Hilary DeCesare is the Founder and CEO of The ReLaunch Co. She’s appeared on ABC’s The Secret Millionaire and on major news outlets such as CBS, ABC, Fox, Huffington Post, and Yahoo, and offers several ReLaunch courses and coaching. To connect with her directly or for media requests please email at hello@therelaunchco.com.