5 Questions to Ask Yourself before Taking the (Business Ownership) Plunge!

Faizun Kamal
Faizun Kamal

As a Franchise Specialist for FranNet, Faizun conducts franchise education workshops throughout Virginia and Washington, DC, and coaches would-be entrepreneurs on how to make the transition from employee to business owner. She has extensive knowledge of the franchise industry and provides individual guidance to people who are interested in investigating active or passive entrepreneurship through a proven business model. A former Fortune 15 Executive, Faizun has 17+ years of experience in corporate, multinational, nonprofit & entrepreneurial settings on three continents. She is an expert in public policy development, corporate responsibility, social enterprise & crisis communications. Skilled in contextual intelligence, she has created new business opportunities by leveraging strategic alliances. Conversant in multiple languages, she has been described as the “consummate connector”. Coming from an unusual mix of work background (World Bank, Johns Hopkins University, Verizon) and life experiences (growing up in Asia and Africa), Faizun is able to see patterns in seemingly unconnected things and forge connections in the most unlikely places. Deeply intuitive, she has forged alliances and brought together stakeholders who had never worked together before. As an acclaimed social entrepreneur, she has founded a company where doing good and doing well blend seamlessly to change lives. Faizun received her BA in Women’s Studies and Environmental Studies from Mount Holyoke College. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from the Johns Hopkins University. She is also a graduate of Stanford University’s acclaimed Social Entrepreneurship Program.

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As a Franchise Specialist and Entrepreneurship Coach, I’ve worked with countless people. From management consultants to pharma executives to corporate refugees, I have helped them find the next chapter in their lives through franchise business ownership. Every client comes to me with one questions: how do I gather the courage to leave behind what is familiar for an unknown future that could very well be fraught with stress, uncertainty, and unforeseen risks?

As a former telecom executive, I know all too well the perks of a corporate career – the bonuses, the raises, the 401k. I also know the deep frustrations of walking in your boss’ shadow, attending endless meetings, being slowed down by organizational bureaucracy, and getting caught up in inter-personal politics.

Below, I share the 5 questions that I ask all my clients. Answering these questions will help you as you embark on your personal journey from the known to the unknown.

  1. Am I ready?

In my work, I often meet with clients who will rationalize their situation as “it isn’t all that bad.” Yet, there they are – talking non-stop about how much they dislike what they do, how little energy they have during the week, and how they spend the entire week wishing for the weekend! Does this sound like you? What are you really doing? Living life at half-measure? Convincing yourself that you can do it for another year, waiting to get just one more raise and then telling yourself (and your family) that you will be done for good? A wonderful career is so much more than the money it brings us. I believe, in fact, that it is about those things that money cannot buy – time spent on hobbies and interests, freedom to spend an afternoon at the playground with your daughter, independence from the rat-race of ever more possessions.

So, I ask: to get out of a life and a career choice you dislike, how much more are you ready to give up before you are ready to make a change?

  1. What matters most to me?

Simon Sinek in his seminal book Start with Why says that most people don’t know why they do what they do. Conversely, people don’t buy what you do but why you do what you do. Still with me? What motivated you to do what you have done in your career up to now? Was it the money? Was it the ability to take care of your responsibilities? Whatever it is, it does not have to be at odds with the work you do each day. It is possible (because I am living proof of it!) to align your purpose with your passion and live it every single day.

So, I ask: what matters to YOU?

  1. What one thing can I do today to move me towards my goal?

As Nike famously said “just do it”! I know how huge the decision to move from employment to entrepreneurship can be and I don’t say this lightly. However, think back to the numerous situations in your life where you thought you could not possibly do X. But you had no choice and so you took one step, and then another, and another. You get where I’m going with this. Today, ask yourself what is one tiny step you could take to move you forward? Start researching businesses in an industry that has always intrigued you. Reach out to one person in your network who does what you think you might like to do. As you do one small thing and then another, you will find your courage to tackle bigger tasks grow.

So, I ask: what is one tiny, little thing you could do right now to begin?

  1. What scares me the most?

When you think about being an entrepreneur, what makes you most nervous? Be honest as you answer this question. Are your fears “realistic” or blown out of proportion? Looking fear straight in the face can greatly diminish it. Also, think back to the situations in your life when you imagined the worst possible outcome – that you would lose your house, investment, marriage. Did it happen? Manage your fears in proportion to the potential risk it presents.

So, I ask: is not doing anything at all to change your life the biggest risk of all?

  1. Do I have to do it all myself?

Understand that there are ways in which you can be in business for yourself but not by yourself. As you embark on this exciting life-changing journey, who have you chosen to surround yourself with? Friends and family who support you and have your best interest at heart? Or naysayers who have something to lose if you make a positive change? Sometimes, when you’re faced with a big life transition, a coach can be invaluable. A life or business coach can help clarify your motives and values (your whys), and your skills and strengths (your hows) to help uncover the perfect-fit business for you!

So, I ask: how can an experienced coach help move you towards your goal of owning your perfect-fit business?

Are you considering starting your own business? Curious about what it takes to take that step? Join the Career Development Office and Faizun Kamal on Saturday, September 23rd, 10am-12pm, at the Washington, DC campus for a Franchising Seminar. For details and to RSVP, please log into your Carey Compass account.

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