Breaking from the corporate world to start your own consultancy can be both professionally rewarding and overwhelming as you learn to navigate as a one-person team. What does it take to not just survive your first few years as an independent, but thrive and create a profitable business? We spoke with Amanda Hamilton-Attwell, ABC, IABC Fellow, Ph.D., a 15-year business owner based in South Africa, to find out.
Caroline Cornell: What are some reasons communicators should go out on their own? What are some reasons that they shouldn’t go out on their own?
Amanda Hamilton-Attwell: The best reason to venture out on your own is because you feel you can add more value if you are not limited by corporate restrictions—that being the CEO of your own business will enable you to use your full potential. The second best reason is that you want to be in control of your time, to be able to be at home for the people you care for, yet have a professional career.
The wrong reason to start your own business is to make a lot of money quickly. There might be other lines of business where that is possible, but in the communication world it does not work like that. The reason why most people start their own businesses is because they lost their jobs in the corporate world and for survival reasons need to start a business. It is these people that have the highest success rate as entrepreneurs because they do not have a plan B.
CC: What was the biggest surprise you had when you first started your consultancy?
AHA: There were positive surprises and negative surprises....
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