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Congratulations! You have taken one more step towards leaving your corporate job behind and following your heart to become a creative entrepreneur. Many people have dreams of owning their own businesses, but few have the drive to follow them.

While it is a very exciting time in your life, it can also be very scary and intimidating. There are so many unknowns when leaving a job to start a new business. However, there are five steps that you can take to eliminate some of the stress.

1 // Make Your Decision a Thorough One

As tempting as it is to turn in your two weeks’ notice ASAP, you’ll want to make a level-headed decision before doing so. Take some time to weigh the positives against the negatives. Ask yourself the tough questions – Can you afford to leave your corporate job? Do you have a backup plan if things don’t go accordingly? It can be scary to answer these questions, but if you want to have a positive transition, you must address them.

Before making a final decision, seek out advice from other people who were in the same situation. Reach out to others who have successfully left the corporate world behind and trust in their support. Hearing success stories from real-life people will help ease your fears and reduce your stress.

2 // Welcome Support

One of the most important things you’ll need during this transition (and beyond!) is a strong support system. Build a support network around you, consisting of friends, family, and other small business owners. If you don’t know of any entrepreneurs, consider joining a forum or social media group where you can easily connect with others.

3 // Create an Action Plan

You’ll want to have an action plan ready for your new business. Since the transition will be rather immediate, you will need it to go smoothly. A strong action plan will ensure your business is off to a great start and keep you focused. Build a plan to include goals with measurable steps and attainable deadlines. This will push you to jump into productivity mode instead of sit-on-the-couch and second-guess yourself mode.

4 // Seek Inspiration

Before you kiss your 9-to-5 goodbye, write yourself a letter. As you write, include things like how you are feeling right now and why you made the decision. This letter will be a great source of reassurance when you’re feeling down and face self-doubt in the future.

Another way to discover inspiration is to find a mentor or hire a life coach. There’s no better comfort than connecting with someone who has been in your shoes and can give you advice every step of the way.

5 // Take Care of Yourself

Throughout this transition, you need to take care of yourself. As a business owner, you are the company. For the company to thrive, the owner must be healthy. However, if you don’t take care of yourself, you could end up sick or so stressed out that your business can’t function.

It can also be lonely being an entrepreneur. In the corporate world, there was always someone to connect with. As an entrepreneur, you need to make a conscious effort to get out of the house every day. To prevent becoming a hermit, preemptively sign up for a fitness class or schedule a happy hour date with your friends.

Transitioning from a little fish in a big pond to the only fish in the pond can be very stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. With some planning, support, and self-care, your dreams can easily turn into the reality you’ve always wanted.

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Five Ways to Avoid the Stress of Leaving the Corporate World for Creative Entrepreneurship

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