The corporate 9-5 isn’t for everyone. The money may be good, but it comes with a lot of stress, a serious time commitment and, for many, a lack of fulfillment. Thankfully, there are plenty of other options out there for those with a little entrepreneurial spirit. Read on to find out about seven alternatives to corporate jobs that might feel like a better fit.
Build a Company
Building a company from the ground up can be challenging but it can also be immensely rewarding. Those who already have marketable skills or great ideas for products that will fill currently underserved industries or niches are already on the right track, but they should take some time to plan.
First, come up with a good business plan, including a means of financing the company as it gets off the ground. It’s a good idea to hire an accountant like those at Brown Smith Wallace LLC to help with financial planning. It’s also a good idea to have a solid backup plan, as not all new businesses find success immediately even in promising markets.
Buy a Franchise
Buying a franchise requires laying less groundwork than starting a business from scratch. Franchise owners don’t have to worry about coming up with an effective business model or building brand awareness and, if things get tough, they can usually find more support from other franchisees.
Before opening up a franchise, make sure there’s really a market for an additional store or restaurant in the area. There’s no sense in opening up a Dunkin Donuts on the same block as another coffee shop, for instance, unless there are a lot of potential customers and some of them already have a preference for that brand.
Become a Real Estate Investor
Has some money saved up from a corporate job? Real estate investing offers a great opportunity to make the switch to a more satisfying life and career. It requires little overhead, offers far more scheduling flexibility, and can be extremely lucrative if the market conditions are right.
Real estate investing also has the potential to help others in the community. Rehabilitating foreclosed or damaged properties can reinvigorate a neighborhood as long as investors adopt ethical business practices. Investors with hearts of gold may want to check out the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for an idea of what to do and what not to do.
Don’t have a lot of money saved up from a corporate 9 to 5? Going freelance requires very little investment capital in most industries. Plus, there’s no need for freelancers to quit their day jobs to devote 100% of their time and energy to branch out on their own, so it’s a low-risk proposition.
Before quitting the rat race, see what kind of pricing local markets support for marketable skills. Take on a few clients and start building a portfolio.
If it is proving to be lucrative enough to provide sufficient income, put inadequate notice and quit. If not, corporate employees will still benefit from what they’ve learned by trying to branch out on their own and there will still be plenty of time to hone skills or develop a new plan for finding clients.
Work From Home
Just about all freelancers work from home or private offices, but some established companies also take on remote workers. This provides a steady paycheck with more flexible scheduling and, provided no video conferences are involved, all that work can be done from the comfort of the living room couch.
Want to start working remotely? Find a reputable company that has work-from-home opportunities but still offers the perks of a traditional job such as a steady paycheck and benefits packages. Just keep in mind that there will be a lot of competition and take the time to hone relevant skills and develop a stellar resume in advance.
Become a Consultant
Some 9 to 5 workers have sufficient skills, experience, and initiative to become consultants. Instead of working for one corporation performing the same monotonous work every day, these professionals take on different clients, helping start-ups and established companies overcome roadblocks or facilitate growth.
Like going freelance, becoming a consultant requires substantially less initial investment capital than starting a business from scratch. New consultants have to build client bases, but they often work for the same clients for longer periods of time and often charge more for their services. Business consultants will still have to absorb some marketing costs as they get off the ground, but if they’re successful, they should make all that money back in no time.
Work for a Startup
Working at a startup can reinvigorate an otherwise tired career. Hopping on early with a promising company gives corporate employees who aren’t interested in risking everything or worrying about their next paychecks the chance to change tracks. While startups don’t offer the kind of job security found at larger companies, they’ll still provide a steady paycheck and offer a pleasant change from the anonymity and monotony of corporate workplaces.
Startups typically have fewer employees, which means they also tend to have a very different culture from corporate workplaces. Those employees that are willing to sign on early and take a minor risk will have more luck moving up the career ladder if the startup succeeds, and they stand to see a large payoff if the company is acquired or goes public.
The Bottom Line
Don’t assume that quitting a 9 to 5 job can only end with being stuck in another dead-end career or, worse, working for minimum wage in the service industry. The years that workers spend stuck in corporate jobs typically leave them with plenty of marketable skills that can be put to good use starting companies, joining startups, going freelance, or finding other solutions that offer a better fit for their lifestyles and goals. Just be prepared to take some risks and have a backup plan in place, whether it’s enough money to get by for a while if the business is slow or marketable skills to find a new employer if all else fails.