Welcome! In today’s case study, I am interviewing Jennifer Kroiss, a Career Strategist from Kroiss Consulting. She’s going to talk to us about the journey she went through starting her own business and how she left corporate without burning bridges. Welcome Jennifer!
How I Left Corporate Without Burning Bridges With Jennifer Kroiss (Case Study)
Tell us a little more about the fears you had when starting your own business?
What fears did I not have? Everything was unknown. I was coming out of corporate and all I knew was corporate. So starting a business was going into the unstructured area where I wasn’t the expert. That was tough for me. It was tough knowing I wasn’t the person that knew all the answers like I was in corporate. There was a lot of fear of the unknown. Having to understand that I had to go to others for answers. It was hard to be strategic when I didn’t know what was next. I had to get my mind around that.
Tell us about your business journey and where you are currently at in your journey?
I used to be in Corporate America as of just 2 months ago. I am in phase 4 of Corporate Rescue Plan in the Entrepreneur Phase. I have some paying clients and I am getting good results for them. I am really starting to build out things in my business. I really wanted to know that I had given 100% in my corporate role and just build the bare bones of my business. So when I left I was able to hit the ground running. I had referrals for my business even before leaving the company. After I quit, I got paying customers a lot quicker than I had anticipated. That was a big self-esteem booster.
What were you thinking before joining CRP and making the commitment to start your business?
I had never considered leaving corporate ever. But my favorite part of being a manager was developing people and building teams and getting the best out of people whether that was interviewing or mentoring others. I accidentally stumbled onto one of your Facebook ads and thought, “Wow, there is an actual world out there and you can do this as a full-time job rather than just a portion of your job.” I also realized that it was scalable and there were no boundaries. I could maximize myself and my knowledge.
When I got into CRP, I saw that Anna had a similar background to me and was able to make it into this entrepreneurial space. I knew I wanted to be involved and that’s what helped me make the leap.
What kind of challenges did you go through?
Mindset was the biggest challenge. I left a pension. I left a guaranteed six-figure income and benefits. I left my identity. I was used to being with the company. Making that mental switch was the biggest problem.
Another was time management. I was used to working 60-70 hours a week for my company and was available 7 days a week. I felt pretty strongly validating that there was a market and making sure that I will get paid and build out the bare bones knowing it was going to work. It would have been challenging to really have launched my business while still at the company without burning bridges.
How did it make you feel when you were going through these challenges?
Scared and excited but mostly excited. It’s amazing to know that there is a community like Corporate Rescue Plan. There are women in all different industries and people who have done it before you. Everyone is an expert in different areas. It was more exciting than anything.
When did you make the decision to go head first into starting a business?
We had a phone call and I looked at the commitment. I knew if I was going to invest time and finances I wanted to make sure it was something that I really wanted to do. Even more, I knew once I was more excited about working on the modules and seeing what was going on in the CRP FB group that I was choosing to make more time for that. I knew that being around the CRP community was where my heart was rather than going into the office every day.
What did you do first in CRP when you joined?
I started in the Facebook group to see what was going on and who was in there. I am an organized person and so I checked out the modules and figured out what I wanted. I used the worksheets to get myself there and get a much clearer picture.
I was blown away by the community. I always wanted to find a community of strong and professional women who are there to support one another. There’s not the office gossip or those type of things. That’s what this was and it’s been very clear from day 1 that it is very professional and very supportive. People go out of their way to help each other which is really neat.
I have been involved for awhile and will be for awhile. I have never seen anything different. I think it starts from the top down and it starts with Anna. It has been exactly what I expected.
What sticks with you that you learned the most and helped you the most in the beginning?
Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction. I tend to be Type A and perfectionist. I can freeze when I get overwhelmed. I learned that I need to keep moving forward and do something. Keep setting the goals and just keep doing it. Get it done. I needed that because it’s amazing how 1-2 weeks go by without doing anything but you need to keep the ball rolling the whole time.
How many years did you work for the company in your Corporate position?
It would have been 12 years in November. That was tough. I never imagined I would be leaving. I planned to retire from there. It goes back to my mindset challenges and needing to work through that but that’s what CRP helped me to do. CRP helped me realize that I really wanted to impact a lot more people and it helped me make the decision to walk out that door.
Did people think you were crazy?
It was a shock to people I worked with. People thought I was committed to the company forever so they were surprised that I was leaving the company. Before they even knew what my new business was about, they were asking how they could support me. I had helped people through developing them in the company and now they wanted to support and give back to me. It was pretty neat.
They were all extremely supportive and I still hear from people every day. That door didn’t shut it just enhanced what I am doing now. I even got clients before I left.
What would life had been like without CRP?
Very different. I wouldn’t be home at 3pm. It would have been in the office early morning until late at night. My stress level is very different than it is now. I still have stress but it is stress that I control now and manage. I own the outcomes of what I am doing. That is awesome.
We just had a family gathering and they noticed my smile that they hadn’t seen in awhile. I am who I am meant to be and doing what I am meant to be doing. I loved my job but it would have been the same thing every week just a little different story. Now I can change the script whenever I want.
I used to be at the chiropractor every week from stress and sitting in meetings. When I went to my office before I had to wear a mask as a manager. I was there for the company. Now I am the company and CRP gave me that. Starting a business can be high or low but knowing that I have a community I can reach out anytime…..that is what CRP gives me.
What are some results you’ve seen in your business?
The results I am most proud of are the feedback from people who have been early clients for me. Getting emails from someone who just had this interview and because we had 3 sessions together, they knew what to expect and because of our session, they knew questions before they were even asked. Then, finding out my client got the job a week later and wants to give me a testimonial. That is what I am most proud of.
That’s the exciting part of seeing the results from clients you work with.
Also, I did frame my first invoice when I got paid. That was fun. It made it very satisfying to get the first payment.
Where can people find out more about you?
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
Just do it. Remember it’s about taking imperfect action and being confident in yourself and trusting yourself. We are all amazing we just have to go out, do it and not shy away from it. Sometimes as women we downplay that. We are pretty awesome so just trust in yourself and make sure you are setting yourself up to be successful.
Thank you Jennifer!
If you want to learn how to become your own boss in 2017 and grow and scale your business like Jennifer is doing, make sure you grab your free spot to our upcoming Freedom Workshop starting December 29th. Sign-up here.
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