I’ve spoken to a few entrepreneurs over the last six months who are beginning new chapters. Some have sold companies; others have put management teams in place to run day-to-day operations. They’re all shifting their focus from their companies to something new. I’ve enjoyed these conversations and have noticed a few consistent things:
- Transitions – When you end one chapter to begin a new one, you enter a period of transition. Some transitions are longer than others. Some are painful, while others are painless. But everyone will go through a transition period. Talking to people as you transition is helpful.
- Giving back – Most of these founders have had a level of success and want to give back. They want to help other entrepreneurs navigate the journey they’ve just finished. They realize they were successful because of others.
- Uncertainty – The direction to go in for the new thing isn’t crystal clear, which introduces uncertainty. After running a company for many years, this can be somewhat uncomfortable.
- Identity – Founder’s identities are often tied closely to their companies. In fact, often the company is their identity. When founders separate from their company, they’re often forced to think through and establish a new identity.
- Time – Building and running a company takes a lot of time. When founders separate from their company, they may find themselves with much more discretionary time than they’re used to. They’re able to be more present and do things they couldn’t before. Time becomes very top of mind.
The last year has caused lots of people to reevaluate lots of things. It’s interesting to hear entrepreneurs discuss their new chapters—and I don’t think they’re alone. This year— 2021—will be the year people think about new beginnings, and 2022 may be the year of change. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens and what new things people take on.