Do you long for a new position that matches your long-term vision? Are you considering leaving corporate and setting up a successful consultancy business? Pivoting is a stretch, and this article paves the road for you. There are a lot of opportunities out there. Find out what I've achieved in six years, including my planning and benchmarks. If you're on the verge of a leap and struggle to match profit and satisfaction, reach out so I can guide you in setting up a prosperous business or career. Please send me an email: email@example.com
I left the golden cage six years ago to establish myself as an executive search consultant and coach to Directors and CEOs.
Within the first year, I established BOC Institute, my brick-and-mortar business on executive search and headhunting. BOC has become a reference for international companies in Slovenia and South-East Europe. I lead a solid team of experts and recruiting consultants who guarantee top performance to our clients.
Whether BOC is regional, I also run an international business: Simona Spilak Executive Coaching. I'm writing this after completing my second work vacation in Mauritius, where I held career management and development training for a global pharmaceutical company Aspen Global Incorporated.
In 2017 I was stuck in my career. Something felt off, and it wasn't getting better as restructuring and time passed. The idea of holding back my growth was painful to me. I'm very proactive and couldn't spot new opportunities in my company despite trying.
I invested a lot in not giving up my company. Can I get an international role or be promoted? Can I shift departments or regions? I needed to understand the new strategy of the company and whether it aligned or not with my values and direction. When I concluded there wasn't a challenge worth my energy, I decided to search outside via a career coach and executive search agency.
It was a high-pressure time for over a year. While working 9 to 5 and traveling heavily, I weighed what would feel better for me: more aligned and with a more significant impact. What would feel more like “Simona” in 20 years?
In a career coaching conversation, I had the epiphany: new challenges weren't enough; I was after a job I could enjoy. I wanted to deliver, manage and serve, but I wanted to do it in a way that gave me joy because joy connects to my definition of success.
When my coach asked what I'd love to do, I heard myself answer: "You know what, I have so much knowledge and experience from different markets that I would love to share these with others. I'd love to support them in their career path". She gave me the idea: "You should become a consultant."
My first reaction was to pull back to check all the options I had to move to another pharma company! I considered new positions in pharma and new jobs in other international corporate businesses. This lateral move was an actual option. At the same time, I couldn't stop planning my business. It happened in a parallel movie, like so many things in my head.
I passed the interview rounds, and in the end, I had to choose from two options. As I sat for my last interview and explained my future place, it became 100% clear and natural to me that my future position was not working for others but myself. That was the best way I could support them. And so I started the BOC Institute.
From those conversations, I got direction and the reassurance I needed to focus my mind. I was a bit too senior to join a big consultancy firm, like, let's say, Boston Consulting Group. So the two options left were enrolling in a smaller company or starting my own company. And I went with the second option.
I want you to know the number one step is figuring yourself out: who you're, what fulfills you, your direction, and what aligns with it. As soon as you do this first part of the job, everything is much easier because it feels aligned. You have the power and energy; take time to invest in what you are committed to and focus on. Then opportunities pop up very quickly.
Being a consultant, advisor and trainer sounded like me. It was a natural step. The inspiration came from my 15-year experience as a lecturer at the university. Those years inspired me: “If I love to share my knowledge with young people, I can also help senior colleagues in corporate who are on the verge of changing their careers or building one they love.” I had a direction but no clue how to get there.
EXPERIENCE was one of my significant assets. The other one was RELATIONSHIPS.
I've experience in 20 markets and know a lot about different functions in international firms: from sales to finance, marketing, supply, logistics, compliance, product development, and business development. All of that was there.
I knew how corporate functions from within, why HR functions, and investing in people are essential for the company's growth. Corporate also gave me the structure and processes to manage a business. I knew the tough conversations I had to prepare for. Understanding the big matrix gave me the confidence to share and use the knowledge in my new consultant role.
I knew executive search in combination with executive coaching would be a top value proposition for my clients. And I've proven right. I understand my clients because I've been there, but I'm not limited to that: as a coach, I have my eyes open to deep inquiry to guide them to their best next opportunity.
Here, the value of having a career portfolio became clear – and not just a career path. A career path would have left me stuck. My portfolio, enriched with executive coaching training, personality profiling qualifications and courses on psychology, theater training, and a passion for studying people's behavior in black novels and drama, helped me move the needle.
I learned how to package and share it all to support companies searching for great candidates and perfect matches for their open positions. My inspiration here was to use all my experience and make it valuable for my potential clients.
I've always been a relationship builder. I'm a social beast with a genuine interest in human relations. That's important: if you're planning to profit from your network without being honestly invested, it sucks. As soon as I decided I'd love to take on the consultancy and entrepreneurial path, I shared it with my friends and colleagues. I shared my excitement with them, and two opportunities rose within my network. One was for an extensive executive search project, the other for a partnership. I do the same nowadays. I enjoy great discussions and love people with whom I can learn a lot.
I had a financial plan, and I´d suggest everybody have a six months salary as a backup, in case anything goes wrong. But you know, with finances, it is always like that: the higher you go on the corporate ladder, the more significant the amount you need to save for such times, and the more excuses arise for the big resignation. So, if there´s no backup, there is also an option to use the golden parachute approach.
As you leave a corporation, you can count on a redundancy package. This package, combined with savings, investments, and shares, can be your financial backup. It's essential to feel financially safe. However, the most crucial thing is having a plan for your career and life.
Success is not something I take lightly. I measure success by:
Whether you are going after a different corporate role or want to establish your own business, many fears, self-doubt, and pulling back and forward come with career transition. I'm grateful to myself for the opportunity, the research, the personal growth, and the perseverance I put into it. I'm thankful to my career coach because I wouldn't have known without her excellent questions.
I was, and you're an exceptional senior professional. You may be a perfect guide to others. You can try and do it yourself when it comes to your transition. The other option is to let someone have your back and cut the time down for you.
Six years later, I keep coming back to my foundation. Every day I remind myself of my vision. To the joy and tremendous drive, I taste when I can guide you towards your next career move and show you the steps. If you feel I'm the one to have your back, I'll be honored.
You're invited to join my masterclass live or watch the replay. I'll be back to check what actions you take and to introduce the Career Transition Program for Senior Managers and Directors starting October 25th. You can register for my Masterclass here to attend live or watch the replay.
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