The Challenges of Entrepreneurship: Transitioning from Corporate to Startup

Have you ever considered a move from employee to entrepreneur? It’s hard but, like anything hard, it’s rewarding. Today we dive deep with Sangeeta Maltchandami, the brilliant mind behind Jumpstart Studio. Sangeeta mentors, budding entrepreneurs. Her relatable story of being an international student in Australia, with aspirations of securing a corporate job despite limited local experience, is a testament to her resilience. In this blog, we unpack her journey to taking back control as she transitioned from the corporate world to entrepreneurship.


woman smiling and looking at her laptop and mobile phone - entrepreneurship


What inspired Sangeeta to move away from corporate?

About nine years ago, Sangeeta reached the peak of success in her career. Despite these accomplishments, she felt unhappy realising that the rigid corporate hierarchy was stifling her personal growth. In a bold move, Sangeeta spent a year as a digital nomad, working remotely across 25 countries. Upon returning to her old job, she found herself still feeling discontent, leading her to question what was causing it.

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Sangeeta decided to return to her entrepreneurial roots. She felt a calling to contribute to the community and help others succeed. Success wasn’t just about personal achievements after all. The shift to entrepreneurship was influenced by her husband, a personal trainer. Seeing the profound impact he had on people’s lives inspired her to pursue meaningful work. She found satisfaction in working hard to make a positive difference in people’s lives.


Outgrowing the Corporate Environment

There are often political agendas at play at the top levels of organisations. This often forces employees to align themselves with these agendas even if they don’t fully believe in them. Such setting might not be the best place for a person who prefers more flexibility and meaningful work that directly impacts lives.

Sangeeta mentions that most inefficiencies in organisations arise not from incompetence but from people’s tendencies to disagree with each other. Because of this, many individuals feel trapped or unable to change anything. The fear of leaving a secure job and their comfort zone often holds people back, even if they are frustrated.

Those who do leave typically possess a higher internal locus of control, believing they can shape their destiny. Some of them tend to transition to the startup ecosystem and are often driven by a desire to change something in the world. This is often a sign that you’ve outgrown the corporate environment and are ready to pursue your passions outside of it. 


As time goes on, you realise there’s no ladder to climb, there’s no bigger piece. – Sangeeta Maltchandami


Have you read: Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars by Patrick Lencioni


Challenges in Entrepreneurship

One challenge is overcoming the employee mindset. For most people, their job is a defining part of their identity, and shedding that image can be challenging. For Sangeeta, she found herself still trying to remove herself from that identity even after years later. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, keep in mind that embracing the entrepreneurial pathway is an ongoing process. It’s okay if you don’t completely get rid of the corporate mindset yet.

Overcoming the fear of the unknown is another significant challenge for entrepreneurs. For many individuals, especially those who aren’t originally from Australia, understanding the intricacies of starting a business in the country is an even bigger challenge. It can also get difficult to connect with the right network and individuals who could guide you.


Choosing Your Network Wisely

According to Sangeeta, it’s not only about who you know but more importantly, who knows you. A common mistake for many individuals is seeking mentorship without first establishing a connection or understanding the other person’s work. Remember that the people around you help shape your identity and business journey, so you must wisely allocate your energy and collaborate with like-minded individuals. She suggests a trial run to determine whether you work well with each other. 

Sangeeta advises aspiring entrepreneurs to thoroughly research and follow potential mentors and collaborators. One of the best ways for founders to network is to attend networking events in person. And while you can network on online platforms like LinkedIn, it is in actual face-to-face events where you form meaningful connections with potential partners. Building a network, according to her, requires a deliberate effort to establish connections and contribute to the community.


Businesswoman from audience talking to speaker - entrepreneurship


The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The entrepreneurial mindset is all about being invested in other people’s success as much as your own. In the corporate world, the focus is on personal success, with people constantly aiming for promotions and competing with each other. This mindset shift is about breaking free from traditional rules, creating impactful initiatives from scratch, and having the power to shape things according to your vision. 

Sangeeta gives an example of her involvement in creating Australian Professionals of Colour (APOC), highlighting the success of the APOC Gala, an event that brought professionals of colour together. There, she found the freedom to create and present awards without needing permission, showcasing the empowerment that comes with being an entrepreneur. 


Australian Professionals of Colour

In 2021, Vineti Anand approached Sangeeta with the idea of creating a supportive environment for women of colour in Melbourne. Vineti’s inspiration for this initiative stemmed from her own challenging employment journey in Australia, where she faced criticism based on cultural values and missed out on promotions. The organisation aims to empower both men and women of colour to maximise their potential and become leaders without encountering bias or discrimination. The overarching goal is to infuse cultural curiosity and intelligence into workplace dynamics, empowering leaders to cultivate diverse and inclusive environments.


Confident Leaders Own Their Destiny

Starting your entrepreneurship journey will make you question your vision, values, and what legacy you want to leave. You have the freedom and responsibility to decide what you want to pursue, who you want to do it with, and how you want it done.

Sangeeta finds confidence in knowing that she can give back to the community, whether it’s a conversation with an aspiring entrepreneur, a large speaking event, or leading her team of people. She is a true leader to emulate.

You can listen or watch the full episode “Entrepreneurship Unveiled: Sangeeta Maltchandami’s Incredible Leap from Corporate to Startup!” here.  

What are your takeaways from this blog? Let us know in the comments.

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