Quitting Corporate

Quitting Corporate: Surfing & Soul Searching

By Tim Sternberg
7 Min Read

Quitting corporate was not as easy as selling my old clothes. I had left a rewarding but excessively demanding corporate career, returning to my idyllic home town of Byron Bay to start a family and enjoy a sustainable work/life balance. Surfing most days and consulting to local clients – it was hardly “Struggle Street” from the outside looking in.  Yet deep inside I was really conflicted, because my work was missing purpose and passion.


A good friend described it best: I had a logo, website, financial and legal foundations and good clients but I was actually hiding.  I wasn’t putting myself out there, to really live my “business purpose” and create a truly sustainable, valuable business of my own. It was hard to hear, because it was true and something I should know better than most.


For someone that was known as an “ideas guy” I was struggling to do work that really inspired me.  Part of my soul had almost died in the corporate world and there was no way I could go back there. But once again I was worrying too much about what other people would think, rather than focusing on what was good for me and what I love to do.  I had to reconnect with my younger, more entrepreneurial self.


It took me two years of soul searching and discussions with my wife but I finally fleshed out a business advisory concept.  However, I couldn’t do it alone, I needed a partner – and it was obvious who that should be: Matt McDonald.


Matt was one of two people I had asked for advice when I started consulting.  I valued his opinions and expertise. So I was thrilled to hear Matt was flying up to Byron for my 40th birthday.  I took him the next day to my favourite breakfast place to pop the question ! I wasn’t as nervous as my marriage proposal, however I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be


Matt’s general observation of life is unique and he has a huge depth of knowledge.  You could hit on a topic like the rise of the meatpacking industry in the USA and he would share social history, economics and business facts that were comparable to wikipedia, but more insightful and tailored to who he was talking to. That knowledge, combined with his honesty and business acumen, is why many naturally seek his counsel.


I am lucky to call Matt a friend, but never knew why he hadn’t started his own consulting business.  So this is where I began, after we ordered my favourite breakfast. In true Matt style, he answered honestly: he was afraid. That gave me an opening to propose my dream business concept: that we help small and medium sized businesses to “level the playing field” vs large organisations like the ones we had left.


Matt loved the concept and started adding his ideas. I could also see how the Advisory Collective renewed his passion for the business world.


We quickly realised that we could offer an affordable, holistic Business Health Check that would help business owners to understand the risks and opportunities of their businesses.  Our Advisory Services could then provide regular support where clients could discuss their challenges and business data and ensure they were tracking in the right direction.


We also started to think about how we could assemble a team of “Collective members” that complemented our skills and shared our Purpose and Values, and we’ll be formally launching that in early 2021.


We’ve already put in a lot of work and we are thrilled by how far we have come.


I look forward to you sharing the Advisory Collective journey with us.

Tim Sternberg

Tim Sternberg

Tim is an expert in sales, marketing, recruitment and leadership with a particular flair for helping his SME...

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