After many years of preparing (and procrastinating, let’s be honest!), I finally took the plunge to leave 12 years of management consultancy to pursue a career as a full-time entrepreneur and author.
One year on I can say I am seriously happy in my new life. But of course, there have been some challenges and some unexpected lessons that I want to share in this post as I reflect back on this past year.
1. It takes courage to follow your heart
I made the decision to leave the corporate grind because it was no longer serving my needs and wasn’t making me happy. I wanted to spend my time and life doing work that I was passionate about; work that bought my soul alive.
I wanted to enjoy life and not just work for a paycheck. Losing my dad and grandma in close succession was also a critical life event for me. It made me wake up and take a look at where my life was heading.
More crucially it made me realise time is limited. Go for what you want now. There is no guarantee of a tomorrow.
2. Prepare before you leap. Be sensible.
I made the decision to quit the corporate client without having another income stream to jump into straight away. Now some of you may think this is very silly but let me explain why I took this decision.
For me, it was becoming tough to commit to my dream of being an author and entrepreneur while I had a full-time job to deal with.
The full-time job was very intense and sucked all my energy both mentally physically and emotionally. I also took no breaks during this 12 year period aside from a few weeks of holidays.
So I wanted to give myself mental and emotional space to really focus and double down on what it is I wanted to do with my life. And sometimes that means taking a total break.
So I made a conscious decision to put savings aside so that I could comfortably build my Author and entrepreneur business over a two-year period.
I also have a few coaching clients that pay enough to cover the basics.
So I would recommend you have a basic level of financial stability before making the leap.
Other friends I know have partners who help them out. Whatever works for you, just make sure finances won’t be a worry as it will take you away from the ability to focus on your writing or building your business.
Make a financial plan see how much you are spending. Look at ways you can downsize and reduce your costs (this is exactly what I did 2-3 yrs before I took the plunge). I describe in my upcoming book ‘Escape The Cubicle’ how I prepared for the big leap and downsized my life.
It is true when they say money doesn’t necessarily make you happy. I can say that selling a lot of my things and downsizing my life has made me a lot happier. I have fewer things to worry about.
Speaking from personal experience, selling a lot of my things and downsizing my life has made me a lot happier. I have fewer things to worry about. When you clear the clutter from your life, it becomes easier to focus on what truly matters.
3. It’s easier having a day job!
Taking a bet on yourself takes bucket loads of courage.
There are days I wake up and am terrified about what to do next. There seems to be so much to do. And such little time.
Conversely, with the day job, I just turned up, didn’t expend much mental energy and still got paid for it. Working for someone else is way easier.
Working for yourself is much harder because you are the boss and employee. In fact, as the CEO, you have to take care of everything from business development to HR and marketing!
Building your own business means you need to knuckle down and do the work, even when you don’t feel like it.
4. Be clear on why you have chosen this path
I love this quote by Stephen Pressfield from the War of Art;
On the field of the self stands a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the Dragon. The battle must be fought anew everyday.
You need to understand the why behind what you are doing.
Weigh up the pros and cons of working for yourself. If you are still in a day job use that time to get educated on what you want to do with your life.
Knowing your purpose, or your ‘why’ will help you persevere.
5. Learn to manage my time
I am the boss and the employee.
If I want to take a 3-hour lunch break, I can.
If I want to work in the sunshine, I can.
But if something goes wrong, I need to fix it.
If the website has gone down, I need to sort it out.
I need to make the calls, I need to do everything.
So time management has become critically important to me. It has forced me to focus on the most important things at this moment of time.
I know I can’t do everything at this stage. But I know what I must do today to get me to where I want to be next week. It’s all about taking small but consistent steps in the right direction.
And trust me, time management and productivity are still areas I continually work at on a daily basis. I am far from perfect!
I know I can do this. I know I will be a successful author and entrepreneur because I’m doing the work today.
I have defined my vision of success. And I commit to working towards executing that vision relentlessly. In the next blog post, I share more lessons learnt. Stay tuned.
My book ‘Escape The Cubicle’ will help you to find your passions, live on purpose and unleash your potential.
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