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.
In the last post, I shared 5 lessons I learnt as well as the challenges I faced. In this post, I share 4 more lessons learned.
1. Take care of me
I have suffered from huge bouts of self-doubt and procrastination which both come from fear.
Fear of failing.
Fear my book won’t be good enough.
Fear it won’t sell any copies.
Perhaps even fear of success. What if it takes off. Will I be able to cope?
I know, it sounds bizarre, but that is what fear is! It’s bullsh*t!
These irrational fears stop me from taking care of myself. I think I should be working harder. I feel guilty for taking time off.
This past year I have probably worked triple the number of hours I would have in a ‘normal ‘ 9-5 job.
I’m writing, building my author business, speaking at events, going to conferences as well as managing a team on my tech start-up, building the tech platform and fund-raising from angel investors and venture capitalists.
I have suffered from a few bouts of burn-out this year which is not nice. I feel moody, annoyed, irritated, don’t sleep well and neglect my physical well-being.
But now I know that I need to take care of me first. If I do this, the business will take care of itself.
So I am now finally embracing some guilt-free rest. When you work for yourself, it can be hard to switch off. But rest is important.
When I don’t get enough rest, I become less productive and cranky. My muscles tense up and my neck and back muscles cramp up which results in a lot of painkillers being consumed!
It also lowers my productivity as I can’t sit at my desk. So rest and play are coming back onto this year’s schedule!
2. I found my Tribe
One year ago I knew no authors nor entrepreneurs. Today I have a network of authors I can speak to about writing and entrepreneurs to discuss business with.
I have met these people through networking events and workshops I have attended in London.
I would recommend you make an effort to go to networking events. I am an introvert and networking is daunting.
Meeting people physically and building a network of like-minded supportive people will help. Actively aim to meet people who are doing work you want to be doing.
I talk about the importance of building your tribe and how to do it in my upcoming book ‘Escape the Cubicle’. Sign up here for a free copy if you join the Launch Team.
3. Success Needs Structure
Working for yourself is great regarding the freedom you have.
But too much of anything is not necessarily a great thing.
This is why I implemented a daily routine; this gives me focus for the day. I have experimented with a few things, but this is what works for me currently:
- Mornings: writing
- Lunchtime: gym session
- Afternoons: light lunch and business stuff (emails, marketing, working on the tech business)
- Evening: dinner, reading. Prepare the agenda for the following day and wrap up the day.
I am a morning person and prefer to be at my desk writing by 8.30am. Sometimes I need to sleep more. Sometimes I sleep less. The key is to make sure I get enough rest.
I also aim to complete at least one big thing from my ‘to-do’ list, be it setting up a mailing list. Or editing 3 chapters. I identify the most important task of the day and tackle that first.
4. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
This adventure of writing and building my author and tech business is seriously exciting and horrifying scary!
Everyday stretches me outside my comfort zone.
Most days I am complaining about how hard things are or figuring out how to do something.
But when the next day comes along, I feel so proud of what I learnt and how I have grown.
And this is why I quit the corporate grind. Because I wanted to learn and grow and do exciting stuff!
So I can’t complain. Instead, I’m grateful.
If every day I can do one thing that makes me face my fears, makes me stretch my comfort zone, then I know I’m headed in the right direction.
I thought my biggest failure was that I still had not published my book. But know I know some things take time. I need to respect that.
As long as I turn up daily and do the work, then the results will more than take care of themselves.
Every day I turn up is another day where fear and procrastination have to hide away.
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.
My book ‘Escape The Cubicle’ will help you to find your passions, live on purpose and unleash your potential.
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Are you stretching your comfort zones daily? What have you achieved in the last year? Or what do you hope to achieve this year? Please share in the comments below.