I wake up every day and truthfully ask myself:
“The only thing that I miss about my corporate career is ….. [long pause, silence]”
Nope. Nothing. Nada. Not a whisper. Not a word. Not even a shadow of a thought stirs in my soul.
Thank God, I say with a big smile, another day where I am doing what I love, where I have no regrets, and where I am free and happy and fulfilled. I was a born entrepreneur, that’s for sure, I was made to be my own boss, I was just late to the game by well over a decade.
But that’s not what happens to every person who leaves a lucrative job and income behind and I am not naive enough to tell you that. Some feel regret. Some feel a need to return to the workplace. Some never make it on their own.
I know the inner turmoil that you feel if you are reading this quietly from your cubicle in a job that you hate with all your soul but one that gives you a paycheck that affords that beamer in the parking lot (someone tell me, what is it about guys and beamers!?!) and that lovely condo you own but rarely see. You can’t imagine doing the former day in and day out for another decade or two but boy is it excruciating to imagine living a lesser lifestyle altogether! Terrifying thought, isn’t it?
What are you supposed to do? A part of you is caught up in this chasing your dream and finding your passion business and you can’t stop reading about it in Lifestyle Design or Quit your Job blogs! What would happen if you jumped ship and gave up what you know to be your security and comfort zone and became an “entrepreneur” tomorrow?
What does that even mean – I know I had no clue as a corporate employee – and I mean, what is it really, not what they tell you in fancy marketing lingo that you’ve heard to death but in reality, in hard cold reality, what is a self-employed (online or offline) entrepreneur anyway?
Well, this is your lucky day because I read the most honest and vulnerable post from my dear friend, Angela, today and it stirred me to write this one.
I quit my 6-figure lucrative income in May of 2011. (Happy anniversary to me, yay!). Anyway, seriously, I gave up a lot of cash, a lot of stock options, a lot of security (or perceived security) and a lot of other things too. I made that handsome paycheck working from home a few measly hours a week and I was still a high performing super star and did stellar work. That’s how little the corporate job demanded of me, and that’s how well I had mastered my profession. On top of that, I was building up my side-hustle just fine. What on earth was my problem exactly?
I quit because I was in too much pain for doing something I hated and for truly wasting my time. I wasn’t mildly bored – that happened 5 years before – I wasn’t frustrated – that was 3 years ago – I wasn’t indifferent or angry or unhappy – those were all before the pain came.
The real ache in my heart for wasting another precious hour of my life on a meaningless, politically charged, ridiculously useless MEETING. The real pain for doing another excel spreadsheet or powerpoint with messages and words that disgusted me to no end and created absolutely no value anywhere for anyone in this godforsaken world of corporate world.
Do you know this ache and pain or are you just bored at your miserable job and need a new distraction?
To me, an escape was imperative. I needed my freedom, peace of mind, happiness, joy, and true bliss, and I was right. I have not for a second missed anything, regretted anything, and there is no price at which they can have me back. I am pretty clear about that too. But what about you? Where do you stand?
Take this note though: I did not quit before I reached that point. And if you are not there yet, that’s fine. In fact, I am happy to help you understand whether you are ready to quit cold turkey, or whether it is time for you to consider a smart side-hustle or a planning stage for your next move. That is the focus of my coaching program to help you through different stages of exit from your dreaded job and I do all of that with my fabulous clients and I can do that for you too, if and only if you are done fooling around – it took me a while so I get it, I really do, although I don’t recommend it – and if you are ready to invest in yourself.
But this blog post is about the real story behind being an entrepreneur, which again was inspired by my friend Angela. She is tired of the constant work. She is tired of being glued to her computer. She is sick of the lies about the 4-hour work week. And frankly, I cannot blame my dear Angela because it IS incredibly hard work, so please fool yourself not that you will roll in cash in a few weeks after deciding that you are the newest and hottest entrepreneur in town – or online! 🙂
Here’s the 14 ugly truths about being an entrepreneur:
1- You will feel overwhelmed and more than once, confused as to which direction to go, what tools and systems to use, whom to follow and whom to ignore.
2- You will be very challenged on how to organize all your ideas. You’re going to have ideas, no doubt, many fabulous ideas, but how to organize them and prioritize (a non-word from my corporate lingo!), and decide which to do and which to put off, now that’s gonna be a challenge.
3- You will feel alone. Sometimes, very alone. There are no office mates to come by and waste your time and frankly, we as human beings must love to waste time, especially when among fellow human beings. But none of that. It’s you and your home and maybe your cat – I don’t even have one of those, but I do talk to my plants on occasion (hey, my grandmother said they need love and they need to hear it, no joke)
4- You will probably eat by yourself a lot (Not what Keith Ferrazzi recommends a whole lot ;)), and feel more alone doing so. You may eat with your partner, spouse or family at night but you will be talking about work or thinking about it while eating.
5- You will be sad that no one recognizes your efforts, even though you are ‘authentic’ and genuine and honest. Even though you are creating value every day, you are ignored by all. Even though your stuff “really rocks”. Yet, it’s a ghost town on your website and in your blog. Yeah. Real sadness sets in.
6- You will fail many many times before success. You will feel rotten about it. You will want to beat something or scream at someone but there’s nothing and no one except yourself. You are it. You are accountable for the good and the bad and the latter kinda sucks but it’s part of the game.
7- You will have a very hard time staying motivated. You will get inspired, you will get a lot done at times and you will be fine most of the time but some days, you will battle the demons of self-doubt like nobody’s business, and you will pray for a little motivation, but alas, none in sight and you wonder if it will ever come back.
8- You will not know how to separate “work” from personal life, at least not at first, because it’s all so meshed together and it will become so hard to separate these blurry lines from each other.
9- You will work very hard. I mean so hard that your body will ache from it and you will eat twice as much because you burn so many calories working and racking your brain for ideas! Working evenings and weekends and even while visiting family or in the gym, you will be solving problems in your head. You may not be able to get away from work even if you do all the “balance your life” advice that you can find. Yet you will still be inseparable from your business for long stretches of time.
10- You will be glued to the success stories of others but then implementing those tips may not give you the same results and you start to wonder if they are lying in their interviews or if you are so different that nothing works in your business and maybe you made a huge mistake leaving the comfort of that salary and cushy position behind.
11- You will have success, because hard work and sincerity do find a way to reward you, they do, but then you will want more and A LOT more, because you’ve heard about the massive success that your fellow entrepreneurs have enjoyed and you want that. So then you won’t enjoy your little success. It’s all for naught. Just great.
12- You used to travel and have a social life before but now you don’t even want to get away because you are so overly consumed in your work and distractions are only going to delay your eventual success. And let’s face it, it’s really hard to see the computer screen while sitting on the beach, not to mention the crappy WiFi and all the sand that gets everywhere.
13- You will get really excited and motivated after learning about a new idea or coming up with a new program, and you believe with all your heart that it can change the lives of others but then, you get no traction and no response. Maybe a few people get something out of your programs or products but your vision of helping hundreds or thousands falls flat on its face and you may even shed a few tears and this part isn’t just for the women among us because this stuff really hurts.
14- You will start to doubt yourself. You will start to doubt the lifestyle of a self-employed “rockstar”, the whole entrepreneurship dream, and you will get a little bitter and a little frustrated, and you may even experience mild depression. You forget about your inner self-confidence altogether and succumb to being a victim of the sad circumstance you build around yourself!
You get the idea, right?
It’s painful. I know.
Entrepreneurship: Not a walk in the park. Not a piece of cake. Not easy as pie. Not like shooting fish in a barrel. Not easy peasy. In other words, it’s not easy, for those of you who don’t know all the crazy American expressions that took me some 20 years to pick up ;)!
But don’t be discouraged, because this is what it takes, and if you are made for it, you are made for amazing rewards. And remember, there is a lot of grey in between the black and white and you can make transition at your own pace and on your own time.
This is what it takes to build something from scratch where nothing existed before in its place, and where it only existed in the windmills of your imagination. This is what it takes and if you are willing to put in the hours and to do this work, and to wake up every day, 6 months later, a year later, 2 years later or even 5 years later, and still would rather do what you believe in and change the world on your own terms than waste your life at a meaningless job, then you are meant for entrepreneurship and self-employment and walking your own path.
Plus, with the right guidance and smart decisions, it does not have to take that long to become a thriving entrepreneur and it has amazing thrills that will keep you wide awake at night from the excitement of it all. So what are the thrills? What makes it worthwhile? How can you do it and learn to avoid some serious mistakes that can derail you? How can you find out if entrepreneurship is even right for you?
Talk to someone who’s been there and can show you the ropes. Invest in yourself and work with someone who can give you real practical advice before you risk your safety and security net from corporate.
If you like my style, book a free 20 minute consult with me. I have just 3 spots left in my June coaching program and if you nodded as you read this post, if you still want to create your own lifestyle and call your own shots, I will teach you the real deal of working for yourself and help you decide what to do with your career. Today. Not tomorrow. Not next month. Not next year. Because the only thing that you can’t get back and you can’t make up for is TIME, baby!
What do you think? Am I a radical on the subject or right on the spot here? Share your thoughts – agree or disagree, gonna love it so long as you do it with sincerity – on entrepreneurship and corporate life below in the comments.