Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Many people thrive in a corporate setting. Indeed, they need a corporate setting in which to thrive.
You on the other hand would like to walk away, do your own thing, fulfil your heart’s professional desires beyond the confines of a big company boundary.
One of the things that holds you back is fear.
Let’s look at 5 ways fear can grip you. And then, let’s kick its ass.
5 Fears Of Going It Alone
I don’t mind betting that money is one of your fears. Maybe your biggest.
If you’ve always been in a job where you’ve been guaranteed a regular salary, it can be scary to think about cutting that cord and believing that you can create similar levels of money for yourself. Ongoing.
Especially if you have a lifestyle that makes sure what you earn is always spent and more.
The fear that you may end up living a smaller life, or even bankrupting yourself is huge.
2. What would I do anyway?
When you do a job, it’s kind of defined by the career path you went into and the company you work for: what they need of you; how you add value to the whole process of whatever they do. Even in scenarios where a job role is nebulous, or is an opportunity that you yourself have defined, you’ve shaped it based on known company reference points.
But outside, you have to stand alone and create your own “thing”. You might have some ideas. But there’s a fear that they’re not clear enough or good enough. That no-one will buy you.
3. How would I get myself out there?
Maybe along the way of your career you’ve learned some stuff about how to sell a big company-branded service. Or to promote yourself in the jobs market.
But how would you put yourself or your product ideas out there in a way that would translate to cash changing hands? There’s a fear that the very people you imagine buying you might reject, or ignore you.
And then what?
4. What if I burn my bridges?
You’ve had a stellar career. Your CV is exemplary – it has its own logic about why you moved from one job to another; the reasons for your promotions; the obvious progressions.
Now you’re going to chuck it away?
What if your burning desire turns out to be a disaster? Is there a way back to what you’ve been doing till this point?
5. My family and friends will think I’ve lost the plot
Your family are delighted that you’re a big (job title) for (company name to be proud of). It gives them a sense of vicarious importance. You’ve done well in their eyes. Maybe you’re frightened to rock that boat by even admitting you’d like to do something entrepreneurial.
And then, you’re part of a sibling-like group of friends and colleagues. Perhaps some of them went to the same university as you. You’ve enjoyed that competitive frisson that has come from being part of the pack. How are you going to define your progress without your mates? There’s a very real fear that they’ll think you’ve gone crazy?
I guess you resonate with one or two or maybe all of the above. But, how do you get beyond them and shoot for the stars anyway?
Kicking Fear In The Ass
1. Lock your costs down and get rid of debt
It’s easy for money to be out of control if you think it’s coming in all the time. So what, you’re a little overdrawn this month, it’ll balance next…
But being out of control around money is one of the biggest sources of anxiety and fear for the would-be self-employed.
If you want to quieten your money fears, you need to get your personal finances locked down.
Take a good look at your bank accounts and at what you’re spending. It’s not about downsizing or denial. It is about being real and being in control.
Debt and spending way above our income levels are ways in which society invites us to remain handcuffed.
If you haven’t already, you need to understand your monthly bottom line: the amount of money you need each month to cover your costs and pay your way in life.
Then it’s about figuring how you will make at least that.
2. Become an expert
Take real time to think about what’s unique and different about you that you can package, market and sell across whatever platforms.
Maybe you’re an IT Consultant, or an Accountant, or a Leadership Development Specialist, and you want to do more of the same freelance.
But what is it about you that sets you apart? Pay good attention to the results underneath your results.
So, maybe you enable people-change while you’re supporting systems to change; maybe you cut through complication and bureaucracy to form good relationships with your clients; maybe you inspire people with your ability to role model.
Perhaps you want to do something different beyond the corporate boundary.
You want to be a photographer; have a copywriting service; be an image consultant.
Again, what’s your “so what?” Your love of people catches the light in their eyes to create wonderful pictures; your years at the corporate coal-face makes your business copy insightful and fresh; your success in financial services allows you to know that city style is sharp but has a very human underbelly.
Own your thing. Hear it as a call to action – yours uniquely to bring to the world.
3. Make marketing your top priority to learn about
Work for yourself and there is no HR function to cater for your development needs. Instead, become your own educator and go in search of smart marketing advice that will help you get your word out there.
There’s a ton of it on the web. A lot of it for free.
4. Commit to giving it your all
If you’re fearful or worrying about what other people will think, you might hesitate to get stuff done. Or compromise on the decisions and moves that might take your dream forward.
I love The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, acknowledged as being a powerful code of conduct that help us experience freedom, happiness and love. The first agreement is “Be impeccable with your word”, of which Ruiz says:
“Through the word you express your creative power. It is through the word that you manifest everything. What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are.”
So, if you say to yourself that you are going to follow your dream, keep your word with yourself, no matter what. It’s a question of personal integrity. The more you honour yourself and your word, the stronger you feel and the less you care (in a good way) about what anyone else thinks.
5. Take your family and friends on the journey with you
Tell your family and friends what you’re thinking and share your ideas with them. If you have joint financial commitments with a spouse, partner, or friend, tell them what they can expect of you and what you need to them.
Some people will be there for you and supportive. Others will not. Don’t think that you are odd in attracting different reactions. That’s just how it is.
Sometimes criticism or negative feedback is justified; it holds some truth or wisdom for you, if you can hear it.
But other times it’s just a way of the other person projecting their world-view on you. You don’t have to make their view okay by playing small or dumbing down your own business ideas.
Your challenge is not to get everyone onboard. It’s to discern what you need to listen to and who you need to take with you, and indeed who you don’t.
Where there is fear, there is growth and learning. Fear is part of the going it alone journey. As is finding ways to mitigate the fear and get past it.
What are the fears that are holding you back right now from quitting your job and doing your own thing? How are you planning to overcome them?