Whenever I visit clients or potential clients in large companies, one of the things I inevitably get asked about is leaving work and starting your own business.
It seems that many of us find our working lives a bit like a gilded cage.
On the one hand you get a steady salary, pension, insurance, a regular place to go, with people to meet and interesting things to do. Most of the time this is OK and you can’t see the bars of the cage. And let’s face it, unless you do something fairly drastic, they will usually let you stay as long as you want.
On the other hand, every so often you get a little reminder that maybe you are not doing everything you could with your life, you don’t have all the freedom of choice and action that you could or even worse, you grow to hate it.
At this point you realise that a cage is a cage, however good the benefits are.
For many people faced with this, the ultimate dream goes something like "if only I could start my own business then…..(fill in the blank)", so over the next few weeks, we’ll look at what’s involved in starting your own business and whether it really is the answer.
On our Start Your Own Business workshops we often start with motivation. What is driving this idea of starting your own business? Is it the pleasurable dream of moving towards something new or has the pain of staying where you are become unbearable? Maybe a mixture of both?
If you've always had a dream then now’s the time to activate it and one of the easiest ways to do that is to write down what you want. Create a vision on paper of what your ideal life would be like and how your typical day would run. Be as specific as possible. If it helps, we have a free form you can use on the Brefi website, download Setting Well Formed Outcomes [Free].
Writing it down will do a couple of things for you. It will test your true motivation - if you still haven’t got around to it in three weeks time then maybe it was just a fantasy? It will also enable you to get real with your dream - if you want to write poetry but you need to be bringing in a minimum £3k a month then you have some hard thinking to do.
If, however, the pain of staying where you are is becoming unbearable then do be careful. If you, like me, are one of those people who waits until things get bad before changing them, you run the risk of making a poor decision. What you need to consider is "what do you want instead?" What is it that you want to move towards? Where do you want to end up after you have moved away from the current situation?
There are other things you can do to change your circumstances without starting a business.
Once you understand whether pleasure or pain are driving you to make this change you can get down to the details. Next time we’ll look at how to have all the freedom of the self-employed while you stay in your current job.
PS - the Gov.UK Website is very useful for people just starting out. Take a bit of time to explore the advice there.
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