At some point in your life you may wake up with a feeling of despair. One where you just can’t bear to continue with your current business project, speak to the same people, and do the same monotonous tasks.
When Marcus Buckingham, author and motivational speaker, works with someone facing this problem, he asks them three important questions:
Why this business? What is its broader purpose?
Who are you working with?
What exactly do you do with your business?
By exploring these questions, you can isolate the real reasons you are unhappy with your business. Often we can be enchanted with the idea behind our work or with our employees, making us loyal to a business that is not meeting our personal needs
The people you work with may keep you working a business with no opportunity for expansion. You may like preparing documents and giving presentations, but you may no longer care about your business’ mission or goals. Dedication to a business helping people may keep you working with doctors and nurses you despise.
These questions will help you gain a deeper understanding of your relationship with your business and what you really value from the experience. These elements can help you reassess what you truly wish to accomplish and possibly create an entirely new business model.
Sometimes, when business problems have you completely stumped, in the words of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, you need to use a lifeline and phone a friend. While we often think that the road to success is traveled alone, our friends can give us the strength we need to take the chances that will lead to larger goals.
If you work alone, you can only rely on the skills you possess. You have no one to buoy your spirits when you are discouraged or to share your successes. Our friends often know our abilities better than we do. Where we see ourselves through a lens of self-criticism and doubt, our friends see a strong, smart, able-bodied compatriot. Don’t keep your business life a secret when you are having trouble; talk out your troubles with a friend and brainstorm solutions. You never know when creativity will strike. Every situation has its power teams, and with some experimentation, you and your group will find your way to the top.
Setting your own rules, self employment, sleeping as late as you want, lack of inhibitions; all reasons to leave the cubicle lifestyle and become your own boss. But what happens from your initial thoughts about self employment to the point of actually getting there can be tricky if you’re not well prepared. That’s where this article comes in. Being your own boss can be done in as easy as five steps and I want to show you how. I’ve done it on a slightly different path then what I’m going to explain to you, but if I were starting over again, this would be my definite list of 5 steps to leaving the cubicle.
Analyzing your passions
If you’re leaving the cubicle lifestyle because you hate it, jumping into your own business should be fun and exciting. It should be something you’ve got a deep passion about. If not, then why leave your cubicle, right? The first thing you need to do when you’re deciding to leave the cubicle and be your own boss is sitting down and really thinking about what it is you love to do. Maybe you’re an adventure junkie who loves skydiving and mountain climbing, or maybe you love a much calmer lifestyle and spend your spare time helping out at the elderly center. What is your passion? When you can answer this question, you’re well on your way to becoming your own boss.
When you have a definitive list of your passions, no matter how many there are, you are ready to start analyzing them. What I suggest doing is putting in big letters at the top of a piece of paper each passion (one piece of paper per passion). Under the title, list as many positive emotions you can associate with that particular passion. Anything from “I love the rush” to “It is a great way to spend time with my family”; no answers are wrong here.
Plan your path to profits
Without a road, or a solid ground to walk on, you can never take those first critical steps to making it to the finish line. Can we walk on air? Water? Highly unlikely. The same holds true in business. Without some form of plan, you’re aimlessly running with no goal in sight. I don’t want this misinterpreted as a statement telling you that you need a 200 page business plan with 10 year projected profits and tons of other useless information. That is not what I mean at all. Your plan to profits will come from the following; taking your passion list and brainstorming ideas on how each of these passions could be profitable.
For instance, if you’re love is cars, you could have the following list as a plan to profit.
- Car photography
- Nascar racer
- Monster truck driver
- Drivers school instructor
- Car painter/customizer
The ideas here are limitless and should not be held back by negative thinking. The goal here is to come up with every possible way imaginable that you could make money with your passion. Again, no answers here are wrong (you’ll come to notice that this is a reoccurring theme – positive thinking).
Build a solid contact list
Networking is crucial to building start ups for all small business owners. Networking is also one of the best ways to get 10 steps ahead of your competition. Regardless of these two facts, building a contact list before starting your business is often overlooked. In any position you’re currently in, you can build a contact list. If you’re current job is in the IT field, you can make sure any contacts you have with your current employers sources is intact, or if you’re just starting fresh out of high school and you’re not sure about anything you’re doing, you’ve got friends and teachers that can be placed in your contact list.
Your contact list does not need to be for potential clients and customers only. Granted, you should set one of these up as well, but you need a list of people who can give it to you straight; the honest answers you’re looking for to make sure that by the time you’re launching your company, you’ve got all of the right pieces to the puzzle in place. Friends, colleagues, current company contacts; they all hold very valuable information to your business. Always remember that and you’ll be on a contact list building rampage.
*note, this is one step I never took when I first started my blog design company and I deeply regret it as it took me much longer to get into the green and a lot of changes were required along the way which would have been sidestepped totally if I just had a contact list.
Create a sure fire marketing strategy
Once you’ve got your building blocks in place, it’s time to put it all into effect. During this stage of planning, you’re going to want to focus hard on building something that will be effective and give you the greatest ROI. If you’re throwing a fishing line into a big river and hoping for a bite, you’ll be a lot worse off then if you went to a small pond that you knew was full of fish that liked your bait. Below are seven sentences you need to answer in order to create a solid foundation for your marketing strategy.
- The purpose of the marketing – The physical action you want your prospect to take.
- How you’ll achieve this purpose – your competitive advantage and benefits.
- Your target market – who are you aiming to benefit?
- The marketing weapon you’ll use – online, offline, magazine print, ect.
- The niche and your position and what you stand for.
- The identity of your business – Not who owns it, but what you stand for.
- Your budget – This should be expressed as a percentage of your projected revenue.
From here, you can build a more in depth plan of action, but without these seven sentences answered, your marketing plans will not fall into proper place. This is one area in your five step plan to leaving the cubicle that you should spend a bit of time on and make sure you’ve got everything down solid. To read more about the seven sentences listed above, you can check out Building an Effective Guerrilla Marketing Strategy.
Stop complaining and do it already
So now you have a great plan of action set together right? If not, re-read this article and then come back to this paragraph. I will keep this section short, because there’s not much left to say except to just do it; get out there and get yourself on your own road that doesn’t involve that damn cubicle. If you never try, you never fail. But on the same token, if you never try, you never win either.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and make yourself proud of what you can do on your own. It’s not as scary as you might think!
If you’ve got questions for me or any of the other readers here, please feel free to leave a comment and lets get a discussion going about this subject. I’d love to hear your input.