The perfect time to ditch the 9-5? Now.

If you are in the 9-5, this might be the perfect time to think about having your own business. It might feel counterintuitive to start a business now, but in fact, it the best time to consider it and to start taking the first steps.

As I mentioned in one of my previous articles (LINK), "it is way too early to say what the future will be as a result of the coronavirus. And nobody can predict how things will end up."

What is certain is that people are forced to change their habits and companies that hire those people are forced to change their strategies, business models and the way they operate.

Things will not be the same, and the degree to which the situation will change is unknown, but what is clear is that we need to adapt quickly to the changing environment.

Businesses cut costs, close operation, stop production and lay off employees. The United Nations predicted that coronavirus could wipe out the equivalent of 195 million jobs worldwide. For those employed, this is a stressful situation because layoffs hit not only their industry but most industries out there. It is scary.

But there might be a good thing coming off of the COVID crisis layoffs.

Having worked in the corporate world for quite some time, I know that lots of people are thinking about starting their own company. They appreciate the 9-5 work (though, it is never from 9 to 5, is it?), but at the same time, they feel something is missing, they feel "trapped." They want more freedom, flexibility and full control of their life. After all, how many years can you endure being frustrated with office politics, being stressed about performance reviews, keeping your job or feeling burnt out fighting for that annual bonus?

So, they feel trapped, but at the same time, they see no other option to be successful and financially stable. I call this situation the Golden Cage because they feel trapped (the cage), but that same trap is giving them the benefits (the gold) - benefits of a paycheck, vacation, company car etc. And those benefits, in a sense, handicap them because they don't know how to live a professional life, which is not about working for someone else.

Some of you reading this have been laid off and are concerned about your future. Some of you are at risk of being let go (who isn't these days). And some of you are confident their job situation won't change, but you realized that "phew, this was close. What if I was hit, what would I do?"

I remember as if it was yesterday that when I told my corporate friends that I'm leaving to run my own business, they were shocked. They were shocked because such a move feels so much "out of the comfort zone" that it feels almost impossible. If you spend years working for someone else, then starting and running your own business seems so tricky, because you have zero experience in that area. It is an entirely new, strange world. So it appeared reckless for them, but what they didn't know is that I was preparing for the move and I did it on my terms, once I was ready.
Those same friends were also weirdly excited and jealous. So many of them would tell me that they wish they had the guts to do it. They wished they knew how or that they will wait for "an opportunity" to make a move. In one word: they needed a push.

The silver lining here might be that, no matter what your situation is, the coronavirus might be your "opportunity." Maybe you've always thought of starting a business or getting into consulting. Perhaps you've had enough of the Golden Cage Syndrome - putting up with the politics, waiting years for a promotion, implementing strategies and procedures that you know make no sense.

Maybe this situation is your "push" to start your own business. There is nothing more liberating than knowing that you are in control of your life and that YOU can Be In Charge.

A lot of you are now working from home anyway. And this is the perfect opportunity to start researching the option of starting your own business.

Once you learn how to make money yourself, nobody can take that ability from you. When you are an employee without that skill of Being In Charge and making money yourself, you can get fired and left without anything, and when that happens, your only choice is to find another job (tricky in the current situation).

Having your own business also means you can be creative and flexible. I work with tens of entrepreneurs, and I can see firsthand how they leverage Being In Charge. Yes, they need to adjust to the current circumstances, but they don't need to rely on someone else's decisions. When you are employed, you only have one client - the business you work for. If that client goes away, you're done. But when you run your business, you have multiple clients, and that diversifies risks during turbulent times. That is the beauty of running your business.

I recently asked those who made a move from corporate jobs to running their own business. Here are a few of their comments:

"I was a new mom, and the 9-6 (+2 hours of a commute!) was not working for me. By the time I get home, I'm so tired I can barely function as a mother. I do not think I'll go back to the corporate world because I like the time flexibility that I have now running my business. I get to chose who I work with, both clients and collaborators/contractors/employees."

"I worked for a large tech/advertising company. I left and started my own business because I needed more flexibility after having children. I didn't like the toxic atmosphere in some areas of the business and some of the big unpleasant egos. More importantly, I was frustrated and bored as I wasn't learning or developing as fast as I wanted to because I was just a cog in a machine."

“I hated the feeling of being enslaved to your desk. You must be in the office during certain times and as long as you look like you’re working hard, you get rewarded. The actual work doesn’t mean much. There was even a girl who one day sat at her desk crying because her manager wouldn’t let her leave slightly early to pick up her son from school. That was so disturbing to me. I couldn’t stand that feeling and always needed to own my own time. I think people work best when they’re able to integrate their whole lives with work and not separate the two.”

“Reasons I started my own business: freedom, escape the misogyny, see the results of my own decisions faster (working for a large company you rarely see the results of your work directly). People managing my time, having a boss, having to do my expenses 😉 (I have a bookkeeper for this now!).”

“My own hours, my terms, flexibility, being able to figure out what to work on, being able to shine because I worked in a way that worked for me. 3 main things that sucked: Bottlenecking with giant egos, a toxic work environment that was insidious, 9-5 M-F.”

There might come a time when you need to say goodbye to your career. Maybe it is time to get ready. 

If you'd like to explore this option, read the Manifesto: Break out of the Golden Cage. Be Your Own Boss. Click HERE


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