Be Your Own Boss - Part 1
You don’t have to work for someone else to be successful and financially stable.
What you’re about to read will change your perspective on your career and it will flip your world on its head showing you new ways to think about your future - how you make money, how you support your family and how you spend your time.
In this 4-part article, I’m not talking about another business opportunity you might have encountered in the past or a new formula on how to play the “corporate game” and get a promotion faster.
This article is about showing you a path that you can take right now to take full advantage of your skills and competencies and never ever spend another day being frustrated with office politics, stressed about performance reviews, keeping your job or feel burnt out fighting for that bonus.
I’m sharing with you my, and my clients’, experience of going from being a corporate employee to successfully running my own business completely replacing my corporate income (and then some), having freedom, flexibility and fun doing what I do. I’m nobody special and, as you will learn a little bit later, the reason I succeeded is that I broke out of the Golden Cage.
The Golden Cage
What is the Golden Cage? If you are in the 9-5 job it is HIGHLY likely that you are in the Golden Cage. It is a situation where you work for someone else and it is rubbing you the wrong way on so many levels, but at the same time, you cannot (or you think you cannot) get out of it. You think that you have to stay because that’s what is expected of you - by your family, friends and society. Because you have mortgage and want to go on vacation and drive a nice car. You think you have to stay in, because “there is nothing else you can do” and that “everyone else is doing it” (spoiler alert, that is not true). You are blindsided by the “benefits” that you cannot see the true cost of staying inside the Golden Cage:
- That, currently, your financial freedom is NOT 100% controlled by you
- That you don’t have full control over your life, your journey and your story
- Employment IS temporary
- Employment is NOT scalable and it takes YEARS to climb the ladder
- You are not free, you don’t have the decision power and you cannot do what you truly want
Through the next few pages, I want to help you realize that it is possible to break out of the Golden Cage. I am giving you the exact, replicable steps (followed by others just like you and me) to break the chains of working the 9-5. As I said, I’m nobody special, just a regular guy from Eastern Europe who moved across the world and successfully opened a business in spite of speaking a different first language. If an immigrant can do it, just imagine what you can achieve with all your understanding of the local customs and culture, speaking the language, and having relationships you can leverage to succeed.
There is life outside of the 9-5
It was August 2006 when I started my corporate career. To spare you the details I was one of the few accepted for a management trainee program at one of the biggest multinational corporations out there. A 2-year program that takes you from zero to hero. I was sucked into it - it was fun, it was challenging, I learned a lot, partied on the company dime (ah, those company conferences with free drinks), met a lot of friends and my wife there. I was able to fulfill my urge for being a leader, to lead teams and projects. I then got an MBA so I could be even more successful. Then I changed jobs. Another success. I changed jobs again, and again and again, climbed the corporate ladder, became a “head of the department” and being in the leadership position - a corporate shark’s dream!
I was making decent money and living a very successful, comfortable, busy life.
Despite being tired and “always busy” working 60+ hours a week, I kept going to the office for over 10 years.
Being stressed, burnt out and not even realizing it, I kept going to the office.
Being able to take just a few weeks of vacation a year, I kept going to the office.
Feeling like a cog in a machine and feeling trapped, frustrated and bored, I kept going to the office.
Spending hours a day in toxic environments, I kept going to the office.
Craving the flexibility, I kept going to the office.
We all still go to the office in spite of all the hurdles, obstacles, unpleasantries and nonsense that sometimes happens in the office. We still go to the office even though we can see with our own eyes how you can work crazy hard and yet you can still be let go one random beautiful Friday, without any prior signals because you no longer fit or are no longer needed.
9-5 gives the illusion of safety
You know why we keep going to the office and why we play that game? Because we feel the illusion of safety, of getting a regular paycheck, of being able to pay the mortgage, of getting the employment benefits, or of enjoying the company car. This feeling of safety and lack of knowing how to otherwise support yourself and your family is so ingrained in your brain that once you start climbing the corporate ladder, you forget that there is another world out there. All you know is the home-office-home life. All you know and see is how to play the corporate game, how to keep climbing in pursuit of that “safety”.
One day I realized that corporate safety, the “Golden Cage Syndrome” as I call it, is just an illusion and that even though I am climbing up the ladder and making more money, my full potential was suppressed. I felt there was more to life and more to what I could achieve than the 60-hours workweek, a semi-stable paycheck and a company BMW. I was tired of doing the same every day, and I was fed up with corporate politics. I was tired of commuting for 40 minutes one way, sitting 10-12 hours in the office, and commuting back. I needed more freedom, more flexibility, more variety, and more free time. I just didn’t know how to achieve those things. The only way to make money was through working for someone else and making the company more money by offering my precious time.
As I was climbing the corporate ladder, I had plenty of networking opportunities with entrepreneurs who hired companies I worked for. I realized that those people are successful, happy, fulfilled, wealthy. They were all I wanted to be and they were all running their own business! I started doing some research, trying to find a proven path on how to be successful outside of the 9-5 world. As I going down the rabbit hole that this is the answer to how miserable I felt I was so ready to change the status quo, to stop being an employee and to finally be in full control of my life. The final realization I needed to change something came when I was on vacation. As I was travelling, feeling the wind in my hair, feeling freedom, feeling I am in charge I made a decision to jump the 9-5 ship.
You can Be In Charge
I left my job, going against all opinions and family expectations. I started my own business and I never looked back. I’ve now had the experience of being a corporate soldier for years and the experience of being on the “I run my own business” side of the fence. And I’m here to tell you, there IS life outside of the corporate world.
There is a life where you can Be In Charge. And being in charge is the opposite of having Golden Cage Syndrome.
Being In Charge means creating life on your terms and making your own decisions about your future (as opposed to an annual performance review table that defines your future).
Being In Charge is a life where you can take a vacation whenever you want and a life where you can still take care of yourself and your family.
Being In Charge means seeing the results of your own decisions faster (working for a large company you rarely see the results of your work directly).
Being In Charge means managing your time and what you do the way YOU want. No more micromanaging and reporting up.
Being In Charge is a life where you can work for yourself, build your own empire instead of someone else’s, and have full control over your life (goodbye annual performance reviews).
Being In Charge means being your own boss. It is a very, very good life (and yes, it pays well).
When I quit my corporate gig and gave away my corporate car, I got my first client in just two weeks after I started my own business (details "what" and "how" on next pages). I started making more money, having more free time, going for walks in the middle of the day, taking the day off when I wanted, and having loads of fun doing what I do. Those corporate friends who advised against me starting my own consulting business are still in their jobs. Still complaining about lack of time, stupid corporate politics, and not enough time to travel and have fun.
It is possible to have a GOOD life outside of the 9-5 gig and you can have it too. It is possible even if you suffer from the Golden Cage Syndrome, even if you think you don’t have what it takes, and even if you have no clue how to run a business. I am here to tell you how to do it
Now, you have two options:
Stay in the Golden Cage
Commute, work 60+ hours a week, take 2-3 weeks vacation in a whole year (this is SO sad), accept the illusion of stability and never be in full control of your life.
Finally break the chains and Be In Charge of your life. Do what you want, when you want it, be happy and in full control.
If you choose option 1, totally fine, but you’ve been warned. You might be wasting life and your potential.
If you choose option 2, let's continue...
You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.
~ Abraham Maslow
- 1If you are working in a 9-5, you are most likely stuck in a Golden Cage
- 2There is life outside of the 9-5
- 3You don't need to be special or have special skills to break out of the Golden Cage
- 4You Can Be In Charge and in full control of your life