Be Your Own Boss - Part 2
You don’t have to work for someone else to be successful and financially stable.
- Being in the corporate world is not the only way to be successful
- You can break out of the golden cage and cure the Golden Cage Syndrome
- It is possible to be successful, make money, and live a good life running your own business, even if you have never done it before.
You’re in the wrong game and that makes your hard work useless
When I left my corporate job I was high in the ranks and I was good at the “corporate game.” My moves were fine-tuned and I knew exactly what would happen when - not because I had a crystal ball, but because I’d doing it for so many years and in so many corporations (Ernst & Young, Deloitte, British American Tobacco/Imperial Tobacco, Valeant, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Roche).
It was scary but also very exciting to jump ship. The thing is that I had nobody I could talk to about what was about to happen and what to expect. None of my friends were entrepreneurs and ALL of them advised against leaving the Golden Cage. I wish that back then there had been someone to tell me what to do, how to prepare, what to sell, and how to get clients because that would’ve saved me a lot of time, money and headache. I wish I’d had someone like me today. All that to say it wasn’t easy, but I did it anyway.
Leaving is hard because most of us are suffering from the Golden Cage Syndrome and we are not ready to Be In Charge. Golden Cage Syndrome is an interesting phenomenon that prevents us from tapping into our highest potential and from making good decisions because we have our basic needs met. We are handed the rules of the 9-5 game and we start playing it, even though the game is not always the best choice for us. And that is one of the biggest problems.
You think your problem is that you don’t know how to play that game well enough, so you work hard; but the real problem is that you’re in the wrong game and that makes your hard work useless.
I’m not saying that working a 9-5 is evil. There is a time and place to do that kind of work. Some people will always be happy and fulfilled doing it. But there ARE people, just like you, who have Golden Cage Syndrome but just don’t know how to get out or are not even aware that the Syndrome exists.
You too are suffering from the Golden Cage Syndrome:
- If you are passionate about what you do, but you feel limited by office politics and performance reviews
- If you are working hard, always busy, and are constantly waiting for someone’s recognition
- If you know you can be more and achieve more, but you’re stuck because you don’t know how to get out
- If you don’t have enough work-life balance and every day feels like a groundhog day
- If you want to have full control of your professional life, but you cannot have it because you are working for someone else
The Golden Cage is so powerful. We have all of the above feelings, yet we don’t have a better idea of what to do, so we just stay there...for years.
Being self-aware of the Syndrome is the first step to breaking out of your current situation. A huge dose of realizing I needed change would happen to me every time I travelled on vacation. I would finally feel alive and would recognize the nonsense of the 9-5 work. I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who has had this experience. Vacation breaks the 9-5 groundhog day pattern and you start to see small glimpses of what could have been had you Been In Charge.
There is success on the other side and there are successful people out there who left corporate
When I ventured into this new, uncharted (for me) territory of having my own business, it was a completely different world than what I was used to. But I was able to land a new client for my new consulting business just two weeks after I published my website. I was in disbelief! When I got the message from the client, I thought it was a joke by one of my corporate friends. It turned out not to be a fluke and the client project went amazingly well.
As you can imagine this gave me wings and was a catalyst to my success because I had proof that I could make money outside of the 9-5 (or 8-8) job using the skills, knowledge, competencies, and experience I had, without friends doing me any favors and hiring me.
I had proof that my preparation to leave and research before I made the move paid off. That "this can be done."
I had proof that what I learned in corporate could be used and sold. All the things I was passionate about working on in my corporate job, all that potential that couldn’t be released due to inside politics and countless hours of meetings that made no sense could now be discharged and delivered to the world through my consulting business.
As I delivered more projects to new clients I started to expand my network of connections to other business owners and began to realize that my journey wasn’t that different from theirs. I met a lot of people who, just like me, left the corporate world and pursued their careers by creating them and running their businesses.
I was in shock because none of my corporate friends were like this. Of course, none of my friends were running their businesses because they were busy climbing that corporate ladder! It was an eye-opening experience for me to learn how many ex-9-5 soldiers successfully run their own business. And when I saw how much money you could make running a business, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe that you can have the freedom, the stability, and all the toys (houses, cars, boats etc) without being in the corporate world. A 6-figure corporate job can be translated into a 6-figure business PLUS all the benefits of being your own boss - freedom, flexibility, and full control over your life.
To put it in a bit of perspective, two years ago I started developing yet another business idea. This was something that I started “on the side” of all the other entrepreneurial things I was already doing. And in just 12 months since starting that side business, I went from $0 to $180,000. I will let you judge if it is a lot or not, and it is all relative, but it just shows the potential of taking this path.
You are just as good as your last presentation
Now, one of the biggest arguments behind having a 9-5 job is stability, but that stability is an illusion. In corporate they say that “you are just as good as your last presentation” and things can change so rapidly that stability is a joke.
If a new boss or new management comes in and they don’t like the way you work, stability is out the window. Receiving a “nearly there” assessment in a new HR process evaluating your 12-months of work - stability is gone. No bonus paid out at the end of the year because the goals (you had no impact on) were not met - stability is out the window. The only stable element is that you need to keep “proving yourself” and accept the fact that you are just a resource, a cog in a machine. The sad truth is - you are replaceable.
To be clear, I am not saying that the corporate world and working for someone is all bad and that having a business and being a consultant is all butterflies and rainbows. I learned a lot in my time working in the corporate. I am thankful for what I learned and have been trained on, and I still work WITH corporations. What I am saying is that there are other ways for you to be successful and happy or to support your family and your lifestyle, not to mention that there are other ways to be fully in charge of your professional life.
The fact is that when you run your own business, you can do whatever you want. Are there risks? Absolutely. Is it for everyone? Absolutely not. But it is an option.
The best part of running a business is knowing how to make money yourself without anyone “owning” you.
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.
QUICK EXERCISE - ACCOMPLISHMENTS
I want you to spend 5 minutes right now and note down all the achievements you’ve had in your professional and private life over the past years.
If you look deep and far you will realize that you have achieved so much and learned so much. You will recognize how creative you are, how many amazing ideas you have had, and how you’ve helped those businesses you worked in grow. You have so much to offer that it might even feel restricted by all the corporate rules, policies and politics. Most importantly, all those skills and accomplishments can be turned into a living and breathing business that brings YOU money. How many times have you delivered a project that made hundreds of thousands of dollars for the corporation and all you got in exchange was a pat on the shoulder. You are worth SO MUCH MORE.
I also want you to start noticing how many businesses are out there and how many people you might know went down the path of running a business. If you are currently in the corporate world in your next meeting, when you meet with a new vendor, service provider or consultant, ask them about their story. Chances are that they are business owners and entrepreneurs themselves who used to be in the corporate and now they deliver their services to other corporations because they know exactly what those corporations want and need - and they charge decent money for it.
This is like when I started running my own business and became a consultant. I landed a corporate client at - $15,000/month for something that took me 15 hours of work from home per week. That is $180,000 in a year, from just one client. I was working in a month, an equivalent of what I used to work in a week when I was in the corporate office. Just one client. And there was still lots of room for me to land a few other clients. There is a potential, wouldn’t you agree?
If you do agree and want to explore the three main paths to take when thinking about leaving the 9-5, escaping the office politics, escaping the rat race, breaking the glass ceiling and finally being able to do things on your terms, click below to continue. Let’s go.
Great spirits have always faced violent opposition from mediocre minds.
- 1You're working super hard and using your potential to build someone else’s empire
- 2There are thousands of people who quit 9-5 and are fully in charge of their professional and personal lives
- 39-5 only gives an illusion of stability
- 4Learning the skill of making money gives you leverage and allows you to Be In Charge