Be Your Own Boss - Part 3
There is success on the other side and there are successful people out there who left 9-5.
- The Golden Cage clouds your judgement and prevents you from reaching your fullest potential
- Self-awareness of having the Golden Cage Syndrome is the first step to changing your life
- You might think there is not much opportunity outside of the corporate world, but in fact, there’s plenty of opportunity and it’s more exciting and even closer to you than you think
Paths to success outside of the 9-5 gig
One of the biggest obstacles for my clients who want to start their own businesses, is the notion that they don’t have any business ideas. They often say to me “ok, great, I get it and I see the potential. I would love to be my own boss, but I don’t even know what I could do outside of what I currently do.” I had the same thoughts and feelings when I was thinking about leaving my corporate gig. Then I remembered all of the achievements I had during my tenure as a corporate soldier. As a result, I realized I had three options to move forward.
Here are the three main paths you can take after you leave your 9-5.
- First is to start a business around something completely different than what you were doing in corporate. Let’s say you have passion for remote-controlled toy cars or passion for art, and in your corporate job you are a data analyst or an IT director. Two completely different worlds - one is passion, the second is your day job. So what you can do outside of the corporate world is to focus on developing your business around your passion. This means you are building a totally new offer and opening a completely new chapter in your life as you walk away from your everyday job to do something that you are very passionate about. I am talking about how to build a business around your passion later in this article.
- The second option is to become a consultant on the exact topic your corporate job was about. So if you were a data analyst, you become a data consultant. If you were an IT director, you are now an independent senior IT consultant. This approach leverages your current knowledge, skills and experience and allows you to find new clients outside of the corporate world but also sell back to the corporate.
- The third option is becoming a consultant but leveraging your ancillary competencies. For example, if you were an IT director for years and you were leading large, international teams you could become a leadership consultant teaching others and whole organizations on how to be a good leader.
These three paths require three separate approaches to making it all work. They all have advantages and disadvantages and the successful execution will depend on personal circumstances and goals.
When working with clients in the Consultant Academy I always start with understanding their goals, their skills, and their passions. This is the foundation of choosing the right path for the right person.
I, for example, took a bit of a hybrid approach and leveraged my corporate skills to develop completely new business. In my corporate life, I was a business consultant and the head of compliance. In my own business, I became a business and compliance consultant for corporate clients, thereby combining my role as a consultant and my topic of compliance
Do any of these paths seem like a good fit for you as you read this? Here’s a great exercise that will help you see all the opportunities to run your own business.
QUICK EXERCISE - BUSINESS IDEA MAPPING
I want you to make a three-column table. In the column to the left, you will list all the results from the previous exercise (reminder - it was a list of all results you have achieved or you have helped achieve). In the column in the middle, you will note down all the specifics and details of those results. What exactly you accomplished - numbers, timeframes, money made, money saved etc. In the column to the right, next to each line, you will mark if the result is replicable. Meaning could you apply the same framework, process, approach etc to achieve similar results for another business/person? Just mark YES or NO.
For example, let’s say you are working in the procurement department. One of your achievements could be that you saved the business $5mil in a year as a result of your negotiation skills and you could help other businesses save money too. Left column: Saved money. Middle column: Saved/negotiated $5mil in 12 months. Right column: Yes.
Saved $5mil in manufacturing costs for an apparel business as a result of negotiating with vendors
Lost 20lbs in 3 weeks following a workout routine and a meal plan I created
Remember to note down achievements from your personal life too. For example, you might be passionate about running a marathon. You train for it, you are part of a marathon club and you can run the marathon and achieve a fast time. Left column: Running a marathon. Middle column: Finished my first marathon in just 12 months since I made the decision to run it. Right column: Yes (I could teach others my training regime).
Note down ALL of your accomplishments, both in your professional and personal life. Put everything down including “I lost 25 lbs in 4 months and I could teach anyone the process”. You will be amazed by how many accomplishments you’ve had, how many skills you have and how much you could help other people and organizations. This is a foundation of what you COULD do running your own business in the future.
The types of business you can run
I know it might be hard to wrap your head around what type of business you could start. Here are just a few examples of some business models your business could use. My two favorite ones are the first and the last one on the list:
- Sell your knowledge - from the exercise above you see how much you know and how much you’ve accomplished. All that can be sold in forms of offline (in-person) training and events or online versions (courses, webinars, virtual events). To put the potential of this into perspective - the online learning industry will grow to $325 Billion by 2025! You could be doing this while still doing your day job!
- Sell someone’s knowledge - no, I am not talking about stealing and selling as your own! If you believe in someone else’s knowledge, experience, programs, events and courses, the affiliate business is growing and has lots of advantages. Ex. your marathon coach has a program for people who want to run a marathon - you can be an ambassador of that program and sign people up with the coach in exchange for a fee. You can make a lot of money in the affiliate business and you don’t need to take care of fulfillment or customer service. Your job is to drive potential customers to the people behind the product. This can be done while you work your 9-5 job.
- Start a brick and mortar business - lots of people have hobbies that can be turned into running a brick and mortar business. I have seen others start their own VERY successful high-end fashion boutiques. Very often, through your 9-5 work, you can gain insights about the market, vendors, distributors etc. that you can then leverage to start your business.
- Sell products online - it takes literally a few days to set up your own store online and start selling. You can sell your own products (not that hard, I designed two different physical products and successfully sold them online) or you can sell products online in a niche you are very familiar with or very passionate about. You can start developing this while you’re still in your 9-5 job.
- Become a consultant - this is often combined with selling knowledge in a form of programs and courses (point #1 above). I think this is my favorite for people who want to hit the ground running as soon as possible once they’ve decided they want to run their own business. Becoming a consultant is relatively easy - all it takes is “packaging” your knowledge and selling it as a solution to other organizations that might need your help. You’ve subconsciously already been doing it every time you have changed employers or departments in your organization. You take your knowledge and apply it in a different scenario. Becoming a consultant is exactly this. You have the knowledge and expertise. You just need to package it, quote it, sell it and deliver it. That is exactly what I did when I started my own business.
If you see yourself in any of the scenarios, your next question might be - what next? How do I actually do it? How do I prepare for the move and where do I start?
I am glad you asked because that is exactly what I take my clients through in the Consultant Academy. It is a repeatable framework that can be applied to any person and any business idea. And I’m going to walk you through it in the next part of the article.
I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.
~ Stephen Covey
- 1There are multiple paths you can take to start your successful business
- 2You have the skills you can leverage to build business
- 3There is a variety of business models your new business could use
- 4There is a replicable framework you can leverage