Recently I was talking to a new business contact, let’s call him Gilbert, about his business which he had started a days before. I remembered how excited and frightened I had been in equal measure. I remembered lying awake making plans and feeling excited about this new adventure and, at the same time, overwhelmed by what I had to do and what I knew I didn’t know with a side issue of realising that there was probably stuff I didn’t know I didn’t know! Thankfully I found networking.
We began talking about how long we had stayed safe in paid employment, with a feeling of restriction, before we made the decision to make the leap into self-employment. What do I mean by restriction? Well, as my beloved summed it up when he said: “You’ve never done bosses well”. This is true: I love being the decision-maker in my business, and I’m not saying that all my decisions have been good ones, but they have all been mine.
Gilbert and I agreed that, at some level, this move to self-employment had been made more difficult because we were paid well and there is no guaranteed income when you are paying yourself. Added to this both of us had support teams, who did stuff and knew stuff so we didn’t have to be involved. So, in the main our jobs were more interesting and rewarding than other jobs we had done. Then he asked “When did you know you had to leave?”
No one who knows me will be surprised that a holiday was involved. Because we have always liked to travel we would always hit the annual issue of having “no leave left till the end of March”. And we like long holidays. The moment I knew I had to leave was, having returned from a month’s holiday when we had completed a circle of the earth, I parked my car in my personal parking space in London, walked back into my lovely office, saying hello to my fabulous team and thought “well this is no fun”. That’s when I started to plan my exit and less than six month’s later I was self-employed with no real idea of what I was going to do. I just knew that, whatever I did my number one rule was it had to be fun.
That was my “moment” and I asked Gilbert what his “moment” was. To be honest I was expecting some story like mine. He said he had been thinking about it for years and he knew what he would do and how. His final-straw/camel moment was he said when he started to think about what he liked about the work he was doing, the employment package he had and the people he worked with. He knew that he definitely had to start his own business when he realised that the best bit was that…he had a chair that swivels! The next day he started to negotiate his way out.
From my swivelling chair I would like to help you with your networking, so here’s a gift to you: my Top 20 networking tips. Just follow this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to receive your copy.