I regularly get e-mails from people asking about starting their own gig (like I did with JibberJobber) or writing a book (like my LinkedIn help book). Here’s one of my favorites, from a friend I met in Mexico almost 15 years ago:
I am glad to hear your business is doing well. I wish I had your skills to go out and start my own business, but I am too big of a chicken.
I have always wanted to own my own business but I wasn’t on the path to do it. My schooling was geared towards a rich, fun corporate life, where I could climb the ladder and retire after a rewarding career
I didn’t think I would ever come up with “the better mousetrap,” or be in a position to actually execute on an excellent idea. So just how did I get to where I’m at (disclaimer: I’m not saying “where I’m at is my definition of success,” but I sure do love what I do!)? Here’s how I responded to this very good friend who is climbing the corporate ladder:
So here is my formula for going out and starting your own business:
- Focus 150% on your career, give your life and time and thoughts to the company.
- Get laid off because of any lame reason (usually something out of your control).
- Work 60 hours a week looking for a job.
- Have a great looking resume that has some ghost problem (something that is a problem but you can’t figure it out – and no one can tell you).
- Have an aha moment that is “wow, this would be really cool!!”
- Continue to not be able to get a job (much less a couple of interviews)
- Figure that going forward on your own business is going to be more fruitful than spinning the job search wheels (this happened to me months into the job search)
- Being okay with giving up all of the corporate perks (steady paycheck, bonus, holidays, sick leave, cheap health insurance, etc.)
There you go. There’s my guts. Where are yours?
You can see the original post on my personal blog.
This is one of my favorite blog posts. People think that you have to be lucky, or have good timing, or have funding, or something similar to get started. All I needed was a swift kick in the pants, out the door, and to the unemployment line.
And look at me now (trust me, that’s not an ego-trip statement, I still think I’m a pretty normal guy).
YOU HAVE THE GUTS. I bet more than 1/2 of my readers now will get that swift kick in the pants in the next few years… if you don’t believe me that you have the guts now, you will prove it to yourself later.