Last year, Forbes reported on a startling finding that by 2020, 50 percent of the workforce will be self-employed. That’s only 7 years from now. When I digested this possibility, it reminded me of the fact that I NEVER had a desire to be self-employed. Nope. Not me. No way, ever.
On the flip side, I have always wondered what it would be like to make my own hours, carve out family time based on my work schedule, have the opportunity to create a fulfilling business and, just possibly, be more financially independent than I thought possible.
Meanwhile my inner voice was always giving me a zillion reasons why I could never make it. For starters, there was that million dollar question: What kind of business would I go into? Along with that uncertainty, there was a self-imposed doubt and terrible fear that my business wouldn’t be successful.
Why couldn’t I embrace entrepreneurship like everyone else?
Growing up as the daughter of a Marine Corps fighter pilot was probably one reason. I can still hear my parents’ shrieks when I confidently announced that I was taking a commission-based sales job at the age of 23. My cultural background and upbringing mandated me to embrace a risk-averse career and lifestyle.
On top of that, I married a serial entrepreneur who launched so many businesses, it literally killed the marriage. I kid you not. The fear of launching something on my own was based on a philosophy and model of other people’s failed ventures and an old paradigm which instilled in me that nothing is more secure than the conventional route.
Nevertheless, I learned a lot about business during those years, including how tough it could be. What became tougher was my own personal experience on January 26th, 2008: the largest layoff in modern-day America. A legal recruiter at that time, I was one of the 650,000 people that lost their job that day.
Only 90 days before my life and career exploded, I awoke with the greatest clarity about going into business for myself. It was the strongest revelation I can ever remember. I peered into this very door of freedom from a different lens. I was one of the many “wannabe” entrepreneurs feeling unfulfilled working for a large corporation and living a life of anxiety and doubt about what the future held. The dark cloak of fear seemed to lighten that day.
A significant event moving me in the direction of self-employment was when my boss declined my request for a $250.00 investment to help me become certified as a résumé writer. I actually proposed that I could become the principal writer for HER company.
It was then that I decided, ‘I don’t need you to do this. I WILL do this on my own,’ and also proclaimed in my heart and soul that I would help others by becoming a full-time résumé writer and career counselor. These are areas of expertise I have focused on since 1993. In fact, with my legal recruiting background, I realized that I could serve the legal community. These professionals might know how to argue, write, and interpret the law, but they certainly had difficulty selling themselves on paper.
Trusting my intuition, I developed my business model, which included acquiring the necessary certifications in my industry and joining industry-specific associations to complement my new profession. I consulted with my mentors and family members, calculated potential earnings, researched the competition, and hired the most fabulous Web designer and SEO specialist. Within 90 days my business was up and running on the Internet. I have since built a business based on my own life story and career struggles, situational awareness, and pure gut instinct.
When I look back, one core belief that shifted was about projecting others’ failures as my own. Just because someone failed at sustaining themselves in business didn’t mean I would fail. To say the least, this insight opened up my whole world.
If Forbes’ prediction is accurate, I would like to suggest that you consider taking a closer look at the possibility of operating a side business while you are currently employed. Research and conduct extensive due diligence in your market, so you can arm yourself with competitive intelligence. Take a look at our AllBusiness.com website — we may have some insight and ideas to help save you time and money.
As I move into my fifth year of living and working as a solopreneur, I assure you that I am still all in. This holiday season, I am reminded of the many blessings in my life, but in particular, I am thankful for the boss who wouldn’t make an investment in my professional development back in 2008. As it turns out, her rejection made me fearless, subsequently becoming one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.
As Nelson Mandela once said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Rock on with your dreams and don’t own anyone’s failures but your own. For more on the 13 signs of why you are meant to be self-employed click here.
Happy Holidays to everyone!