Lately, I find myself day-dreaming about being more independent when it comes to my occupation – I’m talking real financial independence, real control of my time, and actively choosing what and how I invest my energy. This is my 11th year as a working woman. My career has been blessed – I have worked for good multinational organizations that provided career growth and inevitably played a pivotal role in my career trajectory. The companies I have worked for have seen the potential in me, made the necessary investment in my growth, and even taken (calculated) risks and placed me into positions that I didn’t blatantly have the technical expertise or experience for. But they took the chance!
So, considering how blessed I have been, why am I getting the urge to make the shift? Why would I want to take the risk and potentially upset a formula that has worked for me?
I am shifting internally. What was initially a silent whisper every now and then on living purposefully, has now become a much louder voice. My heart is starting to yearn for a deeper, more meaningful existence. I find myself being challenged on whether or not I can wake up Monday to Friday, to go to the same sort of place, following the same type of routine and engaging in similar types of discussions for the next 10, 20, or even 30 years. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with 9 – 5 employment and I am not suggesting in any way or form that it is ‘less than’ or ‘inferior’. I am sharing with you where my heart is, and remember we are journeying together, experiencing the twists and turns together.
But, what does this mean exactly? Am I going to leave my job? Am I going to take some time to figure out my plan? Do I want to start a business? If so, what business am I going to start? Do I have the finances? And is it really as easily done as said? What actually needs to happen before I can make that shift a reality?
All of these questions are running through my mind at the same, damn time. I don’t have the answers but what I do know for certain is that I want to add value to our society. I don’t only want to impact or influence the KPI attainment or streamline a process in a company. I want to impact people’s lives.
To answer one of the questions I posed in the beginning – I want to start a business. However, my reality like many others is that I can’t just leave my job (not yet anyway). I have bills to pay and responsibilities to take care of. That bond and fibre (yes, you read right) aren’t going to pay for themselves. So, I am taking the time to figure out my plan by doing the following.
Research is key when embarking on anything. We often spend time researching the type of car we want to buy, the area in which we want to live, what cellphone we want to buy, or where and how to invest our money. We even spend time researching the less important things such as different types of sneakers, etc. I need to invest at least double the amount of effort in market research than I would in any of the above to understand what opportunities are out there, what the gaps are, and how to leverage my skill set. Ultimately, I need to have information and facts to support my business idea.
Benjamin Franklin put it well when he said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. We have all read or heard the failure vs success rate of new businesses. We cannot underestimate the importance of anything in life, especially when we want to make the shift from formal employment to self-employment.
My preparation has started with my vision board which reminds me daily of my goal. I have started engaging with people and contracting them to use their skill set. I am putting together a project plan with dates by when certain things need to be finalized such as the business plan, key meetings, marketing plan, and when I expect my product/service to be available. Equally as important as some of the technical preparations is a plan for how I am going to manage starting up my business with my full-time job.
At some point, we all make a shift in our lives. What shifts have you made in your life (personal or work-related)? Do you have any that you particularly proud of?
I would love to hear from you and how you have approached your shifts. Share some of your wisdom in the comments below.