Corporate escape plan
A couple of years after I set up my own business, I had a former colleague get in touch. He was trying to decide whether to keep working on his business or return to another full-time role.
“You’re the only one I know who has quit – and who hasn’t gone back to another job.”
And it’s true: I do know a lot of people who have given up on their attempt to leave the 9 to 5 and decided to return to the security of another more conventional job instead. They found it harder than they expected; the business didn’t take off as they had hoped; and they missed the camaraderie of having a big team around them.
Now, choosing intentionally to take a ‘9-to-5’ job because it’s an incredible opportunity that excites you and promises everything you’ve ever wanted – that’s not failing.
But taking a role that happens to be available, or that you’ve half-heartedly applied to, because you’re afraid of failing in your business and you haven’t given yourself a real chance – that, to me, is heartbreaking.
If you want to give yourself and your business a real fighting chance then tune in to this week’s podcast, where we’ll be looking at the 5 key elements that will allow you to escape the 9 to 5 for good.
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
The One Step Outside Facebook group– Join us over in the Facebook group to meet like-minded people who are working on reimagining success in their life and business and to get access to direct support and free training sessions from Anna. www.facebook.com/groups/onestepoutside
Hello hello there and welcome back to the podcast.
We are into the 50s now with episode 51, as you heard, so really excited to have celebrated 50 episodes last week. Now, we started last week talking about re-imagining success in 2020, in 2020. Not just a new year, but a new decade. Very exciting. Yes, it’s a bit of an arbitrary time of year, but we as humans have decided that this is sort of a cutoff point for a year for our calendar, but I think it’s a fantastic opportunity. There’s something about sort of the end of year, after the Christmas period, it’s cold, at least in the Northern hemisphere, and you know, the sort of cold, dreary January that makes us really redouble our efforts and feel inspired, really, to change how things are going to go in the coming year.
Now, of course, I tend to focus on, and I have focused on so far in the podcast, to be honest, the transition of leaving the corporate nine to five as I call it and setting up your business.
This is really the core of my message and I think it’s something of course that I’ve had in my own experience. However, it’s also something that I see, again and again, unfortunately, the pattern repeats itself, that many of us have had that kind of experience of being on the so-called conveyor belt, going to school, university, college, whatever you call it, job and so on.
We wake up, and that awakening might happen for some lucky individuals in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s. I have clients in the full range, to be honest, and I know there are some people in our Facebook group who are starting a business in their retirement, which is fantastic, too. But what happens is we wake up, we think, “Hang on a second. We’ve worked so hard for this. It’s not what I thought it would be. It’s not as meaningful as I was led to believe. I’m perhaps nearing burnout. I am not getting to spend as much time as I wanted with my children. I would really love to leave a legacy, create something more valuable, meaningful. To enjoy my work more to travel, to move to the countryside, whatever it might be.”
That is the core of what I’m looking at. Today, I do want to talk a little bit about that escaping the nine to five but in a broader context when we’re talking re-imagining success. So not just the career change but as we will nicely transition into for the rest of the year as well, the different areas of our life, which are really important in that kind of big change. Because it seems that a lot of these things sort of come in one go, so you know, I can work with people who happen to be going through a divorce while they’re also perhaps being made redundant, or choosing to leave their job, or something like that. Or you know, some kind of relationship break up. There might be some health issue, they might be a family personal tragedy. Unfortunately, these things do tend to come together, but there’s something quite empowering and refreshing, if that’s the right word. There’s definitely an opportunity to make something positive out of this very tumultuous situation once you’re ready for that.
But I wanted to tell you a story, a little bit of a story.
A few years ago after I set up my own business, I actually had a former colleague get in touch. He was trying to set up his own business, sort of a coaching kind of idea. He had loved theatre in the past and he’d been presenting stuff and performing. He had some great ideas for his business, but he was contemplating should he return to another full time role. I think there was a particular role on the table that came to him or that he was sort of tempted by it and so on. He said something that has stuck with me since then.
He said something like, “You’re the only one I know who has quit your job, quit Procter & Gamble,” which is where we’re both working, “and who hasn’t gone back to another full time job.” So you’re the only one who’s quit and who has stuck with it essentially. When I thought about it, it was really true, and I see it’s still now. I do know a lot of people who quit their job, had this business idea, had this big plan for what they do, whether it was a nongovernmental organisation, or sort of a charity, not for profit, something that they working on, or the next big product, a tech company or sort of consulting, whatever it might be, and unfortunately who gave up on that attempt to leave the nine to five and decided to return to a more conventional job.
It may have been that they found it harder than they expected.
The business didn’t take off as quickly as they’d hoped. They just didn’t see the results, and in many cases, they also missed the camaraderie. You know, we have this massive big team around ourselves, big organisation, big budget, big support of a big brand, and so on.
Now, I want to make it perfectly clear that’s choosing intentionally to take a nine to five job, a so-called nine to five job to return, it might feel like you’re taking a step back, but to go to a full time job, having decided that working for yourself is not for you. You didn’t enjoy it. You’ve given it your absolute best shot. You’ve done everything. You’ve got the support you needed. You’ve experimented, you’ve explored, you’ve really looked at it, you’ve worked hard, and you’ve really made an intellectual or, and/or I suppose, the emotional choice this is not the right thing for you. And on the other hand, the nine to five job is an incredible opportunity that excites you. It promises everything you’ve ever wanted. There’s a total step change to what you’re doing before. Different organisation, different seniority, super exciting. Then that is amazing. That’s not what we’re talking about here. That’s incredible. Good luck to you. And if that’s the right choice for you right now because of your family circumstances, your postponing the escape till later, right now, this is something that excites you.
This is why your gut is telling you to go, that’s fantastic. Go for it. That’s no way a failure, right? That is an incredible way of re-imagining success, rethinking. You do not have to be married to the idea of working for yourself, running you’re own business, escaping the nine to five if you find actually you know what, this is going to really work for me. There is no shame in that. It’s not something to apologise for. And once again, just as you don’t want to care about people judging you when you leave the nine to five, please don’t care about the people who judge you, if there are people who do so, when you returned to a nine to five. This is up to you, this is your definition of success, and it’s completely only you know the reasons why you wanted to escape in the first place and the reasons why you’re returning.
However, taking a role just because it happens to be available, someone sort of offered it to you, you feel a bit tempted, it’s always a great salary, and I feel a bit flattered, and it’s very difficult to say no to that kind of thing. Or you’ve been half-heartedly applying to something because just to fill the time, you didn’t really know what to do, or you’ve been in a sort of panic and been applying to jobs because, “Oh, my goodness, the money isn’t coming in. I probably need to have that as a backup plan, and so on.” Because you’re afraid of failing in your business and because you haven’t given yourself a real chance. That, to me, is heartbreaking.
We’re talking here about creating a sustainable escape plan.
Escaping is not just, “I quit. Ta-da! That’s it.” It is not creating a website, buying a domain name, setting up your business for I think it was 12 pounds with Company’s House or in the UK. It’s not printing fancy business cards. It’s not changing your LinkedIn. That’s not a sustainable escape plan. That is a massive decision, it’s a massive step in the right direction, but it is only the very first step. You’ve escaped or taken the first step at least to escape the confines of the corporate nine to five, but unless you make that an absolutely viable longterm proposition in terms of the business, unless you make it work for your personal circumstances, unless you enjoy it, it’s financially what you need and all these other things, then it’s not going to last. You’re going to be one of those heartbreaking cases of people who sort of go crawling back to a full time job.
And to be honest, it’ll be fine. Let’s be honest. You’ll get a lovely salary again, you’ll be back in your comfort zone, you’ll have nice work parties, and there’ll be lots of perks and you will have a great time. So you know, it’s not all bad. But I have a sneaky suspicion that you want more than that. If you do, then we want to really give you a fighting chance. And your business, you want to invest in it, you want to take it seriously, you want to give it a real go before you then again perhaps make an intentional choice to go in a different direction.
As reluctant as I am always to give very sort of black and white clear cut formulas, I do want to talk about five pillars, which based on my own experience, based on coaching clients over the last few years, interviewing people for my book, and a combination of what I do in terms of life coaching and more tangible business strategy and mentorship, I’ve identified these five pillars. Which actually, I’m loving at the moment, so I hope you agree, but they really coherently bringing together, synthesising a lot of different strands of what I’ve been working on in the business. I love how it brings together, again, the bigger vision, life coaching questions, addressing fears, and so on, on the one hand, with the business mentoring, branding, and so on, that I’ve been doing over the years, too.
Without further ado, the five pillars are the following.
surprise, surprise, number one is re-imagining success. This is all around choosing to step off that conveyor belt, begin to question those definitions of success that you may have inherited from school teachers, parents, society, TV, whatever it is. Let go of others’ expectations. Let go of those other people judging you, what other people think, and so on. And importantly, as I said at the beginning, considering those other areas of your life, and we’ll talk about those in the coming weeks. Re-imagining success is the absolute first foundational pillar for a sustainable escape plan. You have to have that vision ahead of you.
Now number two,
and this is also at the core of my concept, my brand is called One Step Outside, and it’s all about a step outside your comfort zone. The second pillar is getting out of your comfort zone. This is all around addressing those limiting beliefs you have, coming to terms with your fears, breaking them apart, looking at how you can build your confidence, challenging yourself, learning new skills, swirling your ego, and to be honest, accepting the little failures along the way as well. Getting out of your comfort zone is the second pillar.
Now, we get into more tangible, concrete business pieces, because we’re talking creating strong business foundations as a third pillar, so strong business foundations is the third pillar. This means choosing the right business model that is going to give you that freedom, flexibility, fulfilment that you’re after. Understanding your ideal client, knowing the problem you solve, packaging, pricing, all those things, right? So really, the foundational business strategy that you have to have in place in order for this business, if it is going to become a success or when it becomes a success, to give you what you want or need. That’s what’s going to make it sustainable from a business standpoint.
Number four is building a personal brand and platform.
Now, this is all around establishing your credibility and authority, growing your audience, creating content, attracting clients. This to be honest is something that’s going to be critical. Whether you are going to be running this business or another business in the future, whether you go back to another full time job, having that personal brand. You know, your business will change, evolve, you might even change your business completely. You may take a different job at a different company, but you are the constant, so your personal brand is going to stand you in good stead, whatever you choose to do in terms of career and business. So, building that brand and platform and not just having some little tactical and ways to get clients, but really sustainable means of attracting the right people to you and having that credibility and authority.
And number five is creating functioning work life integration.
Again, it has to work with, of course, your vision of success, but with the principles, the parameters, the criteria for you personally. You have to establish boundaries between your personal life and the business, your work. You have to have tools, systems in place to automate your work, to free up your time, perhaps a team outsourcing, and so on. This has to work as an integrated piece for all areas of your life, and it’s not just work. It has to work from the perspective, your health, your family, your partner, your children, and so on.
Again, I know I went through those quickly. If it’s the first time you’ve heard them, which it is because it’s the first time I talk about them, I want to go through and one more time. So number one, re-imagining success. Number two, getting out of your comfort zone. Number three, creating strong business foundations for building a personal brand and platform. And five, creating functioning work life integration. Now, if you’d like to learn more about these five pillars and if you’d like to fill in the gaps, maybe you have some of the elements, but some when I talk through these you thought, “Hang on a second, that’s really missing for me,” or, “That’s what I don’t have. That’s what’s making me maybe consider going back to full time job and so on now,” or, “That’s what making me not get the income I need for the business or I’m burning out because of this, that, and the other.”
So if you went to learn more about these, then join us, because we are going to be running another Escape Plan Workshop. Now, this is a five day, five session, five hourly sessions over in the Facebook group, the One Step Aside Facebook Group. Five live sessions. We’ll be going through these five pillars, digging into as much as we can in a week. So yes, it will be intense. It’s fun, but it is really intended to get you from thinking into action, taking action, making a massive leap forwards, and building your confidence, giving you lots to work on. Again, I’d love to invite you to this round of the Nine to Five Escape Plan. We’re starting on Sunday the 17th, so get your act together. Do join us over in the One Step Outside Facebook Group. We’ll get started on Sunday 17th. We’ll go on Monday 18th, Tuesday 19th, Wednesday 20th, and Thursday 21st. There will then be other live sessions afterwards with bonus content. We’re going live at eight o’clock UK time in the Facebook group.
Now, if you’re not on Facebook then let me know. You can contact me podcastatonestepaside.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, because I am going to do an extra very intense deep dive session for those of you who aren’t on Facebook. More than that to come. But do let me know. Again, you can email me at podcast at podcastatonestepaside.com. Let me know if you’re interested, but you’re not able to attend on Facebook. Again, inviting you to the next Nine to Five Escape Plan workshop happening just in a few days time, so do join us in the One Step Aside Facebook group. I’ll be going through these five pillars, and again, looking ahead to help you create a sustainable escape plan.
This is not a one time funny thing that you do. It’s not sort of a blip in your life. It’s not a crazy whim that then actually, oh, next year you’ll go back to the normal life to whatever and expect it. No, this is it. We’re in it for the long haul. We’re going to make this work. We’re going to invest time, energy, money in this new way of looking at success in your sustainable escape plan. So, join us in the Nine to Five Escape Plan and I look forward to seeing you there. It’s going to be a lot of fun, so see you on Sunday. Bye for now.
Connect with Anna:
If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:
Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation
Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall
Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com
Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5
Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate