How to leave your job to start a business

how to leave your job to start a business

Last week, we did a mid-year review of our progress so far in 2018. For me, that meant committing to a publication date for my book, which I’ve now done, and I’ve announced the date across my social channels. The book, Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5: Stories from people who’ve done it (and how you can too), will be available on Amazon on Wednesday 3rd October 2018.

Publishing this book will be a personal achievement for me. I’ve always wanted to ‘be a writer’, and in the past years, this has really been taking shape. I already co-published a book with a friend and former colleague (How to Succeed in Your First Job) in 2016, and I’ve been publishing articles for several years now on websites like 99designs and Thrive, as well as working on more substantial writing projects for clients.

Having my own book, and being able to hold it in my hand, will be huge for me.

Why leaving the corporate 9 to 5?

Despite the massive achievement that this represents for me – and despite the fact that I know that the book will be an incredible resource for people – I’ve also come up against quite some internal resistance.

I left my corporate job back in 2013 and, since then, I’ve been writing about my own experiences, and coaching people through their own career transitions and setting up their businesses. Nevertheless, throughout that time, I’ve been reluctant to focus on the message that you should ‘quit your job!’

There are a few reasons for this.

One reason is that I am still that little ‘good girl’ who doesn’t want to get in trouble. (What will my old bosses and colleagues, and potential clients out there, think of me?) Another is that there are so many people on social media who are pushing that message with glamorous photo shoots and unrealistic promises around magical six-step systems to get you to six-figure businesses, and I just haven’t wanted to associate myself with that crowd.

Another reason still is that I’m really not trying to persuade people to quit their jobs! For me, it’s not so much about quitting to get away from something evil, as moving towards something amazing.

In publishing the book, I’m finally owning this message. To some extent, I’ve been doing that anyway – my coaching programme is called One Step Outside the 9 to 5, after all, and I’ve been writing those articles for years – but I think this will be a decisive ‘flag in the ground’ moment for me.

‘Something amazing’

So what is that ‘something amazing’ that I’m encouraging people to move towards?

Well, I always talk about creating more ‘freedom, flexibility and fulfilment’ – these are three words that come up, time and time again, when I’m working with clients or talking to friends. Freedom to make your own choices, flexibility to work according to your own schedule, and fulfilment in the types of projects you take on, as you do work that really feels meaningful to you and makes a positive impact in the world.

It’s about getting clear on what’s important to you, and then realigning your career and lifestyle to focus more on that. It often means that you have more time and energy for your friends and family – being present with your young children, or ageing parents. It can mean going on more adventures, taking more trips to new and exciting places; getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things.

And it’s about going after your biggest and most audacious dreams. Getting up on that Tedx stage. Creating a community. Publishing that book.

What’s the alternative?

For many of us, our role as full-time employee is all we’ve ever known. This ‘corporate 9 to 5’ basically involves working in a private corporation that’s primarily motivated by profit; sitting in an office all day, at your computer; reporting to a more senior manager (your boss); working more-or-less standard hours from Monday to Friday (which, of course, are much longer than the so-called ‘9 to 5’); and receiving a monthly salary plus benefits.

An alternative to that will effectively mean working in a different kind of company; not being tied to a stationary desk; being your own boss; working more flexible hours; and no longer receiving that monthly salary.

That creates quite a few different possibilities: you could change sector, keeping a lot of the parameters the same but finding a company whose mission you can really get behind; you could go freelance, so that you’re working on lots of different projects with a varied set of clients, and you can work from home and on your own time – as long as you’re delivering your results; you could launch your own business and have complete control and decision-making power over everything that you do; or you could create a portfolio career for yourself, which means some combination of these different alternatives.

What’s in the book?

The book, Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5, is not just about my own story, and my strategies and recommendations – although I have many! It’s a collection of 50 such stories, from people all around the world who have found the courage to create an alternative career and lifestyle for themselves.

The stories are arranged into these different categories – changing sector, freelancing, launching a business, and so on – and include personal insights on what sparked the decision to leave; the biggest challenges that each individual has come up against; where they got support; the best parts of their work and lifestyle now; and their specific tips and advice for others who want to do the same.

These are real stories. Honest and, yes, that much-hyped-but-still-important word: authentic. These amazing individuals are people just like you who have experienced some kind of trigger – sometimes, it’s redundancy or physical and mental burnout, while other times it’s a gradual realisation that there is a better way – and have taken steps to change the way they work. None of it has been easy and there’s no magic formula, sorry to disappoint you! But there are also no regrets.

Of course, I’ll also be including my own insights and guidance to help you really navigate through the different stories and make sure that you’re taking action in your own life towards leaving the corporate 9 to 5 – if that’s what you want to do.

So I’m putting my flag in the ground, I’m owning my message… and I can’t wait to share this book with you in the coming months!

Read more about the book here or find it directly on Amazon.


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