Confession: Most mornings I want to throw my alarm clock out of the window and return to which ever country I was visiting at the time before I was so rudely awakened. OK, let me stop. That was a false confession. In actuality, I don’t even have an alarm clock. My alarm is set through my phone and I wouldn’t dare throw that anywhere. It holds my life. However, the fact that such a small device has so much power makes me a little envious. That phone has more control over me that I have over myself. How so? That thing has my most treasured memories in videos and pics as well as my connections to my loved ones via phone calls, texts, and even emails. It also holds my appointments, my ideas, my rhymes (yes, I still write hip-hop lyrics on occasion), and my most personal thoughts. If this tiny device can have so much control over me and my actions, how come I can’t have as much control over myself?
What would control over myself look like? What would it feel like? See, I believe control over yourself comes in the form of autonomy. (Doc, don’t start using words that we don’t understand). Autonomy basically means having the freedom to do what you want. In that vein, entrepreneurship comes to mind. I believe that most people aspire to be entrepreneurs; yet, the realization of that aspiration is seldom pursued. We dream these lofty dreams, but end up settling on a job that pays little money with little to no benefits or we get a career that may pay well with plenty perks. Whatever our employment situations are, we often get stuck right there. We still wish for those lofty dreams, but complacency settles in and we decide not to go for the unknown due to fear. Is that fear of failure or fear of success?
I can’t knock anyone for not chasing that dream by leaping on faith. I find myself there in that same boat with you. See, I have always wanted to help others. I’ve done that for almost two decades through social work, through teaching, through counseling, and also through life coaching. Because I want to do so much, I’ve held all of those positions simultaneously at times. However, my ultimate goal is to be able to just write everyday on topics of life lessons and speak at an event at least once a month to a place where I’d have to travel. I’d still be helping others. I’d still be teaching. I’d still be coaching. Even though this is what I do, I don’t write full time because I have a full-time job and part-time jobs. Why? I need the money. If I don’t work, we don’t eat or have a place to live. However, sometimes I wonder what would happen if I suddenly lost all my sources of income. Would we really go hungry? Would we really become homeless? I don’t think so. I think that would just increase my hustle to become an income producing entrepreneur. See, I’ve learned that most successful entrepreneurs started their companies after they lost their stable employment. That hunger was the catalyst for their action.
I asked some friends what would need to happen in order for them to leave their complacency to pursue entrepreneurship and found the following:
This theme spoke the loudest. People would not want to give up the comfort of their stability for something they have no passion in pursuing. When you decide to leap for our own greatness, you want the leap to be meaningful. There is no way that I would risk not having a steady income to provide for my family to go panning for gold in California. If I found gold, which is probably very unlikely, it’s not of any interest to me. I’d grow frustrated and eventually give up fairly quickly because I have no passion for the activity and after realizing that I’m not able to gain anything that will help me to support myself or my family, I’d be out of there. We don’t need to drop everything for something we aren’t passionate about. There is no motivation behind that. Everyone has something that motivates them, drives them, embodies who they are. Once you have a passion that you identity and a way that you can live comfortably while pursuing that passion, there is no stopping you.
- Nest Egg (a plan to cover expenses)
Sometimes leaping with no money works out. Sometimes it goes terribly wrong. If you have people who depend on you for their needs, like a family; you especially want to have a plan to continue taking care of those responsibilities. If you are currently working, it may be beneficial to sit down and figure out a strategic plan that will allow you to meet your current needs and put some aside to cover your expenses while you chase your dream. Some people liquidate all of their assets to go into business to cover both their business and personal expenses until their business can take off. Some people get loans from lending institutions. Some people seek out friends, family, and even strangers to front them money as an investment. There are many options to cover your expenses if you plan properly and have a couple of back up plans.
- Business Plan/Knowledge of Skills
You may have been in a specific field for years and know the ends and outs. People come to you for advice, maybe even your boss. You are the “expert” so to speak. You know you have the skill set that would be key in having a business that is purely based on your passion. That’s all you need. No, everyone is not business minded. Everyone can’t manage a company or do marketing or identity the best talent to help grow your business, but there are always other people out there who are experts themselves who can help you. After you acknowledge your own skills, establish a business plan to visually see what you have and what is needed. Your business plan will guide your steps and help you to remain focused throughout the life of your business
4. Support/Legal Advice/Spiritual Base
Support is key in many aspects of life. Some people like to think that they have become successful on their own. That’s usually not true. While they may have done absolutely everything to make that business prosper, someone else did something to make that happen. There may have been a friend they vented to from time to time. There may have been a neighbor who watched the kids while that person ran to a start-up meeting or received training. Don’t forget the family member who read some draft emails before they were sent to prospective investors. All of these people served as a form of support. Establishing a support system early on can help alleviate stress. Knowing in advance who you can turn to in the time of need, crisis, or just to breathe can help you in your journey of autonomy.
So now that we’ve broken down some key elements that we need to take that leap of faith, are you ready to jump? No? I know, me either. I’m scared, but honestly I’m ready. I’ve prepared myself for entrepreneurship for years. As SpongeBob sings, “I’m ready! I’m ready! I’m ready!” I hope that you join me on my quest for autonomous freedom. The joy of being my boss is exciting and scary, yet I have the passion to help others, a financial back up plan to cover my expenses, a Hell of a skill set, and most of all I have you all to offer support along the way. I’m on the edge of the building ready to jump…with my parachute. Come join me. I’d be glad to have you.