The other day I was sitting in a cafe with an old friend who I knew was struggling with something, I wasn't sure what. Then she came out with this,
Friend: 'Lynn, I want to resign and start my own mediation business'
Me: 'Great, it's what you've wanted to do for a while.'
(This was a considered comment as I know this woman well, I know what she is capable of, I know how good she is at what she does.)
Friend: 'Yes, it is.
But the thing is, I'm scared.
You know, really scared.
I'm giving up a well-paid job, security, holiday pay-all that.
What if it all goes wrong?
What if I'm not successful?
I want to do this but I am so scared.
I don't think I have the nerve to jump.'
In 2000, I took a giant leap of faith (in myself) and became self-employed. I wasn't forced into this situation, I just decided that I wanted to do something completely different (I had been a successful magazine publisher).
I have a big well of creative stuff inside me and up to that point I had only let it drip over the dam.
Suddenly, I couldn't hold back the water any more so I jumped.
This is what I learned.
If you are out there feeling scared then this might help.
This is the thing. There are 3 key ingredients to becoming self-employed, to jumping, starting out on your own journey. With these in your back-pack you will surely succeed, if you doubt you have enough of any of them. Don't jump. Just don't go there. What are they?
Passion in bundles.
Passion that seeps from your very soul.
Because; 'passion is going to keep you going when things get tough'
And they will.
Some months you will wonder why you ever took this route:
-When you are down to your last few quid and the kids need a new pair of shoes.
-Or when despite all your best efforts a 'customer' complains about something you thought you had covered.
-Or when, even though you pushed every single dam boat out of the harbour to make something work and it still didn't.
'There will be days, maybe even weeks when you feel like you are on the losing side. But if you have that passion you will come through it.'
Why? Because you have another tool in your kit.
...from good friends and mentors...
Sit back, take a deep breath.
Have a cup of tea.
Go for a walk and think.
Talk to your mentor (find these people they will help you)
Most importantly, don't panic.
Think what you want to achieve and if the way that you have been approaching things isn't working do this:
Make a new plan.
Try something different.
Call some new people,
Do some research on your competitiors
Try a different approach, be bold
Because YOU can...
Tool number 3 in your kit.
BE ADAPTABLE, if something isn't working try something different, take it on the chin.
I know of another self-employed business man who was going through a rough time. No matter what he did he didn't get more customers, or they moaned or weren't happy. I could have told him a hundred times what he was doing wrong but he wouldn't listen. His customers just didn't know what they wanted. Right? Wrong. Give people what they want, give it to them in spades. Be there for them, make them feel special. You are doing this for them, right? And if they are happy with what you offer, you feel good.
So here is your essential back-pack for becoming self-employed
Passion ... and then some.
Empathy ... even when you don't feel like it.
Adaptability ... always.
If thats all packed and strapped to your back so tightly you will never drop it...
...and see what it feels like to fly!
good luck, Lynn
Found photographing in rain or shine for magazines and the like.
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