It took me about 12 months. From the moment I decided I wanted to be self employed, to the day I actually sat down at my desk as my own boss. 12 months of dreaming, telling myself that I’d be better off on my own than working for somebody else. Telling myself that there was no way I couldn’t make ends meet doing my own work.
Then, the day I finally sat down on my own, at my own desk, it hit me. I don’t have a paycheck coming into my account this Friday. I really need to freaking work now!
So, now it’s been 2 months since I started on my own, and I’ve learned a lot, come across new opportunities, so let me share a few points of what I’ve learned.
1. Structure and Goals Help Ensure Efficiency
Before becoming completely self employed, I had minimal time available to work on Blind Surprise. I would spend a couple hours at night, and time on the weekends, but that was all. So, in my mind, it seemed like there was endless work on the business. Once I started working full time on Blind Surprise, though, days would pass and I’d think “what the hell did I accomplish over the last 8 hours?”
So, I began the practice of starting each day by setting a list of goals I had to finish before ‘leaving the office.’ This helps me ensure focus, and structure my day properly. People envision running your own company to be chaotic, and frankly, that was the problem without structure. So much is going on, that you can seemingly accomplish nothing if you don’t structure your day a bit.
2. Your Skills from Previous Jobs are More Valuable Than You Think
No matter what your job is, or your previous job was, there’s only a very very small percent of the population that’s ever done that job. Which, in a sense, makes you a specialist in the field.
Quick story – prior to being self employed, by career was in call center management. I worked for a growing company, so played pretty much every roll, from floor manager, to client solutions manager, and I even had a project at one point where I lived in Belize for 3 months overseeing the building of a new call center. I literally managed the subcontractors building the center, recruited and hired the first wave of 35 agents and managers, and oversaw the implementation and training of the new accounts. Long story short, I know quite a bit about call centers.
But as I started to begin working on Blind Surprise, I certainly figured I was veering away from the call center industry. Until one day, I was sitting outside eating lunch, and somebody taps me on the shoulder – “excuse me, but do you know about call centers?” It ends up, I was wearing my shirt from my previous job, and ended up doing call center consulting work for this guy’s company. When I walked into his office and met with him, and spent some time in his center, I quickly realized how valuable my knowledge base brought to his business. And then, it occurred to me that there are hundreds of companies right in the area that need the same consulting assistance. And to think, I was trying to get away from the call center industry…
3. Just Because Something Comes Easily to You, Doesn’t Make it Easy
Another quick story. As word spread about my work on Blind Surprise, I started to receive various inquiries from people who needed help with ecommerce. Some were too small to really get excited about, but some I figured I would atleast consider. I met with a gentleman who had just received the rights to sell a product in the US market, but didn’t know where to start.
So, I told him that I’d get to work on helping him sell the product online, and we’d split the profits. So, I spend a day building the site, starting running some advertising and selling the product, and a few sales came in. Nothing to get real excited about, but it was a start.
A couple days later, I receive an email from my partner saying “Off the wall question-but the manufacturer of the product saw your website, and wants to buy the template. Any interest in selling it to him for his website?” I was pretty surprised, and of course said yes. Just because making the website was pretty easy for me, doesn’t mean anybody could go ahead and build it out. I ended up making a few grand off a body of work that took me a day or so, that I never would have thought to try and sell.
4. Going Back to a Cubicle Job Will Be…Near Impossible
Although it’s stressful not having a consistent paycheck, and frustrating to see my business go through difficult times, I’m enjoying this battle more than I thought I would. I’m not spending my days playing around on the beach wasting time (although I suppose I could) – I’m working many more hours than I previously was. Usually about 8AM – 11PM, with breaks for meals and gym (and maybe a game of office darts). Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to work at a young startup where I can really shine from my experience in Internet Marketing, Telemarketing, eCommerce, etc. If I really need to start bringing in some more cash, I assume I’ll end up bartending, or driving Uber. Who knows.
But the goal, for the time being, is to make this venture work. And I’ll keep the blog updated on my growth, successes, and failures along the way.