Thursday, 16 July 2009

‘If You Don’t Want To Know The Score, Look Away Now’

I’ve done a couple of interviews recently about working for yourself and yesterday got asked the question ‘can anyone work for themselves’? Whilst I think most people have some entrepreneurial spirit in them (however small), it does take a certain personality-type to pull it off; it’s not for everyone. The fact is that I have seen some executives who are brilliant when they’re working in an organisation as part of a team with all that support infrastructure around them; but as soon as they go solo they’re no good at getting results by themselves – they can’t perform. Whilst you can delegate and outsource lots of tasks when you work for yourself, there are many things you can’t: so you have to be highly motivated and disciplined at getting stuff done.

Whatever the benefits of working for yourself - by yourself - (and there are plenty) there’s lots of challenges along the way and I think it’s important people have their eyes open before they take the leap.

Here’s an extract from my book 'Leap!' on this very subject:

"Let’s get the bad news about working for yourself out of the way now.
It’s going to be tough at times.
You’ll get lonely.
Cashflow can be difficult.
Getting sales is not easy.

So what’s going to make it easier?

- A support network of co-workers and mentors.
- A positive outlook.
- Friends and family who understand this is different, and offer support and encouragement.
- Clients and the promise of work
- A financial safety net for those lean months.
- A physical – and dedicated – workspace (not the corner of your bedroom).

What’s the journey like?

It’s like what I heard on the radio this morning in the bathroom, a lone round the world yachtsman talking about his current voyage. ‘What’s been the best thing about the trip?’ he was asked. ‘Freedom’ I mumbled to the mirror as I shaved. ‘Freedom’, replied the yachtsman. ‘And the worst?’

‘When you are in a gale and being blown against the rocks’, came the response.

And that’s what it’s like in the scrambled up world of work."

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