Journeying From Cubical Nation to the You Economy

Posted on Posted in Learning, U-centered-ness

In the quest to take control of their lives and have a creative touch on the work they contribute, many people are marching toward self-employment in greater numbers than ever before.

That said, Economists are taking note, recently publishing in Success Magazine, the strong trend toward the You Economy, which serves to more efficiently align people with work that meets their needs for flexibility, fulfillment and control.

Given the technology available today, we are uniquely equipped to re-define the terms of employment and how we serve others with our skills and competencies.  The amount of flexibility and choice we have to earn a living is unprecedented, when compared to previous generations.

Although self-employment is rising, it can be a very scary and nebulous proposition, to the novice attempting to figure out how to cover their bills with self-employment income.  Given that I have now worked with a myriad of people on the journey to creating their own employment destinies, I wanted to share some of my insights on how to approach entrepreneurship as well as insights from Escape Cubical Nation by Pamela Slim, self-employment expert and Master Life Coach.

First, my insights:

  1. When preparing for entrepreneurship, make a financial plan to enable you to minimize your financial risk and mitigate financial stress. Starting a business requires building skills, a reputation, clientele, a network and an understanding of the driving profit centers of your business.  This takes time, a strong financial plan gives you the grace of time.
  2. Learn all you can about the business and develop your skills inside of it before you go “all in.” Every ounce of knowledge you have before you walk away from a full-time paycheck will reap pounds of profit.  Instead of spending hours learning and developing your business, you can step into revenue driving activities.
  3. Trial and Error is the name of the game. The benefit of full time employment is that you can try things and if they fail, you do not directly take the financial hit.  As an entrepreneur, you do.  That said, when something isn’t working, you must be willing to eat the sunk cost and move on to try things that will be more profitable.
  4. It will get easier in time. Making the shift to self-employment has a lot of growing pains.  It impacts every part of your life and challenges your self-worth, but also allows you to build it to proportions you never thought possible.  You will be given opportunity after opportunity, with time you will know which ones to follow and which to drop, with an increased sense of confidence.

Pamela Slim, author of Escape Cubical Nation shares a wonderful equation for identifying a business idea that works the best for you (as an individual), which I fully agree with after meeting with many entrepreneur hopefuls.

Natural passion +

Skill and competence +

Business model that delivers the life you want to live +

Solid business planning with well-defined market =

Likelihood of good business idea

What I really like about this formula is the “business model that delivers the life you want to live” portion.

As an entrepreneur, you get to choose the pace, pay and people you want to work with.  In order to have a viable business, you must make money, but you get to choose the lifestyle you want instead of it being dictated to you.

Pamela also offers great advice in the area of how to determine if your business will be financially feasible.

“Signs Your Business Idea Might be Feasible” 

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My key takeaways from the full list were:

  • Your target market is interested in what you are selling AND has the money to purchase it.

This sounds obvious, but in industries where you provide help to people in true need, they do not always have the money to pay you.  That is o.k. if you already have your financial needs met, but if not—you may want to find other paying work and help these people pro-bono.

  • You have a firm grasp of the financial metric of your business-absolutely imperative!
  • You welcome feedback and use it to continually improve your product or service.

If you choose to be an entrepreneur you will need to be your own marketing research guru.  Perhaps you love making candy skulls with intricate designs….but if no one is willing to pay you for hours upon hours of work to create these, you are not going to have a profitable business (no matter how in love with candy skulls you are).

Finally Pamela shares a list of “Signs Your Business Idea Might Be an Expensive Hobby”

My key takeaways from the full list were:

  • When someone challenges your idea you get defensive.  When you feel yourself wanting to overly debate the validity of your business, over and over again….it may be a sign that the “market” does not get it, hence will not pay for it.
  • You are unable to describe the true need this product or service might fill in the eyes of your customer.  People buy when they feel a deep need to satisfy a desire.  If you can’t articulate the desire and exactly how you fulfill it, you will have problems.
  • You view your venture as “all or nothing” and will only consider launching one business idea, regardless of feedback from others.  Entrepreneurship is not black or white, overnight success is extraordinarily rare.  Rather, success comes in time, through trial and error and pleased customers and referrals.

If you choose to pursue entrepreneurship, I promise it will be the adventure of a lifetime.  Along the way you will meet a cast of characters and learn more about your personal strengths, than ever before.  If you truly are interested in this path, I encourage you to read Escape Cubical Nation in full and reach out to others who have walked this path before you.