There's a lot of hype around being part of the startup scene, going freelance, and having a super creative, achingly hip side gig. It can be easy to get grass is greener syndrome when all you're seeing is the seductive appeal of freedom and financial wins.
Two things to start with:
1. It ain't all beer and skittles - it can be, but for many people it's hustle and heartache
2. You don't have to work for yourself to be free or fulfilled
If you're pondering going it alone let me offer a few questions to sort your emotions from your intuition:
What's driving you?
Is it the pain of your current situation and the promise of a quick fix? A little envy that everyone is doing it?
Or the momentum of a grand idea and the dream of seeing it to fruition?
Are you running away or running towards?
Running away is not the best motivator for starting your own business. The most successful entrepreneurs and freelancers I know might have left a less than ideal situation but their real driver is the grand idea or vision. Without one, when times get tough and they often do since working for yourself is also an experience in working on yourself, they run out of steam.
Resilience is one of the key commonalities in successful founders of both micro and macro businesses. It's fed by commitment, drive and focus, not fear and keeping up with you know who.
So if your inner dialogue is all around I hate my f$%king boss, my clients are so difficult to deal with, I feel trapped in my life - sit tight and take the time to map out your ideal life. Get as detailed as you can, revel in the dream and wait for inspiration to hit before you quit.
If you're feeling the shit storm, it can be easy to think flee but that's rarely the best idea. You're acting from your more base emotions and what you really need to do is equalise.
Get away from the situation for a little while until your mental and emotional dust settles. Get some perspective, come back into your body. You know that phrase 'I was beside myself with worry?' Yep - get back into your body.
You may find fresh thinking that shows you a way you hadn't considered. You might realise you have more choices than you think and a simple tweak might be all that's needed. Not every answer needs to be as dramatic as the question.
Life will help you out
If you've had a quiet dream for a while and not acted upon it life will create opportunities for you to leave your safe little world behind by closing a door behind you. It might not always be pleasant but it'll be exactly what you need to create the space for the bigger and better stuff to come - think redundancy, being fired, illness, breaking up, the life changing adventure of becoming a parent. These windows are almost like divine timing for a fresh burst of energy, change and possibility if you're brave enough.
And if the inner you wants change and growth enough, life will keep putting pressure on the outer you to surrender and come along for the ride. If you're not listening, more and more doors will close behind you, so you might as well get with the program. Be kind to yourself, it's completely natural to be frightened, but soon you'll realise it's not necessary.
So how do I know if starting my own biz is right for me now?
Then it's not time yet, you're not aligned with a fantastic outcome if your thoughts are filled with worry and fear. Focus on reminding yourself that the nature of life is expansion, look for evidence in your life that all is well all the time and that worry and fear are just thoughts - they are NOTHING without the power we give them.
Ultimately what I'm saying holds for any challenging situation - RELAX and FEEL GOOD FIRST before you act.
The best path will reveal itself to you as soon as you quiet down, stop panicking and remember that life usually works out just fine. Whether you believe it or not, life is on your side and conspiring to deliver you what you want through the most amazingly complex web of synchronicities, opportunities and happy accidents.
All you need to do is trust and pay attention to where your curiosity and inspiration take you when you start from a platform of feeling good. Then you get high quality ideas that will lead you to a brighter future, rather than more of the same.
And did you notice I didn't say anything about talent, entrepreneurial spirit, or being a born risk taker? There are no barriers to entry other than the ones you put up.
Anyone can be successful in a solo biz or side gig, the only metric of making it and not is alignment (and whether you get off your backside or not).
Happy trails, Bec xx
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