There was recently a great article in USA Today (“Employees bid goodbye to corporate America”) that shared the stories of some Americans who are deciding to break away from the corporate world to start their own businesses. With the economy slow and many “safe” corporate jobs increasingly uncertain, the time might be right for you to make the same move.
I have a similar story. Before I decided to start a business full-time, I had a “secure” corporate job for a big financial services company. But I gradually became frustrated with the limitations of cubicle life. I wanted more freedom. I wanted to spend more time with my family. I wanted to see daylight every day. (My old cubicle did not have windows.) I didn’t want to ask permission to leave for lunch or to go on vacation. I wanted to truly be able to shape my destiny and design my schedule every day of my life. I wanted to do a more interesting variety of work, with a wider array of clients. (I wrote about all of this in my award-winning blog post, “Cubicles are the phone booths of the future.” Sorry for the shameless plug.)
I really related to this USA Today article because the author interviews several newly-minted entrepreneurs who left the confines of the cubicle behind, often for similar types of reasons as me. One was a 37-year-old technical writer who realized that his prospects for advancement at his company were too limited, so he set out as a freelancer. Despite the uncertainties and ups-and-downs, he succeeded in making a full-time income on his own terms. I can totally relate to this story. Life is too short to feel trapped in a dead end corporate job – even if it’s a high-paying dead end job, a dead end is still a dead end.
Another cubicle-dweller walked away from a successful corporate marketing career to start her own business in food and beverage branding and wine education. She says she’s much happier and healthier now that she’s away from the corporate grind, with plenty of lunchtime outings for yoga and pilates classes. She sees self-employment as a way to reinvent herself, and live a healthier, more fulfilling life with less stress and more control of her time. I can relate to these feelings as well. There have been times, when running my own business, where I’ve worked 12 and 14 hour days – but I’ve never resented a single minute of it, because my schedule is all up to me, and the profits all go to me and my family. On the whole, I feel a lower level of stress being self-employed than I felt at any of my previous jobs. The reason? When you’re self-employed, you are so much more in control of the things that happen to you. You can constantly adjust and seek out new opportunities. You don’t have to feel like you’re at the mercy of some upper level executive who can wipe out your job at a moment’s notice. When you’re self-employed, you can create your own safety net.
Another entrepreneurial 25-year-old married couple profiled in the article resigned from lucrative jobs paying over $100,000 a year to start their own non-profit organization, and they now spend their days building low-cost housing in Tijuana, Mexico. I’m not in the non-profit world, but I’ve found that the work I do now that I run my own business is much more meaningful. I have a new level of ownership and engagement with my work. Every new client, every project, every paycheck is truly “mine.”
Breaking away from “cubicle world” is a daunting prospect to many people, but it can be done! I am living proof. I used to be really afraid of quitting my job. I was afraid it would be too hard to get health insurance, too hard to save for retirement, too hard to find enough new business, too hard to take a day off. But the reality of self-employment has been far better – and even a little easier – than I had expected. I have never regretted it for a single minute, and I want to be self-employed, one way or another, for a very long time.
Have you ever dreamed of saying goodbye to your cubicle and starting a business? CorpNet can provide free tools, resources and guidance to help you incorporate a new business, choose a corporate structure and complete all the necessary business filings to make your dream come true!