Since the beginning of time, we have had this weird misconception that we are supposed to be working every day of our lives and that it should be a punishment. There are many people all over the world who work common 9 to 5 jobs and hating every second of it. Why do they do this? Because it has become part of the norm. It seems to be acceptable to just sit back, do what you are told, and retire at the age of 65 to enjoy long walks on the beach with your wife or husband.
I myself was in this boat long ago, but I made a decision that would change my life forever. I was tired of being stuck in the rat race and having to do what someone else wanted me to, and exhausted of making someone else rich. Fortunately, I left my job when I was very young and very impulsive, which is probably why I am the success I am today. I had no plan when I walked out of there – all I knew was that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and had no clue I was going to be starting a consulting business.
This was something that scared me, and I know that there are people reading this who might be feeling the same way as I did. It’s totally normal, but don’t ever doubt yourself, It took me a long time and loads of hard work to create a personal brand for myself; one that I loved and that I wanted to be. I had to make many sacrifices and I started out in a spare room in my parent’s house. After buckets full of blood, sweat and tears and the invaluable help of my coaches and mentors, I eventually reached my ultimate goal. Today, I own a consulting business and proud to say I am a consultant.
Being a consultant is much more than just paying salaries and owning your own company. You have a lot of freedom to do what you want, but with great power comes great responsibility. I would say that it is one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done in my life, and I do not regret anything that happened during the process or afterwards for one single second. The ride has been beautiful, and I know that it can be amazing for every single person reading this article who wishes to escape the confines of a daily 9 to 5 job.
The most important thing that you need to know is that you can’t just decide on a whim that you want to quit and start a consulting business. You need to know for sure that you want to be your own boss. There are a few important things that you have to think of before you pursue your dream. Things that will make the journey much more memorable and exciting.
Here are a few tips that I can give to those potential entrepreneurs who want to break the yokes of life once and for all to have their own consulting business:
Many people make entrepreneurship to be a very glamorous thing to do. The truth is that the image the super wealthy sell, is the end result. The beginning might not be so kosher at all. Yes, you are your own boss, and yes, you make all the rules, but you are not going to wake up after one day’s worth of work with billions of dollars around your room. Your ideas might not work out the way you want them to and you may need to modify it, or you might have to scrap it completely. Do research on what you might encounter during the first few months or even years.
Have you heard the saying: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” This was from Benjamin Franklin. Do you not take this lightly because having a business plan is the difference between failure and success in your consulting business. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy; make it simple and only include the critical things you will be taking action on right away.
Even if you do not have an idea yet, you need to be financially secured. You might not receive any income for a few months and you should make sure that you will be okay for those few unemployed months – especially if you have a family. Take a look at how much money you are currently contributing each month and budget accordingly. Give yourself an additional sum of money to work off in terms of your plan and your entrepreneurial venture. In order to make money, you have to spend money too.
There is a phrase in business that goes: ‘Never eat lunch alone’. Talk to as many people as you possibly can before you make the final decision on quitting your job. Ask consultants or even the founder or CEO at your current place of employment for advice and tips. Use the environment around you as part of your research. You will be surprised to see how many business owners are eager to help those who want to jump into the entrepreneurial pool.
While you are talking to people, do not let it stay at chit-chats about entrepreneurship. Allow yourself to network. Get involved in events that the company is hosting and use it as an opportunity to meet new people. Make sure you keep all the email addresses and phone numbers of the people you meet and work with, and be sure to add them to your social networks. You never know what they might mean to you in the long run. When you are doing this, remember to solidify meaningful relationships. Get to know them as people too. This will make it easier for you to get information out of them and ask for their help in the future.
Whether you hate your job or not, it is important that you quit in the right way. Do not make it difficult for yourself and burn the bridges with your former employer. Follow the right procedures and be honest when asked why you want to quit your job. Give your employer enough time to find a candidate. You never know, your first consulting client may be your current employer.
Mirna Bard has been a business development and digital strategy consultant for 10+ years to top brands as well as small businesses all over the globe. An entrepreneur and educator at heart, she launched Consult to Profit™ to teach aspiring consultants how to launch profitable and scalable consulting businesses, saving them time, money, and frustration in trying to figure it out themselves.