As a fugitive of the cubicle nation I’ve learned a few interesting things. Some about myself and some about actually jumping ship and really trying to get things going. In fact, I don’t have much time today but this blog is an important part of my life and I don’t want it to go dark for too long.
So its about three months since I was officially “jumped” and the main thing I’ve learned is this – have your shit together, ducks in a row, and get ready because having little visibility into where the money is going to come from is a scary thing. Don’t let all these entrepreneurs tell you “oh yeah, just do it; shit or get off the pot; blah blah blah”. All crap. There is NOTHING impulsive about jumping ship and going it alone.
If you’re part of the cubicle nation you’ve most likely gotten extremely good at your job and that gives you confidence to “give it a try”. Recognize this – while you may be a genius in your field, you do NOT know everything you should to go it alone. Go into it with your eyes open and allow yourself to “know what you don’t know”. Business development, marketing, networking, tech services, administrative assistant, bookkeeper, customer support, legal secretary, etc…
Its not that you CAN’T do all this stuff, but just know that you’ll need to plan some time where you don’t have money (or assume you don’t) figure out how you’ll pull that off – assuming no income – and then when you’re OK with that you can go for it. Because what will happen is things will take longer then you think and you need to make sure you’re not rushed into bad decisions for your business just because of the uneasy feeling that “no visibility” gives you. In fact, you want to figure out everything I mentioned in the previous paragraph as a way to give yourself visibility into your business and the more visibility you have the better you’ll feel about the jump.
Next – you can’t get away from politics. Now granted, there are no office politics unless you want to count arguments over why the dogs haven’t been walked in a week and the potential of withholding of certain marital obligations as politics. But the politics that I’m talking about are around meeting new people, making a name for yourself, and building your business. I’m not big on politics and generally as a consultant, even early in building the business, I tell it like it is, turn down business that while I’m perfectly capable of doing the work, it doesn’t add to my “portfolio” if you will. Its a tricky thing breaking into new markets and its clear that there are “circles” everywhere you go. I’ve always known that and I’ve been ready for it. But its more important to understand that going into it then I would’ve thought before making the leap. So I think its important to communicate that out – You are not getting away from politics by escaping from the cubicle nation; you are just dealing with a different type of politics. So “how to gain friends and influence people” is still an important skill!!
OK, I have to run but I think I’ll be doing more and more around communicating my Cubicle Nation Fugitive experiences as they seem to be coming fast and furious and they are actually interesting as I learn from this.