People dream of running their own business, of plunging into the unknown. What if you knew you couldn’t fail?
I’d always dreamed of running my own business, but in my early 30s I was still stuck working for a large corporate company. Deep down I knew I had entrepreneurial talent, but nagging self-doubt lingered.
At work I dreaded doing tasks just because that was the way they had to be done. I was frustrated working to someone else’s agenda, attending meetings that were so wasteful.
I earned a good salary but still didn’t feel it was even close to what I was worth. I worked with some amazing people and my role was very challenging (and stressful), but in many ways I didn’t really feel alive.
Every time I read an entrepreneurial story (and I read many) my brain would go into overdrive thinking about how I could do it better. I’m passionate about branding, marketing and customer service – all of which I wasn’t doing.
Then one uneventful day I made the decision to quit my job. It wasn’t that I “snapped”, but I did have a definite moment of clarity.
Some of my friends saw it as a big risk to leave behind the “cushy” corporate life, but I knew that staying would have been a bigger risk.
Over the next 12 months I researched lots of different business ideas. Looking back over that year, I now realise I spent far too much time researching businesses that were just not me. I’ve learned that if you have to convince yourself of a good idea, it’s not. Trust your gut.
Now in its second year, my online marketing company, CleverClicks, continues to grow, mainly by word of mouth. There isn’t a day when I regret my decision to start my own business. I believe so passionately in the power of the web to transform businesses that I would do the work for free. Well, almost.
Now that I’ve finally followed the advice of all those motivational books (write down your goals!), day-to-day motivation is not an issue. I have a short bullet-point business plan and a one-page “motivational manifesto”, which I carry with me everywhere.
For me, the real benefit comes from reading them every day, as the positive beliefs become permanent. The last line of my motivational manifesto reads, in large font: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”
My day generally starts with a coffee, The Financial Review and a read of my manifesto, after which I’m firing on all cylinders. Any negative moments usually occur on days of overwhelm when I’m not focused and I’m jumping from task to task. The trick is to recognise that these days are rare, don’t beat yourself up, and turn it around. I watch webinars and listen to podcasts because they’re easy to take in and they get me really psyched up.
Pinned above my computer is my favourite quote by time management guru Brian Tracy: “What is the single most important activity I can do right now?” When juggling multiple entrepreneurial hats, I remind myself that this is the variety I craved in my corporate job.
By Philip Shaw, director of Cleverclicks
Aug. 18, 2008