I’ve been to a number of events lately where I’m surrounded by people who are taking their income into their own hands. They’ve left the corporate world in exchange for making it on their own doing what they’ve always wanted to do.
I’m inspired to meet these like-minded people who also believe that job security is an oxymoron and that it’s up to them to decide how to make money.
It doesn’t matter how you started your new life, if you chose to leave your job, or if you were laid off, downsized, or outright fired.
What’s important is that while living the entrepreneurial life is exhilarating, it’s easy to slip back into the old ways of the gray cubicle existence.
With this in mind, I’ve listed a 12 step program to follow for complete corporate detoxification.
1. Dust Off Your Values
Now that you’re free from a job, what are your highest values? What are your priorities? What are the things you’ve been putting off because your time was already spoken for? When you were at your job, what was it you always thought about doing?
As you go forward in your new life, you’ll want to base it on what you hold most dear. For me, fun, freedom, and mobility rank among my highest values. So I’ve planned my life to make sure I maintain those values.
2. Create a Vision and a Plan
Now that you have your values lined up, create a vision of your dream life. How are you going to make money? Where are you going to live? Who’s with you? This vision becomes your motivation.
Now take your vision and create an action plan. How can you get to where you want to go? Who can help you? Having your dream and backing it up with massive action is the best way to kick start your new life.
3. Daily Schedule
This is one of the most important steps. When you had a job, most likely your schedule was more or less determined for you. You showed up to do the work handed down to you. Now it’s your turn to fill your day with meaningful activities.
This is a tuff step. You need to get rid of random web surfing & unfocused social media. Get rid of checking emails by the minute. Get rid of any work that isn’t 100% productive.
For me, I’ve recently discovered it’s easiest to work in what I call “power sessions”. I work really hard and really focused for 90 minutes at a time. Then I get up, move around, and maybe do a few push-ups. Map out your day (preferably the night before) into chunks of productive tasks that will get you closer to your goals.
4. Be Grateful
You started off your program by rediscovering your values. Now that you’re in the daily grind, you should start every day by taking time for gratitude. Be grateful you’re in business for yourself. Be grateful you get to see more of your family. Be grateful for the ability to generate income on your own. There’s a million things to be grateful for.
Being grateful puts you in a perfect mindset to push hard and achieve the things you want. Plus it helps keep things in perspective.
5. Sell, Sell, Sell
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in. If you’re making money on your own, you’re a salesperson. Your biggest job as an entrepreneur is to get paid. After being in the corporate world for years, there’s no better feeling you’ll have than getting paid for your efforts and it all goes to you!
Selling and bringing in money is the most important of the steps so far. Once you’re making money, then you can always readjust your priorities. An awesome vision with no money doesn’t really make the family too happy. Food on the table and a nice roof overhead is the best security and you do that by selling.
6. Hire Your Weaknesses
Procrastination is bad and nothing causes procrastination more than having to do something you don’t love or aren’t good at. The solution? Get someone else to do it!
Personally, I really don’t like bookkeeping and managing numbers. But guess what? My wife Heidi does! So we make a perfect team. Outsource everything you aren’t in love with doing.
If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.
7. Rediscover Meaningful Communication
Guess what? When you’re on your own, you don’t have to worry about office politics anymore! You get to choose exactly who you work with. You can choose to work with only your ideal clients or customers.
You can open up and really connect with people once again. You can deepen your relationships with your clients or customers by being who you really are.
8. Accountability Partner
It’s liberating to not have a boss anymore. High five! But now you need to keep yourself accountable. This is another vital habit to implement, especially if you’ve been answering to a boss for a long time.
You might think you don’t have to answer to anyone now and that’s true but you still need someone to help you stay on course for the things you’ve decided to do. I recommend a business coach or strategic partner. This person, or group, will only help you move forward and stay focused.
9. Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People
Similar to having an accountability partner is to make sure you’re spending time with other entrepreneurs and small business owners. It’s invigorating to connect with people who also share your values and are anxious to share their expertise with you.
There are lots of places to network both online and offline. Places like Meetup.com and Biznik.com even offer a combination of the two. Consider joining various in person networking events. Nothing beats the face to face time with other people.
10. Continual Education
You’re in business for yourself so it’s up to you to become the expert. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, there’s always room for continual learning. By becoming the expert in your field, you’re ensuring your own security and it opens doors to new ventures.
You can also take that expertise and put it online and hold live workshops. This will increase visibility for your business via education marketing. You can also start to charge more for your services or products as you achieve some notoriety.
Now that you’re in business for yourself, remember to take breaks and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I’ve been guilty of getting so involved in what I was doing that I let the whole day slip away without even leaving the computer. While this is great that your ideal work can be so consuming, remember to take breaks and enjoy being free to do so.
Working in 90 minute power sessions can help you do this. After each session, go outside and get a breath of fresh air. Go to the park with the kids. Do something physical or some quiet mediation and refocusing. This is a perfect time to remember to be grateful for your perfect life.
12. Keep the Faith
When things get a little challenging, it’s easy to start to lose faith. Maybe you haven’t made a sale or you just lost a key client. It’s in exactly these times that you need to increase your faith and know that something better is on the way.
Go back to the other steps. Strategize with your accountability partner. Outsource a heavy project. Be grateful. Get out and close more business. Keep your values close and act on them. Nothing is more important that continuing on the course you’ve determined.
Never look back.
Embrace your freedom and remember it frequently.
So there are the 12 steps to discover your new life and leave the corporate life behind. The steps are in chronological order but they’re also meant to be revisited at anytime. In fact, they are all synergistic.
I wish you the best of luck in your new journey. As a liberated entrepreneur myself, I can tell you, there’s no better way to living life!
What else do you think is vital for an entrepreneur to remember?