One of the first challenges you’ll face when you decide to work for yourself is coming to terms with the realization that you are now truly on your own.
Your days are no longer structured. You don’t have a boss or a manager. You don’t need to submit a vacation request or get a doctor’s note because you’re sick. You don’t have to ask permission to wrap up work early. Freedom!
You’ve also separated yourself from the crowd. Unless you’re running with a particularly entrepreneurial group of friends, there’s a good chance that most everyone you know is an employee who works for someone else. They have a day job. And you, now, do not.
What Your Friends Will Think When You Quit Your Job
Most everyone will think that you’re crazy. Basically. Or in need of some serious counselling. Or “going through a phase” that undoubtedly will and should pass in due time, and gee, they sure do hope you don’t ruin your life in the meantime.
In some respects, they’re not entirely wrong. It does seem a little crazy to give up a situation where you are guaranteed to receive money every two weeks just as long as you show up and do a good job. Hell, some jobs just require that you show up and not offend anyone. It’s a fairly simple formula really.
So why would anyone reject that? Why say no to a sure thing? Why become a solopreneur at all? Well you already know why. The frustration of being constrained by someone else’s rules and priorities, the desire to be your best self, the need to have an impact, the fear of becoming a mindless drone, the dismay of every day being the same as the last. And, freedom!
The problem is, your friends and family won’t see it that way. They may not experience the same hopes, fears, desires that you do. Or they may, but they lack the courage to act on them and can’t understand how you could possibly do so. Not that they would admit this to themselves. That’s not how fear works.
Change is different. Different is scary. Scary is wrong. Different must be wrong. Change must be wrong. What if you fail? What if you don’t? What does that mean for them?
What You Will Know That They Don’t Know
Every fear and negative belief that has stood in the way of your friends’ secret, unacknowledged dreams will be thrown at you as definitive proof that you’re crazy.
Sometimes it will be wrapped in the trappings of proffered wisdom and passive aggressive condescension. “You’re planning to start your own business?” “I’ve seen statistics on how many small businesses fail, it’s pretty scary, how do you know yours will succeed?”. The implication of course is that you are uninformed and unwise and impulsive, otherwise you wouldn’t consider such a crazy idea.
Luckily for you, your wise friend who has never had the courage to make the leap that you’ve just made, and has zero experience with what you’re about to do, can guide you back to the safe and sure path of biweekly pay-checks. Right. So you can be just like them. Because different is wrong.
But you have a secret weapon. You know what they have yet to discover. What they may never discover.
You know that you’re not 100% sure that you’ll succeed, because no one can ever be 100% sure of a future that has yet to reveal itself. But they too can’t really be 100% sure that their job will still exist five years from now.
You know that you don’t need guarantees, because you’re willing to face things as they come, and take on each obstacle at a time. You don’t need a boss or a manager to tell you how to do that or make those decisions for you.
You know that you’re passion and positivity will fuel you, and your work ethic and commitment will buoy you. You don’t need someone to tell you when to show up to get the job done.
You know that one failure doesn’t end you. It doesn’t define you. It gives you the resolve to do better next time. Because there will always be a next time.
And most importantly, you know that no one ever makes their dreams come true by not even daring to try.
What You Will Do That They Will Never Do
As much as we all want the people in our lives to support our dreams, sometimes they just can’t. That doesn’t mean that you should give up. People fear what they don’t understand. They envy that which they don’t believe they can ever have. And they disparage that which they envy.
These are observations, of course, not absolutes. But the point is to look beneath the surface. Consider some of the motivators before you accept your friends’ criticism as truth. Because the only truth you’ll find there is evidence of their fears and what’s been holding them back.
At the end of the day, the only person that needs to believe in your chosen path is you. Because the only person walking that path is you.