Have you ever considered quitting your corporate job and starting your own business?
Most of us have thought about it a little. But not as much as Steve Glaveski has. Steve’s the CEO and Co-founder of an innovation accelerator in Melbourne, Australia, and the author of a new book called Employee to Entrepreneur: How to Earn Your Freedom and Do Work that Matters.
I got a chance to chat with Steve this week on my podcast, which you can listen to above. In his book, he takes you through a host of things you’d want to do well if you were going to make that jump, like making sure the problem your product is made for hasn’t already been solved another way, developing a business model, and testing your idea.
But in our conversation, I asked him to focus on just one part of that: how to figure out if being an entrepreneur is right for you, which he says you should do by asking yourself why you think you want to do it. And he has 5 things you should consider in answering that question. He calls them the 5 Fs:
2) Financial independence
5) Family and Friends
You can hear our full discussion on the podcast. But here’s the section of his book where he covers some of that ground. . .
Are you miserably comfortable?
When tackling the question why, you must first ask what your why is right now. Why did you pick up this book? What triggered it? Was it a single spark or a series of triggers over an extended time that impelled you to explore alternatives to the familiar, ‘safe’ path? (Of course, there’s nothing safe about most notionally secure jobs anymore.)
It’s easy for us to get sucked into the matrix to grind out work, day after day, to look around at our colleagues, all similarly immersed, and conclude that, well, this must be the way it’s supposed to be. Mark Twain famously said, ‘Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, stop and reflect’. So many people resign themselves to the false belief that work isn’t supposed to be something they enjoy, without really taking the time to reflect on what would truly make them happy and fulfilled in their work, or whether those two words can usefully be paired to begin with.
Every few months I perform a sanity check to assess whether I need to make any changes to the kind of work I’m doing or how I’m doing it. Here I’ve found the ‘5 Fs’ offer a helpful guide.
Having the freedom to take on the projects you want to take on, to explore what you want to explore, to express yourself as you want to, to work wherever you want and to work with and for people you respect — who inspire you to new heights.
2. FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
We all want to do work we love, but we need to survive as well. You won’t necessarily want to build the next billion-dollar unicorn. Your goal may be a lifestyle business that simply allows you to live a comfortable life, a position that ensures you are not a slave to someone or something else and are free to contribute to causes greater than yourself.
Dan Price, CEO of payments company Gravity, made headlines when he raised the company’s minimum wage to US$70,000. He did so after reading a study conducted by Nobel Prize – winning economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman, which found that emotional wellbeing rises with income up to about US$75,000 a year, after which the law of diminishing returns kicks in and other non-monetary factors become more important (don’t ask me why he stopped at $70,000).
So how much money do you really need to be happy?
Are you doing work that matters, that makes a difference, that gets you out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step? Does your work make you feel excited about taking on the challenges of the day, because you know the pain and struggle is worth it? At day’s end, do you feel proud of your accomplishment and the contribution you have made to the world?
Here I refer to fitness of both body and mind. Fitness has been a mainstay throughout my life. You have a much better chance of achieving the previous three Fs if you have a solid foundation of health and fitness. Success will mean little if you’re physically sluggish, unhealthy and emotionally unstable.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
‘You have power over your mind, not external events,’ wrote Marcus Aurelius in his journals. ‘Realise this and you will find strength.’ We all have choices in how we respond to and interpret the things that happen to us. To manage our emotions, we should align our responses with the person we want to be.
5. FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Finally, if you’ve managed to achieve everything on this list but find yourself with no time for socialising and spending time with family and friends, then perhaps you are over-investing in work.
Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a Story, Parenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.
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