Why were you inspired to do this?
I was so, so sick of my job, working for a big company as one of a hundred little cogs, making what seemed like proportionally smaller and smaller commission every year. Though I was working harder, I was definitely not getting as far ahead as I wanted, and I was losing out on time to relax, time with friends, and most importantly, my father was very ill. I needed a more flexible schedule. I earned my biggest commission yet and decided to strike out on my own.
What were 3 things you did to make this happen?
I put enough funds aside to cover 12 months' expenses. When you're starting your own venture, you never know how long it will be before you start driving revenue. Better to be covered than have to give up on your dream when you're thisclose to making it.
Enlisted the help of my mentor, Dick Getty, to help me plan my launch and to develop a client list with enough depth to make an instant impact. I couldn't have done it without his hard work and faith in me.
HIred a marketing consultant to put together a strategy for the first two years. It takes a long while to get noticed, so the best thing I could do was work with someone who had experience getting the word out about me. I also needed a plan that I could execute on my own, because with a lot of consultants, they'll tell you what to do but you have to actually be prepared to do it. It's all about execution when you're flying solo! If you have a solid plan, you're less likely to lose focus and get frustrated with the lack of structure.
How did you feel once you had accomplished this?
Once I earned my first 100 clients, I think I started to relax a little and enjoy what I was building. When you start a company, I don't think there's any way to know for sure what you're getting yourself into. I was mostly relieved that I wasn't going to be a big failure. Then I could focus on the level of success and control I'd always wanted.
Additional notes and tips:
Stay with your network! When you launch your own venture, it's so easy to lose your confidence around people who stay in the mainstream career path. They seem to have so much more credibility and you definitely have moments where you're willing to agree with the people who say you've gone off your rocker. But if you surround yourself with people who not only support you but also really do something tangible to help, you will never find yourself foundering when someone says, "So, what do *you* do?" I don't regret a moment of the struggle or uncertainty, and every year it gets better.