Two quick observations on starting out…

When asked about becoming an independent consultant, my business partner and I often share these two observations from our early days:

  1. We thought we would work 20 hours a week and get rich. Instead, it often seemed like we worked 20 hours a day just to make a living.
  2. We thought we’d find wealth and security. Instead, it often seemed like we were six weeks away from bankruptcy.

The latter is also a good personal test — if the fear of failure paralyzes you, probably best to stay with your day job. But if that fear gives you a little jolt of adrenaline… well, you’ve got “the itch”,  for which there are only two known cures.

Don’t despair – things eventually get better. When starting out, plan on working hard and even being scared at times. But isn’t that the lot in life for most entrepreneurs?

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2 Responses to “Two quick observations on starting out…”

  • Shawn Pitman says:

    One possible way to mitigate this problem is to make a name for yourself in your industry prior to leaving the (relative) safety of a 9 to 5. When my employer started forcing employees to take unpaid time off to save money, instead of taking an unemployment check I called around to other members of industry (not competitors of course) and offered to help them solve problems similar the same problems I had already solved.

    When I finally left my employer and moved to a new industry, I was able to leverage my experience and connections into valuable consulting jobs.

    If I decide to make a living off of consulting alone I’m hoping Ill be able to capitalize on these connections even more. I’m a motion control and mechatronics engineer, by the way.

    Thanks for writing a great blog, I’m a frequent reader and Twitter follower.

  • daryl says:

    Thanks for the comments, and the kind words on the blog.

    I certainly agree — it is far better to take action than to simply wait for the axe to fall. My business partner and I took the same approach. We ran our consultancy part time for nine years before finally going full time. By that time, we had worked out a lot of the kinks, and had a lot of good connections too. Frankly, we were surprised how well the start-up actually went.

    Best wishes — always appreciate hearing from a fellow engineer!

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