As the new year kicks in, you may be asking yourself, “Can I leave my job this year? Could I make it on my own?”
You’re not alone.
How many people out there are in a 9-5 job and just not happy, unable to get the job they want but unwilling to take a job they’ve been offered?
How many might not inherently want to be entrepreneurs, but have invaluable talent and experience that they can use to make money and pay the bills?
And how many are ready to start advocating for themselves in a way they never had to before?
If entrepreneurs are known to run a business by the seats of their pants, people who didn’t intend to be entrepreneurs don’t even have pants.
And maybe you.
After I was laid off almost exactly 10 years ago (December 2008, not such a good time for our economy), I started a small marketing consultancy called Twist, with no formal business training or experience. But I had a passion to do what I love and help people. I’ve sometimes barely survived, but mostly I’ve prospered. And I wrote a book that became a #1 bestseller on Amazon called The Worst Business Model in the World. It’s a very human and approachable, non-business-y book, written for people I call UDOTs, which is an acronym for Us Doing Our Thing and pronounced “Yu-daht.”
UDOTs work for ourselves instead of working for the (Wo)Man. We do what we’re good at and are passionate about. However, we’re pretty unenthusiastic about—and sometimes incompetent at—the more technical aspects of doing what we love, things like business development, finance, administration, and legal responsibilities.
Does this sound like you? How then can you succeed out there on your own? Start here:
1. Trust yourself. Even in the face of debilitating doubt, it’s important for UDOTS to have ass-kicking confidence in what we bring to every opportunity and have faith that how we do what we do is the right way to do it. When it works—and it will work—you’ll have evidence that you can use in the future to remind yourself that you’ve succeeded in the past. It’s crucial to constantly remind yourself of your specialness and the value that you bring to the world. Don’t think you’re lucky to get work. Think that whoever hires you is lucky to have you.
2. Trust the World. The world wants you to succeed. You can choose to believe it or not, but if you do, it’s much more likely to come true. Regardless of how we imagine them or what we call them, UDOTS have to believe that there are forces at play beyond our control, waiting to help tip things in our favor. Again, if you don’t believe this, it’s less likely to happen. Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram says, “The world runs on luck. It’s just a matter if what you do with it.” You don’t know what’s going to happen. The world doesn’t know either. Believe the world’s on your side and it’s a lot more likely to be something good.
3. Be the First You. When I started writing The Worst Business Model in the World, I told a smart and trusted friend that my book would be kind of a Godin/Gladwell combo. She said, “Why not make it a Schuman original?” That book, that song, that code or system, those documents, those words and ideas— they’re yours. They came from inside of you and that gives them credibility, meaning, and depth. Don’t worry about becoming the next whoever. Focus on becoming the first you.
Can you leave your job this year? Yes you can. Trust yourself, trust the world, and be the first you. I hope these three important factors that helped me succeed as a UDOT help you too.