You don’t always need buckets of money, or the courage of a lion, to start your own business. Plenty of successful entrepreneurs have started their businesses on a shoe-string budget, and launched new careers while combining salaried employment. Many have felt the fear and launched their business anyway.
I was in my mid-30’s, a single parent, holding down a steady job, when I started my first business, Worklife Solutions (worklifesolutions.co.nz). I was worried and fearful that I’d fail, but I did it anyway. It’s one of the most creative, joyful endeavours I’ve ever done. Since then I’ve created many more businesses and helped people all over the globe become successfully self-employed.
Like Lisa Conroy, who shares her story in my latest book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself, and other budding entrepreneurs who’ve taken a strategic route to finance their businesses.
It’s hard to believe that I was ever an employee, feeling trapped and miserable in a job that gave me zero flexibility, capped my income and shackled my independence.
My Mid Life Crisis
I know what it’s like to reach the middle of your life and yearn for something better, but wonder if you have what it takes to make it on your own. I was a single parent, with no one else to pay my mortgage. I wanted more time and freedom to balance child-care with my own desire to have control over my own destiny. And I wanted my income to be determined by my own efforts, not by the mood or whims or dictates of a boss. I wanted to be in control, riding the winds of fortune and navigating the fluctuating economic landscape.
More than that I wanted to rekindle my passion and creativity in both the workplace and home. And I wanted to make a living doing the work I felt born to do.
I was uncertain about how I could employ myself and create a business I’d love with such a passion, that one day I would say, “This isn’t work; this is fun.” But it did happen, and it can happen for you too.
I’m not a risk-taker. Not a reckless, foolishly optimistic one anyway. I was afraid like you might be. I doubted anyone would hire me, or that I could convince others to buy my products and services. I worried that if I severed the safety chord of a regular wage I may not be able to pay my mortgage.
I’d lost my confidence, and worse, I’d lost my self-esteem, trading in my health and happiness for the ‘security’ of a regular pay cheque. I had a mortgage to feed, and a daughter to support on my own, and so I boxed on. But I never gave up on my dream.
I started feeding my soul by reading books by, and about, inspired entrepreneurs. I subscribed to entrepreneurial magazines and devoured articles. (Back then podcasts and YouTube weren’t alive and streaming.) I drew up a list of benefits I felt I’d gain from being self-employed, and trained myself to focus my mind and heart on what I hoped for, not what I feared.
I calculated my hourly rate as an employee and quickly realised I could work less hours and earn more if I employed myself. The final push I needed to take the leap came when my friends, who were turning fifty, encouraged me to join them on a girls trip to Italy. My boss turned down my application to go on leave. “You’re needed here,” she scolded.
“I quit,” I replied. And I haven’t looked back.
Self Employed Bliss – Be Happy: Work With Passion
I have more freedom, work-life balance, creative control and autonomy, and greater work security as a self-employed worker. I get to choose the work I will or won’t do. I earn more than I did having my salary capped as an employee, but I love what I do with such a passion that I would do it for free. “That wasn’t work, that was fun,” I said to a client recently.
If you feel like I once did, wondering if being your own boss will ever happen for you, help is at hand. If you fear that if you leave a job you hate, you won’t be able to pay the bills, my latest book, Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself will help you start smart.
If you’ve bought into the mistaken belief that owning your own business will cost a bomb, or wreak havoc with your work-life balance, Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself will set you straight. If worrying about the taxman or legal stuff is putting you off starting a business, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Or perhaps you worry running your own business will be stressful. If so you’ll love the section, “Burnout Blitz.”
If you dream of being happy and working with passion and joy, I encourage you to consider taking a calculated and inspired leap into self employed bliss.
Self employment is an excellent option for Mid-lifers
While some employers may consider your age or wealth of experience to be a liability, that same experience is an asset when you are running your own show.
Prospective clients and customers care more about the value you can provide than they do about your age. And running your own business can also offer you the freedom, flexibility, purpose, and autonomy you crave. Plus, if you structure things right from the outset you’ll end up with more money in your wallet.
How To Become Self Employed
Could you do anything if you only knew what it was? For less than the cost of an expresso you can fast-track your way to clarity, happiness and success.
I wrote Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself for people like you who yearn for more freedom and autonomy and have ever thought, ‘I want to start my own business, but I don’t know what to do.’
Whether you are a start-up entrepreneur, or a businessperson looking for a fresh start Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself will help you make the right moves to choose and grow your small business with confidence.
This isn’t a quick-tips-start-your-business-tomorrow, follow-these-steps-in-this-exact-order kind of book. Simply put it’s based on my real-world experiences starting and growing many successful businesses, and the experiences of other people like you. Women and men in their mid-life who want to be their own boss; to live and work with passion—and still pay the bills!
‘To create meaningful music,’ Neil Diamond sings, ‘You have to look into your own life experiences.’ The same wisdom applies to employing yourself—to create a meaningful business turn to your life experiences and leverage off the things that have shaped you. Therein you will find your passion and purpose.
Like Barry Watson, whose bad boy behaviour and close shave with divorce led him to create a business helping others save their marriage. And Joy Gaisford who had no idea whether her business would be successful but followed her heart, and pursued her passion and natural talent for creating beauty in others people’s lives.
In Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself you’ll read about Dame Wendy Pye who was dumped from her job and, vowing to prove her former boss had made a huge mistake, went on to create her own multi-millionaire dollar publishing business.
Be inspired by Leigh Johnson. After establishing a successful recruitment business, and following a period of depression Leigh yearned to help others. She contacted me to help her define her brand and gain the skills she needed as a coach.“I want people to know how great they are already,” she says of her new mission.
“I give credit to Cassandra Gaisford (www.worklifesolutions.co.nz and www.cassandragaisford.com for helping me unclutter my thoughts and clear the way to make the decision to become a Well-being & Transition Coach,” she shares on her blog.
Fast-track Your Success
Read stories of entrepreneurial rejuvenation I share in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself and learn from people who have felt the fear and become self-employed anyway! Let love, inspiration and passion propel you forward.
“I felt especially inspired by the true accounts of people who beat the odds by starting a business and how they became successful. The variety of examples of entrepreneur stories given makes you realise that anything is possible with enough will and determination! Cassandra paves the way for you to have belief in your ideas and to run with them. This book will have you excited about the future, dreaming big and living boldly…” ~ Amazon review
Employ yourself! Live the entrepreneurial life and create a product and service so good that people will pay for it.
Mid-Life Career Rescue (Employ Yourself): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late, is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon: