“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”
— Erin Hanson
One of the most common questions I get asked about my career is, “How did you get started?” Running my own boutique marketing consulting and career strategy firm for the past 9+ years has given me a lot of opportunities to answer that. The simple truth is that I decided to. Well, that, a lot of hard work, and asking myself powerful questions.
The first of those questions was one you might have heard before: What would I do without fear of failure? My answer – start my own marketing consulting business.
Up until that point, I had spent my entire 12-year corporate America career in marketing and had the privilege of working on amazing projects for the world’s most well-known brands. I loved marketing – a perfect marriage of art and science, satisfying both my music-playing, creative-writing right brain and my budget-loving, data-driven left brain. But somewhere along the line, I realized that I needed more. I wanted to deeply care about the projects I was working on, avoid the messy politics of big companies, and have more freedom and flexibility.
So, when the tech company I worked for decided to close the division I was a part of, I had two choices: find another corporate job or start my own business. I decided on the latter. I started my marketing consulting firm and focused on brand strategy and marketing communications strategy, working with nonprofits, small businesses, and startups doing good in the world.
That was in 2011 and I have never looked back. I didn’t know it then, but now realize that as soon as I made the clear decision to try my hand at solopreneurship, the universe conspired to make it a reality. People came into my life who gave me great advice and book recommendations, a friend offered to design a logo, another friend built a website, and I started telling everyone I knew.
I had my first client before my corporate job ended. Since then, I’ve done the work both personally and professionally to serve my clients powerfully and recently started helping others do the same. From brand strategy to helping others launch their own solopreneur businesses, the journey has been challenging, rewarding, and life-giving.
So, if there is something you’re passionate about that you want to do full-time – a skill you’ve been honing in your day job or the thing you’ve been doing as a side hustle – you have to start with the clarity and determination to decide you want to make it happen.
That decision is going to fire up the reticular activating system (RAS) in your brain – the same thing that causes you to suddenly notice dozens of the same car you just decided to buy. Your mind will actually begin scanning the world to find resources to get started and people who can help.
Then start doing one small thing every day towards your new goal. Here are some ideas:
- Do a brain dump about why you want to leave your day job
- Use a guided meditation to figure out your unique genius or spiritual vision (I call this your soul boomerang)
- Journal about the kind of lifestyle you really want
- Determine how your new business will impact others
- Define your ideal client or target audience
- Tell the people closest to you about this new business idea
Taking action in a small way every day can snowball into 365 days of making a dream your reality.
I know working for yourself can feel daunting and unattainable, but you don’t have to wait for your company to shut its doors to follow your dream. Listen to your gut, do the thing you feel called to do, and serve the world in the way only you uniquely can.
P.S. For a free checklist of the 20 things you should do before starting your own business, visit rachelkgroup.com/checklist.