Entrepreneurship has become a very glamorised word in the 21st century. With the rise of TV shows such as ‘My Super Sweet 16’ in the 2000’s where spoiled kids of super wealthy celebrities have outrageous birthday parties to the new space of instagram where everyone with a camera phone can exaggerate their lives to impress their followers. So many people lust for that picture perfect life they see on social media. You can literally pay for photoshoots on parked private jets to really impress all those people you don’t know.
For most it’s a nice dream that they have subconsciously convinced themselves is only possible for the lucky few. For others, such as myself, it’s a pursuit worth fighting for. Not for the reasons above (Lavish parties and private jets, although those things would be nice). It takes more than that to endure the process of becoming successful.
Imagine me showing you a Lamborghini and telling you that you can have this Lamborghini but… You have to build it.
Most people would say ‘no way!’. The time, discipline and focus that it would take to fulfil that task makes the car seem way less desirable. This is what I see success being for a lot of people: something that looks nice on the outside but is way too daunting of a task to actually take on.
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial itch. I remember my first venture was washing cars with my friends (never got to wash a Lamborghini unfortunately) and selling drinks for double the money at school, I grew up always trying to find some sort of way to make money.
After those care free years as a child making money to satisfy my simple desires for sweets and comic books I had to start thinking about my future. As most of us do, I saw the usual life structure all around me and it made sense: finish school, go to university, get a degree, find a job and live happily ever after. If only life was that simple.
In 1960 the average salary was £960 per year(around £21,925 in today’s value). The average cost of a home was £2,530 (approximately £55,784 in today’s value). This made it at least easier to save for a home on your average salary. Since then house prices have grown by a staggering 114%. Salaries have also increased, but not at a rate as the average cost of a home.
I finished university and started looking for a job. I realised that not all degrees are the same. In my case no one cared about what I learnt, they cared more about how I have applied it in the real world. They wanted to see my experience.
But how do you gain experience without anyone willing to give you a job?
Fast forward a few years of working in random jobs that had nothing to do with anything I was interested in. I managed to get myself a decent office job where my main tasks were data entry, emails and telephone calls.
On the weekends I would work on my side hustle and make a little bit of money which helped.
My side hustle began to grow and demand more of my time. I would work on it in the evenings and it became difficult to do both well at the same time. I had to sacrifice time on one side and focus on the other side. Eventually I had to make a decision.
I saw the potential of my side hustle. I knew that if I gave it more time I could make it into a sustainable, and even profitable business, but I was afraid.
I was afraid of losing the convenience that the 9 to 5 brings: the ability to have good days and bad days and still be guaranteed the same wage as long as I showed up, the ability to go home and shut down that part of my brain, watch Netflix and chill. I had to make a decision. Do I really want to build this Lamborghini?
As my energy and drive to show up for my 9 to 5 each day dwindled even further, my inbox got longer with emails I hadn’t responded to in weeks because I had client deadlines ((context)). It was time to make that executive decision. It was time I left the corporate world and take a risk.
I picked up my phone and looked at my mangers name for a minute. I opened up the resignation email I wrote a few weeks earlier in the event of needing to break glass. I held my breath and made the call. A small part of me hoped it would go to voicemail, it didn’t. He picked up with the same enthusiasm he always has and I had to explain my position. I put it down to personal problems as I felt like it was at that stage where it was affecting my personal life among other things.
He expressed his disappointment but understood and we hung up. I sat there for a minute not quite believing that I did it. It felt like I had been in an open cell and all I had to do was announce I was leaving, but I was too afraid of the unknown outside world to leave.
Here I was on the outside ready to take on the world — or was I?
Working in the corporate world is something I will never regret. It prepares you for entrepreneurship. It taught me invaluable tasks such as work ethic, communication skills, team building, problem solving and a lot of other skills that have helped me embark on my own journey with a confidence wouldn’t have had without it.
Quitting my job is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Now it’s up to me to wake up in the morning and go hunting for my food. If I slack then the results will match my energy at the end of the month and vice versa.
If you are trying to decide whether to quit your job to pursue your passion, I say go for it. Make sure you are ready for it and you have tried and tested what your next move is going to be. Once you have confirmed that, walk away with your head held high and remember…
Comfort is a nice place where nothing grows. It’s time to get uncomfortable.