Do you feel happy and satisfied at work?
If you answer ‘yes’ to the above then you are in the small minority that are.
According to a recent study by Lifetime, only 6% of us are completely happy at work.
For the rest, work is a chore…a source of misery. The study goes on to say that almost half said they regularly feel unhappy at work…even depressed.
And a staggering 66% say their job gives them little satisfaction BUT they would be content at work if they were self-employed.
So what stops them becoming self-employed?
Which I can totally understand.
I worked for corporate companies for the first 30 years of my career and I was always envious of those who left and set up their own business. Some decided to go into property maintenance, some opened bed & breakfasts and others started their own retail business.
Although I was envious I totally admired them. It wasn’t as if they just jumped ship from the corporate world into their new business journey. Many had been planning on their own business for years.
There was one guy who really jumps out in my memory.
He was an IT programmer. He wasn’t career minded. He did a good job but was happy to do a good days work for a fair wage. He did his hours and went home. He wasn’t interested in climbing the career ladder. He wasn’t interested in working long hours and being paid overtime.
He wasn’t interested in getting promoted.
I often wondered why.
Then one day I found out.
In his spare time he purchased houses and converted them into flats. Then rented them out, cheaply to students.
All his spare time was taken up maintaining the flats and looking after his tenants.
He purchased his first house, converted it into flats, and rented it out. The rent just about paid for all the loans and mortgages he had taken out in order to buy the house.
Within months, he re-mortgaged the first house to get a deposit on a second house. He converted the house into flats and gain rented them out.
He did this over and over again.
I am going back a few years – this was during the housing boom.
Then one day, he came into my office and resigned. “I’m retiring”, he said.
Guess how old he was?
29 years of age and retired.
He had purchased numerous houses in a very vibrant city during the housing boom.
He sold up and made almost £1m in profit.
I hear he now runs a little bed & breakfast in a seaside town – just for something to do.
Is he happy?
What do you think?
He does want he wants. He has the freedom. No boss.
He does exactly what the rest of us want to do – work for ourselves.
I loved my corporate career. I was in the 6% of those that were happy. I had lots of accountability and I was well paid. I had the company car, a big house, a mortgage, and private health insurance, a family.
I was tied into the corporate world.
BUT I loved my work. It wasn’t a chore. It wasn’t a source of misery.
Then the corporate world entered the time of downsizing and mergers and acquisitions.
I worked for companies that were taken over.
I worked for companies that merged with others.
Offices were shut.
Thousands were made redundant.
I must have survived at least 6 or 7 rounds of redundancies.
As a Manager, making people redundant is one of the hardest tasks to do. It is horrible.
The days of ‘job for life’ were over.
I thought, “I had to start my own plan of escape”.
One day, I would not survive the redundancy chop.
What would I do if I were made redundant?
I was used to a regular monthly check.
I was used to having the company car.
I had a mortgage and family.
I had to have a plan b.
I did try a few things on the side to boost my income like MLM, ebay buying and selling but they never worked. Not for me anyway.
I was always interested in finding other ways to make more money.
On day, I was talking to a friend and he said, “have you thought about making it on-line…selling your expertise?”
This was almost 5 years ago.
I knew nothing about working on-line, so I started doing some research.
I was quickly excited. There were sales pages for all sorts of products promising to make me a millionaire within months.
I needed to act fast but I was totally overwhelmed.
How are you supposed to follow the gurus when one tells you “You need a niche” and the next one says, “Build a list”? Another says, “Create and sell your own products”, and the next says, “Sell other peoples’ products”.
“Learn SEO and PPC…”
“Give away something for free…”
“Build a relationship with your customers…”
“Optimize your blog…”
“Content is king…write everyday…”
“Use the best keywords…”
Blah, blah, blah …
I decided to find myself a mentor. I did and he helped me, guided me.
I created my free giveaway, my first product and my first website and sales page.
I was on my way…I’m going to be rich!
I worked evenings and weekends.
I spent thousands of dollars on products and services.
As I say…that was 5 years ago.
Two years ago, I gave up the corporate world.
I was ready. I had created my products. I was selling my products.
I was at the time of my life when there was more to life than working your socks off each day. I had to give it a go.
So I did – I left the 9-5.
It took me 3 years of working evenings and weekends.
Three years of trying different things and making mistakes.
Jumping around from one way of making money on-line to another.
If someone says to you it is easy to make enough money on-line to live on, in a short space of time…don’t believe them.
It will take longer than a few months and don’t let fear stop you.
If you are working in the 9-5 world today but you want a way out…start your own plan b today.
Don’t wait until it is too late i.e. you are made redundant.
These questions may help:
What would you do tomorrow if you lost your job today?
What would be your financial situation?
How would you cope with such a situation?
What’s stopping you starting your 9-5 escape plan today?
Do you have a plan in place to escape the 9-5?
Please share your views in the comments below.
You may wish to check out my course that shows you the exact steps to build an on-line business.
Find out more details by going here: build your own on-line business
Most people on the course are using it to escape their own 9-5 world.
Just starting your 9-5 escape plan today will make you feel happier.
I’m curious how you stayed motivated during those three years, before leaving the corporate world?
By seeing small achievements. Each small achievement I made spurred me on.
Plus I was enjoying myself!
Dear Andrew –
A lot of people get frustrated in the corporate world because they are smarter than the boss. That always leads to trouble. Sometimes, it is hard to keep your mouth shut to keep your job.
I have never been comfortable in the 9-5 environment. I probably only did that a few times in my life.
One reason is to learn the business you are interested in forming.
I wanted to be a travel agent. It may be the most complicated in the world – because it is the world.
It is one thing to know geography. Knowing how to get people there efficiently is the rub.
I managed to get a job with the very best vacation and group travel agency in the city. For little pay.
When I left the owner told me he had no brains left because I had picked his clean.
I opened my own agency in the middle of a recession and it was profitable the first year. It went on to do over three million dollars a year. I sold it when I saw the Internet looming. At a profit.
I would advise anyone who wants to set up a business to work for the best to learn everything they can. Even at a very reduced salary.
There will be someone there to correct their mistakes.
And not on their own money.
Another inspiring story!
There are many different type of people in the world…including those that are happy to work the 9-5 all their life and those that are not.
I really thought I was going to be the former.
It’s an interesting thing, the fear that keeps us back. It took a move to another country to do it for me, the regular paycheck and good life I was enjoying made up for the 9 – 5 job. I enjoyed my job but not as much as what I do now which I love. Sure there are good days and bad days but I wouldn’t swap it for (almost) anything!
As you know after I left the 9-5, I was offered a short term contract to go back and do the 9-5 again. The contract was for 3 months and $1500 a day.
I turned it down!
This is my attitude as well. No job will make you happy, and no job will make you rich, so giving up most of your time to an employer in exchange for promotions is a horrible deal.. you’re better off doing the bare minimum, learning as much as you can, and then using your free time for a side project that can give you income while you sleep, and potentially give you the chance to quit the job in the future.
That is exactly the plan I took…it just took me 25 years to decide!
Super inspiration here for people who might need a nudge from their 9-5 to make their move into the online world.
I was let go from my job as a security officer. The shipping terminal where I worked went through massive downsizing. After kicking around for a few months my girlfriend suggested working online. After performing due diligence and selecting an opportunity I was set: after a bit of trial and error 🙂
I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing now for anything, because I’m free. I had to get used to the fact that a paycheck wasn’t waiting for me each Thursday but it took no time to get used to not having a boss breathing down my neck. Not having negative co-workers attempt to fill my mind with mental garbage. Not having to commute. Not having to toe the company line.
People who remain in jobs they dislike usually do so for “security.” As if “security” could exist in a universe of change.
When you’re ready to make the jump, you’ll know it. Do your research, find a helpful mentor and jump in with both feet. Make personal development a priority. If you take each step you will succeed as an online entrepreneur.
Thanks for sharing your inspirational story Andrew.
Thanks for sharing your story as well.
Sounds like you were straight into the deep end.
I had time to plan.
Not too sure which way is best!
I agree with the mentoring side. I’ve had quite a few now.
I liked the post Andrew. I know of an example here in the states of a young man who bought houses and turned them into graduate student apartments. It is about getting good advice though. That is what you are offering and there is no substitute for experience and success.
It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have no fear.
Thanks to you and your course Andrew I am not frustrated anymore with doing my online business. (will maybe once in awhile. lol)
I had the problem Corinne mentioned in her comment. I am humble, but I got a new boss in the corporate world and yes, I was smarter then her. That doesn’t go over to good with insure bosses.
I was lucky enough to have a hubby to hold me up until I figured out just what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Andrew is right it does take longer then a few months, but once you find the right person to mentor you it can work.
I have to agree with Andrew Plan B is always a good plan.
Thanks Andrew for reminders and being there for people.
Thanks for coming across and commenting.
Having family support is crucial and I’m glad you mentioed it.
My wife and family were and are very supportive.
My problem with the 66% statistic is it illustrates people are not very good at problem solving! To see self employment as a “happy solution” without looking at the skill set and personality required isn’t going to get you very far.
If someone is genuinely unhappy in their job, they need to look at why and take steps to resolve the problem. It may mean a change of job, it may be that this is the time to start a new business. But it may be that its time to talk to your manager and look at changes that need to be made. If you’re happier, you’re likely to be more productive, so it should be win win.
And yes I am happy in my job and have never been threatened with, let alone made redundant. But I’m sure there are more than 6% of us, if everyone is honest!
I think with a lot of people…”the grass is greener” springs to mind.
I agree…I’m sure some of the 66% would be unhappy no matter what they did. Some people are just born to be miserable!
I have never been happier than I am right now working for myself. 🙂
I feel the same!
It’s good to see that your plan B works well for you.
For me, it depends on how people will perceive things that will make them happy in life. It doesn’t matter if you’re employed or own a business as long as you love what you do. I admire those people who are not afraid to put up their own business and succeed.
I believe many people would still be unhappy no matter what they did…unless it was winning the lottery and watching TV all day!
It’s always nice to know there’s someone out there who understands. I just wasn’t cut out for the rat race, but figuring out how to make a living on my own terms is even tougher. Looks like I still have quite a ways to go. Thanks for the encouragement!
Starting your own business is tough. I think most people do not have the patience and determination to make it work.
That’s why ‘hype’ sells…unfortunately.
I totally agreed with Andrew, we need to have plan B. I never thought of leaving my 9 to 5 job, but i hope i can earn extra income from blogging.
I finally took the action to join Andrew’s blogging course, i am at week 8 now. I hope by end of this year, I will earn make consistent side income from my blog
…and I am pleased to have you on board.
It takes a little while to get momentum but once you do…it really starts to accelerate.
Andrew, your story sounds just like mine … and probably thousands of others’. Remember DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation)? I worked for them 22 years (74-96). Then came the time to unroll Plan B. As your post implies, the major things are to not get blinded by the gold (a golden cage is still a cage), always have a Plan B and focus on what YOU (truly) want, not what THEY want. The example of your IT programmer is as exemplary as it is inspirational. As is the example of Cormac McCarthy (the writer and member of the Mensa). His stated goal in life was to never work. See where that ultimately got him 🙂 Which speaks for another ingredient that’s instrumental to happiness: vision. I think your post is well written and will help readers overcome their fears and embrace hope, trust and faith instead.
I do remember DEC – I worked on them for quite a few years.
“8700 series” rings a bell in my head.
In those days I was a COBOL programmer.
I really enjoyed the DEC…ahhh the memories!
Inspiring message there Andrew, it’s so true that those days of job for life are truly gone. Usually in working a job, I’m usually content to get the paycheck but usually not inspired to go any further than that. You make a good point to really get your own financial house in order and actually be happy in building a business of your own. Truly liked this post.
Financially Elite Blog dot Com
It’s weird…I loved my job and I did rise up the career ladder…but there was something missing!
You are so right that this doesn’t happen over night. I’ve been working on it for over 3 years now, and my online business still needs a lot more work.
This was a plan D for me. I was laid off, started a business that failed, started working part-time as a tutor, and then started online. I also deliver pizza’s part-time right now to make ends meet and pay off some debts faster. Once the debt is gone, or my income rises to match what I’m making now without pizza delivery, I’m going to continue the job. It’s hard on my body because it’s so physical and I’m no spring chicken, and a 12-year-old could do it with little training. But it pays really well for so few hours a week. It has the advantage of spending a lot of time driving, so I use the time to listen to audio books. Pizza delivery was plan E.
I have 3 major irons in the fire for my income, so loss of one won’t hurt so bad.
My favorite thing is tutoring math and science. I’d love to be making enough online and tutoring so that if either disappears, I won’t financially suffer a big loss. Or I’d like to be able to tutor students who can’t afford me for free.
If I didn’t have to spend much time working, I would spend a lot more time reading and discussing it on my blog!
Sherri, couldn’t help notice your comment and nothing wrong with working an extra job to get where you are going. I worked as an asst. mgr at a pizza shop for about a year to help clear up some lingering debt.
Thanks for sharing your situation.
One of the biggest IM’ers around, Terry Dean started out a pizza delivery driver!
He is famous for making the transition.
This article is right up my alley! This is what I blog about every day.
Great for you to put in the effort needed to walk away from a “secure’ job. We are all lucky you did because you have an excellent resource here with your blog.
I am following in your footsteps and am willing to do whatever it takes to get out of my job and have control over my time.
You have a great blog!
What are your time plans? meaning when do you hope to get out of your job and do on-line work only?
My goal is to be out of my job by August of this year.
A more realistic goal is probably in 2012 though. I have a lot to learn and a lot to do, but my plan is to just keep at it.
By 2012 would be great (and any earlier a huge bonus!).
I like this article it gives me a point of view on how could I prepare my self in the future. Achievement doesn’t based if you are employed or self-employed as long as you love the things that you do. I think we should work hard and strive hard in order to be successful. Sometimes we need to take some risk before we commit success.
Working hard AND having a plan b…just in case!
It is a good story about the guy retiring at 29, but most people do not make money in real estate(even when economy was better), and there are very few who make it to the top. Starting your own business can make a person happier, but I know a lot of unhappy, self employed business people. Starting a business is not for everyone and some people are better of working 9-5. A person should start their own business not because they are unhappy at their job, but only if they have a good idea and they consistent enough to go through with it. And it also never hurts to have a plan b.
I’m sure there are many self employed business people who would say…I’d be happier if I were working 9-5!
For me…it is the plan b part that is the most important.
You just don’t know what is around the corner – it could be like having insurance.
People don’t like to risk and sometimes they want to play safe. One just has to stand up.
…and having a plan B would be a SAFE thing to do.
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think self employment would satisfy these people much more. I think its more of a “grass is always greener” kind of thing.
I think you are right in some cases.
Gosh I think that 29-year-old guy is so smart. Being self-employed is not for everyone because it takes sacrifice and some years are very lean, but it has a lot of up sides as well if that’s your true calling.
This most might motivate others to leave the comfort of the 9-5!
I agree – working for yourself is not for everyone.
They may think it is…but it won’t be.
Inspiring story! It’s so important to have a plan if what you’re doing isn’t satisfying. Too many of us stay stuck in our familiar rut for too long. To take a risk requires planning. Most of us aren’t built to just take a leap without knowing where we’re going to land.
I do see many people reducing the amount of risk by having a ‘bit on the side’. You know…starting their own business on the side while still working.
What an inspiring story, Andrew! Thanks for sharing. I’m in the process of building my own cyber empire. The difference is I don’t have a corporate job to leave.
Welll that sounds like the pressure is off?
Yes, and that is most likely to my disadvantage, because it’s easy to slack off when I’m not under pressure. Not to worry though! I’ve managed to get myself into enough obligations to have recreated a good deal of that pressure anyway. 😉
Yes – I can understand not having the pressure on is not a good thing either!
Self pressure…that’s the way to go!
Great post and I can highly relate to this! The time I left the corporate world I felt I wasn’t happy anymore and that I felt there’s something “more” I can do by myself than have them tell me what to do. Then I tried and found my way to expose myself more onto sports while it also led me build my first online business (selling Dragonboat paddles). This now tells me that life is really that challenging and you don’t have to just stick to what you get used to do day by day. We should always be open for changes and I would never look back again. Thanks that I prepared my Plan B early. Plus, great to know you’ve gone the right track too.
Your personal story is a great one. Many people would love to be able to do the same.
We have to take them by the hand and show them how…
I can’t tell you how much I relate to this! After working for a big box retailer for years, then getting laid off and expanding with my online businesses, I hit a brick wall after about a year. I had to figure out new and better ways to move forward, morph a bit and get on with it. Almost 10 years later, my husband and I have quite a thriving online business. It gets tedious sometimes and I miss people, but I definitely would not trade it! Thanks for sharing your story!
Thanks for sharing your story. Nice to hear your business is thriving. It must have taken a lot of hard work.
excellent post. I am researching the likelyhood nowadays to start a business without any money or upfront investment.