I’m in the process of taking some pretty big risks right now. Jumping out of the corporate rat race to become a self-employed media diva comes with it its fair share of risks. Setting up a new office, getting our first big contracts going, and drumming up new business; all of it has risk attached.

It’s scary, and although much of the time I know I’m doing the right thing, every now and again (like, this morning, at 3am, waking up out of a dead sleep), I jolt – “what the hell am I doing? Am I nuts, giving up security and a steady paycheque for something that may only last for 6 months?” It would be pretty easy to just chicken out altogether. It would be easier to just stay where I am, doing the same dreary writing jobs year after year, working for someone else the rest of my career, making okay money at it, but never really “making it”. That prospect makes me miserable.

Then, I think again, and promptly talk myself out of that line of thinking. My brilliant business partner calls it “outshouting the voices”. What that means is, when you find yourself talking negatively to yourself, or when you hear the voices of your nagging family member, friend, or colleague in your head (or in person, for that matter), saying things like “Oooo, that sounds risky” or “Wow, what are you going to do if the contracts don’t come in?” or, “Oh my, do you really think this is a good idea?” or any other negative, joy-killing rants and roars, you need to simply talk louder than those voices.

In your head, or out loud, it doesn’t matter. But shout. Scream, if you have to, to drown out the negative talk. Replace it with positive thoughts, like “I can’t wait until I can be my own boss full time”, or “We just rented a great office in a fabulous neigbourhood – our location is going to be very good for business.”, or “I have the finances in place right now to get me through the initial push. I shouldn’t be worried. The money will come if we continue to be passionate and work hard at it.” Okay, so you can probably tell that I’m still trying myself to outshout the voices in my own head. It’s a continuous process. It takes practice. But do it, and it gets easier every day.

So, the next time you take a risk, whether its changing the direction of your career, or just getting up the guts to introduce yourself to someone new at the next big event, just take a deep breath, and start shouting.

4 Responses

  1. Hey Suzy – I’m leaning ever so closely to doing something very similar. Both my wife and I have the skills to do great work, but our big problem is the loss of income we’ll ensue if we jump into freelancing. We’ve both been software developers for 10+ years and we each make nice salaries. It would be such an easy choice if we were both destitute again like we were when we started out.

    The curse of middle age?

  2. Everyone has their time and this is Suzy’s time. But it’s never too late to try…as long as it’s the time for you. And suey, gluey, it’s your time, baby! go for it! 🙂

  3. The biggest difficulty is your mindset.

    New entrepreneurs forget to stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like an employer. When we’ve been told all our lives to go to school and get a good paying – and it works – then it’s difficult to let go. I would cite this as the major reason why businesses fail within the first 3-years. It’s because the owners never stopped thinking like an employee.

    Suze, great job in making the leap. I congratulate you. Now, change your mindset so you can be successful in the long run.

  4. Leeza – That is excellent advice. I have been an employee for a long time and this is really a whole different mindset. But my partner and I are up to the challenge and I will heed this advice as we plow ahead.

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