Are you really an expert in something — truly an expert? If so, maybe you’d be happier in business for yourself.
25 years ago, I made a break for it, and went into business for myself. I did well, and when I calculated my quarterly estimated taxes, I was surprised at how much I was making. But as an independent expert, cash flow was a problem, and, with the security of a young family in mind, I succumbed to the lure of the paycheck after less than a year.
There are always things that we are really good at — in my case they’re strategy and research, and thanks to the last three decades of being immersed in technology, public policy and regulation — I have a couple of specialties too.
I see so many of my colleagues and friends who are real experts walk right up to the edge of going independent but then don’t take the leap. That was me for the last 15 years at least. Well, it certainly helps to have a safety net, so here’s what you can do: Put aside 6 months of crazy-me-money, and if you are expert at what you do, there will be some clients who will take the leap with you. With a few clients that crazy-me money will stretch to at least a year. Plus if being independent is not right for you, you’ll know within six months — which gives you another few months to find a job — probably with one of those clients who took the risk with you.
Now back in business for myself again, I’m thankful to those clients who’ve taken the leap with me. I should have done this so long ago — like some of you said (sheepish grin). It’s working out really well this time, and I hope there’ll be more experts who jump in the pool with me — the water’s fine.