November 16th 2012: this was the date which I decided that I would no longer work for someone else, and would instead become a full time ‘entrepreneur’ and concentrate on business ventures which had become increasingly attractive to me.
This decision was not taken lightly; I had a very nicely paid job as a business consultant which meant that I also was renting a nice one bed city centre flat. But after speaking with, and reading several works from, inspirational people, I decided that given how many hours a week in a lifetime we spend working, it is much better to be doing something you enjoy, rather than simply having your eyes on the ‘money prize’.
I went through my budgeting meticulously to see where and how I could cut costs and what savings I had to tide me over until the companies were launched. Given that I’ve had experience working in a global organisation within the HR department, as a manager of a charitable organisation and most recently as a french speaking business consultant, I hope that that may also help provide extra financial earnings, in the shape of short-term consultancy work.
There are also several ‘incubation’ schemes run in the UK, offering young people access to office space, mentors and investors, one of which I located and have had very positive feedback about joining in March. Similarly, I identified schemes to help with financial support for a social enterprise venture which should be launching in the next few weeks. After speaking with several more people, it seemed as though this was a risk worth taking given the amount of support available for young entrepreneurs, and how little responsibility I currently have in my life; no wife, mortgage, etc.
So since January, this has been my job. Being self-disciplined enough to be my own boss has been one of the hardest challenges, but now, thankfully, I’ve got into a good routine. I’m also working harder now than I ever have done, and this is certainly the scariest experience I’ve ever had; being so far out of my comfort zone and self-reliant. But I am firmly of the belief that if you do something you enjoy, you will work harder. If you work hard and are determined, the money will follow, and most importantly you will be happy.
It’s not been easy, as I mentioned, there is a huge fear factor, and it has been tempting to turn back, particularly considering that since making this decision I had been offered 2 jobs. But I had made my decision, and did not want to look back in several years’ time, and question what could have been had I taken the gamble.
I’ll continue to detail my ‘entrepreneurial voyage’ both through this blog and on twitter (@benpfsmith). And I hope that it will help inspire you, and allow you to learn from the positive and negative experiences I have along the way.
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