Get Me Out of This Vortex Before I Drown


Dan Miller cautions a man who is wanting to be self-employed.

Here’s a 48 Days Podcast question that left me scratching my head:

I was once self-employed but have since taken a banking job in order to move back to my hometown. My passions are marketing, giving workshops, and blogging about entrepreneurism and all the resources available nowadays. I’m incredibly anxious to leave this “job” that sucks the life from me and join an organization, such as a non-profit, that could use my love of teaching entrepreneurial topics. I also want to work for myself—I have a website running and a book idea, but those won’t get me out of my current job as fast as I’d like. I’m desperate for meaningful work, Dan, and am curious if you had ideas about other types of companies to approach while I build my own thing? I love your work, Thanks.  –Brandon

I think I like your ultimate goal, but your interim plan presents too many contradictions to allow you to move forward with any confidence.  It reminded me of when I was driving in one of those roundabouts in England—somewhat confused because of driving on the left side of the road and trying to find a place to shoot out in any one direction.

Let’s see if we can work our way into and back out of this vortex:

You want to leave this life-sucking job because you want to work for yourself but you want to find another job that will pay you to teach about all the benefits of working for yourself while you’re not doing that yourself and you are desperate for meaningful work but you want to bury what you really want to do because you somehow aren’t ready yet and hopefully the company that will be giving you a paycheck each week won’t detect that your heart’s not really in working for them.

Wow. Please give us an exit point.  I’d suggest you just take a realistic look at where you are. There’s nothing wrong with taking a job if you recognize that as the most desirable option for you right now. Then the question is, what are your most marketable skills for working with a company?  But if your heart is in entrepreneurship it will be tough to find an organization to embrace that focus. If you want to be in your own business but don’t think you could survive outside of the safety of a job, it says one of two things. You don’t really think you are good enough for people in the open market to pay you, OR you aren’t willing to make the contacts to generate the work. In either case you are expecting to be subsidized by a “real” company to make up for your weakness. That’s okay, but be realistic about what’s happening.

I’d encourage you to stay where you are and get serious about building your own business through speaking, coaching, and writing. Get your income to at least 50% of what you’re being paid now and then make the transition out. What you’re describing here is a band-aid approach with no real winners.

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