Career rethink #1: Your own enterprise

You’re mulling over what you’d do if you didn’t have to go back to your day job. These links should get you thinking outside the 9-5 box

Enterprise ideas

Dreaming up ideas of a DIY income? © Laura Eades 2014

During my maternity leave, my employer offered redundancy to anyone who wanted it. So of course I started to think: what would I do, if I could change? And since I was mainly breastfeeding, probing the internet on my iPad with a free hand was about all the action that I could take at that point. But I found wonderful, inspirational stuff. Here’s some of it.

Who’s it for? For someone with multiple skills or interests who wants to run a blog alongside their other ventures. This is perfect if you, say, were a chef in your twenties but now you want to focus on your yoga… voila, a yogic cookery blog!

Emily Wapnick’s ebook is about eliding your skills and interests to start creating an online following. It’s humourous and enthusiastic and practical, taking you right through the basics of beginning a business.

In going through the self-coaching process she outlines, you might identify a strength or an interest you never even gave yourself credit for, which could catapult you away from thinking in terms of ‘standard’ self-employed jobs and give you a really unique business idea instead.

Who’s it for? For someone who doesn’t know what job they’d like to do, but does know exactly how they’d spend their leisure time if they could afford it. Love being a parent and want lots of family time? Love travelling? Novelling? Tapestry?

Timothy Ferriss has written a galvanising book that says: If you want to have more fun, don’t be such an action addict. Stop filling your days with meaningless activity that feels (falsely) efficient and important. Work out what’s necessary to make money, and spend the rest of the time messing around in a boat in Thailand.

Ferriss explains how to set up a passive income stream  – he made his own money selling a nutritional supplement. Essentially, every single part of your business is outsourced, delegated and automated – in doing so, you pare down your work life to literally four hours. He takes you through the process of looking at your skillset and niche interests, through testing a market, and making a viable business.

Whether you plan to start a freedom business or one that you pour your heart and soul into, this book is a great paradigm-shifter. Don’t think: What would I like to do for a living? but, What would I like to do with my life?

Who’s it for? Someone who’s setting up their own business and wants practical help, goal-setting, accountability, ass-kicking and hopefully to quickly see some results.

In truth I haven’t sampled their wares. But they look very tasty, and you can do a 14-day trial for $1! So try it, and tell me about it! They’ve come onto my radar from two directions.

Firstly, one of the founders, Jonathan Mead, has a site called Paid to Exist – which is very aesthetically designed, and very ballsy and designed to give courage to your move away from a 9-5 you don’t like (“I got your back, partner”). They have a free Job Escape Backpack – I’ve enjoyed reading the power of his convictions that work should be something you wake up full of joy to do; an honour to serve the world; that in leaving your job and starting your own business you’d actually be joining a social revolution. It’s highly motivating (and really feels like an alluring adventure).

And secondly, via Twitter, where the two Playbook partners run a free 21-day Momentum Challenge – I sampled a couple of their tasks before and yes, if you did 21 days of that stuff your enterprise really would rock by the end of it.

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Have you read anything that’s really helped you rethink what work you could do, or formulate a business plan of your own? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Click on the pale grey dot under the blogpost to open up the comments section.

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Read more about Reworking Work on Illustrated Guide to Life: