Had enough? Is this the day when you resign, escape the corporate yoke and start out on your own? You’d better read this first…
I often get approached by people, young and old, telling me how much they want to be an entrepreneur. How they long to be their own boss. How they just can’t wait to resign from the corporate world and take the reins of their own business. How they want to hold their destiny in their own hands.
I admire these people and fully support their ambitions. I’d love to imagine a world full of entrepreneurs! It’d be “possibility here”, “possibility there”, “the sky’s the limit” type thinking that I’m sure could help transform the world.
But I’m not without reality. My blog this week is going out to anyone who feels to be on the verge of handing in their resignation letter. Just read this first.
I’m sitting in a meeting in Sydney’s CBD on Monday morning. It’s just after 10.00am and I’ve already been for a walk, checked my emails, had a two hour session with my coach, and made my way in to the city. We’re sitting there, laptop is out, my genius assistant next to me. A reminder comes up “Meeting with so and so, Collins Street, Melbourne”. I’d booked it on Sunday but forgot to tell her.
She sees the reminder (she sees everything) and whispers to me “Em, do you need to be in Melbourne?” and I say “Oh yeah! Sorry!” So she slides my laptop closer to her, logs on to an airline’s website, and surreptitiously books my flights. No one in the meeting is any the wiser and we both breathe a sigh of relief.
So $500 spent on flights and an hour later I leave the meeting, hail a cab, find two seconds to interrupt my mobile phone conversation to tell the taxi driver “Domestic airport please” and fall into the back of the cab. As I’m finishing my phone conversation I’m booting my laptop up. I check my emails, then the internet connection drops. Damn these tunnels. I reconnect. Back to emails.
Phone rings. It’s my marketing Chick. “You in Melbourne this afternoon now?” I tell her yes. She says “oh good, because now you’ll need to get the cab straight to Flinders Street. You’ve got a meeting there before your one on Collins”. Great. Have feeling that life is not my own. Back to emails. Phone rings. It’s my brother telling me I need to call our mum. Damn. I forgot. I keep forgetting. Put diary entry in my calendar “Call mum”. Wonder to myself if my assistant can fake my voice and do this. Maybe not. My mum knows everything.
I arrive at the airport. Straight to the check-in kiosk. How many bags to check? None of course. Can’t remember the last time I checked in a bag. Walk quickly to get a good spot in the security line. Shoes off. I know these ones will beep. Laptop out. Straight through, no beeps.
On the way to the gate I remember that I haven’t had a coffee yet. Walk to gate. Flight delayed by 10 minutes. I now have time for coffee. Find a seat near a power point (my battery will die mid-flight if I don’t re-charge it — not good for an entrepreneur who can’t possibly spend half an hour relaxing). Back to emails. Emails under control, I start a report that’s to be presented that evening at the meeting. Have I prepared it earlier? Of course not. Wouldn’t be me if it wasn’t fluked at the last minute.
Flight’s boarding. Nice young girl to my left, nice young man to my right. He gets up to let me in. Tells me I look stressed. Tell him I always look stressed. We do the obligatory polite thing; “What are you traveling for?” “Do you live in Sydney or Melbourne?” You know it. Spend the first part of the flight counseling him on how to get more clients and promise to introduce him to a friend of mine who can help. When it’s safe, I boot up my laptop, write the email to my friend, cc’ing the guy next to me. Done.
Arrive in Melbourne, check voicemail — only four to respond to, get in cab. Arrive at first meeting (just on time). Great meeting. Race to get cab. Second meeting. Race to airport. Arrive at the airport. Straight to the check-in kiosk.
How many bags to check? None of course. Walk quickly to get a good spot in the security line. Shoes off. These ones beep. Laptop out. Straight through, no beeps. Get on plane. Guy next to me runs electronic components business. Give him some ideas on how to promote his portable satellite navigation product. Laptop out. Respond to the emails I’ve missed that afternoon. Drink some water. Guy next to me tells me I look stressed. I tell him he should have seen me this morning.
Arrive in Sydney. Get in cab. Boot up laptop. A skype comes up. It’s my assistant. “Where are you?” she says (it’s 10.30pm by now). “In a cab on my way home,” I say. She says that my partner is waiting at the airport to surprise me. Damn. Get home, quick shower, fall into bed, and I’m asleep before my partner arrives home.
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I’m not sure if I’m typical, but all my friends who are entrepreneurs have the same stories to tell. So, if this sounds like the type of life you’re after, do it, do it! Hand in that resignation letter, and I’ll see you on the plane!
Emma Brown, at 27, has bought two businesses and sold one. She is Chief Chick of Business Chicks, Australia’s leading community for women. She’s on the board of Entrepreneurs Organisation, and lives in Sydney with her fellow entrepreneur partner.