How to Start a Business While Working for Someone Else - Carrie Wilkerson

My notes of the Peak Work Performance Summit session with Carrie Wilkerson, author of the book The Barefoot Executive - The ultimate guide for being your own boss and achieving financial freedom:

Job security is a myth. The only person in a company that has job security is the owner, all the others are "optional". See recent examples: Enron, the banking sector, etc.

A side gig can be a great place to test the water out, maybe using your hobby as a starting point: e.g. teaching golf instead of playing golf. Dip your toe in with something part-time.

Concept of vocation-vacations, take some time off to explore something else that might be a career path.

Your passion is not always going to be monetizable.

Common mistakes:

  • Spending too much money: new computer, new software
  • Waiting until you are qualified enough, thinking you have to be certified: start with what you know, monetize that and learn as you earn. Stop delaying with other expenses and "need to do"
  • Chasing something because somebody else is doing it (e.g. being like Donald Trump, but he didn't start being that way himself)
  • Chasing something just because it's trendy. If that's not something you are attracted to, you won't enjoy it.

People overestimate what they can do in one year, and grossly underestimate what they can do in five years (Anthony Robbins quote, I've heard it with other time variants). You have to have a measure of patience.

Desperation is good for your plan, but desperation for survival can sometimes sink you.

Find a mastermind group, a group of similar-minded people working on similar aspirations. Working on your own can be very lonely, isolating. You can bounce ideas on others. It's important to be around business people, because other people will start to question or ridicule you. It's like a business support group.

Find a mentor/coach. It's not necessarily needed to pay money, you can also follow one specific person and read all their books, blogs. Don't expect coaches to rescue you, when you start blaming coaches, finding excuses, the problem is not them it's you. Ask for testimonials or to talk with past customers, if they're hesitant to pass that information along this is a red flag.

One concern that people about to start their side business have is that they don't have the expertise, that they won't be taken seriously. You have to realize that everybody is a fifth grader to somebody else, every fourth grader has a fifth grader they look up to. You are always going to have a bit more expertise than somebody else. You are not necessarily the expert in your field yet, but you are an expert to somebody. Other bigger experts are also often not relatable to (e.g. 8 y.o. looks up to the 11 y.o. about lacing their shoes instead of the 18 y.o.). You have to get over this issue, you have to quit second guessing. Oprah didn't start as Oprah.

Employees and business owners don't have the same priorities. Employees are much more reactive (responding to the emails that came overnight, doing what the boss wants them to do), while the business owners need to prioritize e.g. what do I need to work on first, what furthers revenue today, what furthers reputation today, what furthers growth today. You have to be in charge, nobody else will do that for you. Prioritize what is going to get you to your goals the fastest. What is your primary goal in your business today? Work on this thing first, quit acting as an employee. Don't use a mentor as a super-nanny to keep you accountable, at best a coach can be your guide, but you have to saddle up and take charge.

Review my other notes from the Peak Work Performance Summit.