I hated my job. It's not that I didn't like the people there. I actually had a really good time. It's just that I didn't see any point in what I was doing.
I was either drawing slides for at least two weeks, making sure that everything was formatted correctly and that everybody's ass was covered.
Or I was stuck in daily conference calls where noone was taking any decisions. Same thing over and over again. Ok, I actually did some other stuff as well but that's all I can remember right now. I forgot about all the other stuff.
Oh yeah, I pitched at least ten ideas and none of them ever saw daylight (more on this later).
So at one point I couldn't take it anymore (and was too lazy to look for other opportunities inside the company) and quit my job. That was in the summer of 2013. Ever since I'm on the grind and doing what I'm doing.
Like writing stuff...
And as a matter of fact a lot of people started asking me all sorts of cool questions. One that pops up over and over again is the question about how to stop being an employee and start being an entrepreneur. How I did it and so on.
So I decided to write a more detailed answer to this question. Here you go:
# 1 Don't quit your job
This might sound a bit stupid. I know. Why the hell should you not quit your job if all you really want to do is to actually quit your job. And just two seconds ago (about three lines actually) I told you that I quit my job.
You're totally right. I quit my job. But only because I got #2 right. To be able to quit your job you need to make sure that you've done at least #2 of this list right. Well, actually all of the points I'm going to talk about are important. But #2 and #3 are really, really important.
# 2 Start saving money
I was able to quit my job because I saved almost all of my income over a period of two years. I knew that the job I had was only be a temporary thing. Something that would allow me to buy some freedom.
So I saved almost 70% of my after tax income (that's insane you don't need to save that much).
In case you want to know how to really invest in your future and create your own freedom, then you should check out this post right here.
# 3 Plant your seeds
This is probably one of the most important things to do while you're still working your corporate gig. You need to plant some seeds. If you don't plant any seeds at all you will always have to rely on someone paying you a salary.
Seeds can come in all different colors and shapes.
You can introduce a few people to increase your personal network's worth. You can help out some of your friends. You can start reading more books and so on. Here's a list of things you can do to start planting your seeds today.
The most important thing to remember is to start small. Every tree was once small. Every tree was once a seed. So start planting your seeds and see some of them grow into large trees or beautiful flowers.
Flowers that will allow you to buy yourself some freedom...
# 4 Learn how to sell
If you never sold anything in your life to a real human being go out and start it right now.
Go on Ebay and sell your old clothes. The only way to figure out how to sell stuff is by trial & error. Try to understand the human mind. What makes them buy things and what doesn't. Find the triggers.
Don't try to sell hyper mega complex products. Try to find easy products to sell. Simple products. Hell, go out and start selling orange juice.
Do it Richard Branson style. He started his career as an entrepreneur selling Christmas trees. And now he's flying to the moon. The moon, baby! THE FREAKING MOON!
Sell your stuff online and offline. Familiarize yourself with the metrics. Find out to how many people you need to talk to to sell one single product (usually >100 if you start off). There are just way too many people out there talking BS about starting and making it big.
People that never sold a single product to a real customer in their life. People that have no clue (I also don't have a clue. Well maybe a slight clue).
Don't be one of them. Be the sales guy. Be the guy that doesn't talk BS. Be be guy who knows. Be the guy who sells stuff.
# 5 Write every day
The art of writing that will help you to sell more products is called storytelling and even more precisely copywrighting. It's the art of selling the exact same product and one time you're able to sell it for $100, whereas the other time you might be able to sell it for $1000.
The only difference is the description you write. The story you tell. And you don't become a good storyteller over night. You become a good storyteller by writing every day. If you're a lazy bum like me you should at least try to write every second day or your writing will never get any better.
I guess you already know whom I'd recommend to learn how to tell stories, so I'm not going to recommend him again (ok I will: James Altucher).
Dan S. Kennedy is another guy who knows how to write copy that sells. Get his book The Ultimate Sales Letter. Take notes, write down his techniques, game plans, experiment with them and start selling more of your stuff online (in case you didn't notice that was a sales pitch right there).
# 6 Pitch internally
Working your corporate gig is actually like heaven. You can potentially talk to hundreds if not thousands of people. Everybody might know somebody that might be relevant to you. That you can pitch your idea to.
You might know someone that knows someone that knows someone that knows someone that knows someone that knows someone that can introduce you to someone you can pitch your idea to.
That's what I did at my corporate gig. I pitched at least ten ideas. All of them got rejected (of course).
But that didn't matter. It taught me how this world really works. You find that one connection that might make you an intro to that one guy that might love your idea. Well, mostly they don't but that doesn't really matter either.
At the end you'll get better at pitching and understand what your counterpart really wants to hear.
You'll become a pitch master. And that's a skill you really need as an entrepreneur. If you have the best product in the world but your pitching sucks, the only thing people will remember is the guy that sucked at pitching...
# 7 Network inside & outside your company
Don't just pitch ideas. Expand your nework. Meet new people inside and outside your company. Become a super networker. Be the guy. Be the guy others call if they have a problem. Get introduced to the guy, that one guy knows who that other guy knows who's a good friend of that one guy that the other guy you know, knows... You know?
# 8 Learn the damn platforms
Don't just talk about how your marketing strategy is going to look like. Stop talking about making social media campaigns, SEO wizardry and then this entire thing will go viral. This never ever works.
Learn how to operate all of these platforms you're constantly talking about. And most importantly stop just talking about it. Go out there, experiment with them, learn their differences and how you can really leverage them.
But even more importantly understand that none of them really works (especially not SEO)...
# 9 Build up a demand/follower base
While planting your seeds build up a follower base. People that love what you're doing. It doesn't matter whether or not you already have a product to sell. Use your follower base to experiment and see what works and what doesn't.
That's all I'm doing. That's what I'm doing right now. I'm writing, publishing, tweaking and sending out stuff to people to see how they like it. How they react to it. And then, sometimes I'm trying to sell them (you) a product.
Over time people will start to trust you. And once people trust you, they will give you honest feedback and the only limit there really is, is the sky.
So start building up the demand side. Hell, you don't even need a clear offer yet. You're going to figure it out while figuring out what your followers like. And then you give it to them...
# 10 Get your first paying customers
Once you built up your follower base (or your demand), interacted with them many times and they trust you it's time to start selling stuff to them.
It doesn't really matter whether you're selling them your product or someone else's product.
It's all about trust and figuring out what the metrics are. Whether or not they're buying at all. If it's worth it to put in all the effort of building a real product and quit your job.
And once you make enough money (or saved enough money) on the side you can do the final step.
You can take down that clown mask, quit your job and buy yourself some freedom...
P.S. In case you're interested in reading more on this subject here are two older posts I wrote a while ago that I highly recommend reading:
Feel free to also connect with me on Facebook here or on Twitter:@girard_yann
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