People Thought I was Crazy – But I Have my Vision

Update, 2nd October 2020: This was originally written in 2011, but the message is as relevant today as it was then. Especially so, because so many people are dealing with loss of jobs and income as a result of the pandemic.

Original article starts here:

I’ve been self employed for 18 months now and I love every minute of the independence it brings me.

Recently, I was contacted by a head hunter who was looking for someone to work for China’s ‘most used and largest internet service portal’ (at least, that’s what their website says).

When I told a couple of people, they were all ‘that’s great’, ‘that’s brilliant’ and so on.

Until I told them I’d declined.

They looked at me as if I was off my head.

‘Why’, I asked them, ‘would I want to go back into a corporate environment?’

I’d just escaped from one (well, 18 months ago) and I’d worked hard to build up the business I have.

Why would I throw all that away?

‘But the big company, the perks, the job security…’, they came back with.

I’m afraid not.

You see, the higher up you go in the corporate world the less certain your job security becomes.

A new CEO usually has their own ideas about who they want around them. And if it isn’t you, you’re out.

Plus, if you’re working for a big company they expect 100% focus. Understandably.

But that would have put me back to relying on a single source of income.

And, as anyone who is concerned with safety and resilience knows, having a single point of potential failure is not good.

Today I have 3 sources of income: Income from affiliate and internet marketing, income from website design and consultancy, and income from traditional management consultancy.

If one dries up I have two more to live off.

But if I’m fired from a single source of income I’m left with nothing.

And then there’s all the politics that big companies have, and the stress the politics cause.

No thank you.

I have a very clear vision for my future and it does not involve going back into a big corporate environment.

But they still looked at me as if I had a screw loose.

I shouldn’t be surprised, really.

We’re taught from young that the right thing to do, the responsible thing, is to go to school, get qualified, go to university and get a good, stable job.

Then you can settle down with a nice house in the suburbs and live a comfortable middle class life.

Until the next financial crisis arrives and you’re down-sized.

I think lots of corporate employees look at entrepreneurs, or self employed small-business owners, and feel stabs of envy. I know I did.

And if they come across someone like that, they’d rather see them fall into line (get a corporate job) than break free themselves.

So they impart messages of disapproval (implied or otherwise) when they get the chance.

But I’ve worked hard on developing multiple sources of income and, therefore, a fall-back in case one of them fails.

And I wasn’t about to give that up.

And the point is..?

I cannot over-emphasise the benefit of defining a vision for your life, whatever that may be, and then working towards it. And the same applies to your business.

Doing that has hugely improved the quality of my life.

It’s not without its risks – but nothing worthwhile ever is.

(And I did tell the head hunter that I’d be delighted to help them on a consultancy basis.)


Martin Malden

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