Please, Don’t Take The Plunge

American metaphors about entrepreneurship are pretty scary.

Take the plunge.

Go out on my own.

Freelance — that one’s actually medieval.

And, these metaphors mislead would-be entrepreneurs all the time. That’s because no one actually works for him or herself. If you have clients, you are running a business. You are not on your own. You work with and for them.

Entrepreneurship is not a one-way leap into the unknown — at least, not for successful entrepreneurs. One of the key indicators of success, according to the Kaufmann Foundation, which researches entrepreneurship, is carving out a niche in an industry that you already know — and that already knows you.

Soft-focus self-employment of the sort described in Photoshopped terms in glossy magazines is just as real as the models in the accompanying stock photos of business women (all in their suits, still, I see).  The real key to success is building on the insight, contacts, and experience you have in the industry where you are currently employed as a staffer.

But…how to lay out the stepping stones to transition from staff to entrepreneur? You can gain some direction for engineering this transition in my book, The Career Lattice.  But I found that people needed the strategies in the book translated to a recipe, as it were.

That recipe is presented in an in-depth workshop, “Building Your Career: Lattice From Staff to Freelance,” which will be held on Saturday, May 2, in New York at the annual conference of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. The same workshop will be held on June 10, 2015, at Interlochen, the arts college just south of Traverse City, MI.

Join us as we plot your transition from the cubicle farm to self-direction, flexible days, and career growth determined by the goals you set and the clients you win and keep. I look forward to meeting you!