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Make The Break - Start your online business
by Michael Oksa
What You Need to Know to Stop Working for Someone Else and Start Living the Life You Want and Deserve
Have you ever had a bad day at work? So bad that you felt like you could just walk out the door, and never come back? Were you ready to tell your boss exactly what you thought? You've had enough! One question...
What stopped you?
• ...calm down before you had a chance to leave? • ...swear if it ever happened again, you would really do it then? • ...wonder what would really happen if you left? • ...wish you would win the lottery so you could fulfill your daydreams? • ...worry about what your co-workers would think?
Each one of those reasons seems logical enough, but dig deeper and you will find that the real reason you stayed was that you didn't have a better option.
In other words, those "valid reasons" were only excuses in disguise. If you only had a way out you would take it.
Hi there, my name is Michael Oksa and I worked in factories for years before making my exit. There were days when I felt the same way. The dingy gray surroundings were sucking the life out of me, and I was struggling for a way out of the daily grind. Fortunately, after a lot of trial and error, I was able to find the things that made it happen.
I'm not telling you any of this as a way of bragging. My intention is to give you hope. But, let's face it, hope is not enough. That's why I am also laying out a plan that you can follow. A way to go from working to make somebody else rich to making a living doing something you enjoy.
You have most likely spent many countless hours daydreaming about being your own boss, and having nobody else to answer to but yourself--doing what you want, when you want, how you want. Believe me, I get it.
In fact, I used to get somewhat amused at all of the different "be your own boss" books and websites I read. It always seemed as though they were written by people that were already at the top of the ladder. To be blunt, there wasn't even a ladder for me to climb at most of the places I worked.
Still, I did my best to glean as much useful information from them as possible and applied whatever I could. Yet, there was a bit of a disconnect because their backgrounds were so different from mine.
That being said, while this guide is coming from a blue collar perspective, it's principles apply to anybody looking to make the transition to finally breaking free.
So, what finally happened?
To put it simply, I reached my breaking point. I was fed up.
I had been working on a plan for a while, but my departure date was still several months away. As I was driving home one crisp and clear Friday afternoon in October, the same thought kept playing over and over...
"I'm not going back. I'm not going back"
Even though I had knots in my stomach, I couldn't make that voice go away.
In the long run it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. My sincerest wish is that this report will show you how to say goodbye to your boss forever. So one day you too can say:
"I'm not going back. I'm not going back"
Having certain thoughts go through your head is one thing, acting on them is another. You have to make a choice about whether to act on them or not. This can seem scary to a lot of people, and was the source of the knots in my stomach.
You make choices every day. Some require so little thought that you may not even be aware that you are really making a choice. Others require you to use massive amounts of brain power to reach a decision. These types of choices don't typically have a major impact on your life, especially in the short term.
Then there are the choices that have a long term impact on your life. When you think back to some of the things you've done and say to yourself, "If only I had kept taking piano lessons", or "I wish I would have tried harder in school", or "I shouldn't have listened to my friend's advice"; you have a good idea of how these types of choices assert their power over our lives.
The problem is that you don't know you have made a poor choice until it is too late to change it. That's why you start to second guess yourself after the fact. Right now you are at a point where you have to decide if working for yourself is a good choice.
The best I can do is share my experience and lay everything out step-by-step, but I can't make you do anything. The choice is always yours. So, now it is decision time.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to start living the life you have always wanted?
Don't just answer as a matter of reflex. Take some time to really think about it.
You may be lazy, or may lack motivation. Maybe you need somebody to tell you what to do, or enjoy the comfort of someone else deciding how much you earn.
Perhaps you just function better with a boss and a job. If so, that's okay, I'm letting you off the hook. You know yourself better than I do and the choice is yours. However, there may still be valuable information in this report that you or someone close to you can use.
What counts is that you make the right decision for you. Some of the steps you see here may make you a bit uncomfortable, at first. You may encounter road blocks along the way. The only way you will follow through with your plan is if you are willing to do whatever it takes.
That's why it's so important to be honest with yourself. At this point nobody else needs to know what you're contemplating. So go ahead and make your choice, regardless of what it is.
Great! You've made up your mind, so let's get started.
The first thing you need to do is make a list of what you can do, what you like to do and what skills are involved with each. Below each heading you can add possible ways you can think of to make money from them. Keep in mind that this is to give you ideas for your future options. It does not have to be perfect or thorough. You can add to, or make changes to it at any time.
Though yours will be different, here is a copy of the very first list I made.
What can I do?
A: Write. 1. Skills a. Writing in fluent English. b. Communicating ideas in writing. c. Good use of spelling and grammar. 2. Possibilities a. Articles b. E-books c. Reports d. Basic sales copy e. Blog posts f. AR series g. Proofreading
B: Advise. 1. Skills a. The ability to help others identify areas that need improvement. b. Communicating in a direct, tactful, and helpful way. c. Generating specific ideas to help reach goals. 2. Possibilities a. Success b. Business c. Ideas d. Mentor e. Partnering f. Teach others how to make money
C: Design. 1. Skills a. Using graphics programs. b. An 'eye' for what looks good. 2. Possibilities a. Logos b. Basic headers c. Basic websites d. Formatting e-books
What do I like?
Writing: Same skills as above. Humor: A sense of timing. Making people laugh. Music: Listening with a critical ear. Learning: Curiosity (really a skill?). Ability to process information. Working from home: Staying motivated. Organization. Reference books: (I did not come up with a skill for this one, but wanted to leave it here to show it is okay to write down anything) Movies: Identifying different film styles and techniques. Playing guitar: Practice. Ability to play. Reading: Comprehension. Knowing how to read effectively. Trivia: Memory system. Fast thinking.
Doing this exercise for the first time can be tricky. Some of your skills may be hard for you to identify, so ask trusted friends and family if you need more idea. because they are second nature to you. Eventually you will find a marketable skill, and marketable means potential income. What makes this exercise important is that it will help you to identify ways to make money by doing something you enjoy.
In the next steps you will discover how to make a plan for success.
Budget Your Time
Before you make the break you will have to develop a schedule. This may sound like a bad thing. After all, you want to be your own boss! Exactly. Keep in mind you won't have a boss to answer to, so it can be very easy to get sidetracked.
Having a schedule will help you stay on task. Any time you look at the clock you can refer to your schedule and see if you are doing what you need to do.
You are going to be your own boss, so guess what? You get to decide how many breaks you take, when to work on each task, when to start and when to quit. You get to decide how flexible it is.
Here is a sample of the first schedule I made when working from home.
6:00 -6:30: Check messages and reply as needed. 6:30 -7:30: Write. New projects. Projects for others. 7:30 -8:00: Morning break 8:00 -8:15: Check messages and reply as needed. 8:15 -9:15: Learn. Read. Research. 9:15 -9:30: Check messages and reply as needed. 9:30 -10:00: Write. 10:00 -11:00: Break/Errands/Fun 11:00 -12:00: Learn and/or develop new ideas. 12:00 -12:30: Lunch 12:30 -12:45: Check messages and reply as needed. 12:45 -1:45: Develop new websites. 1:45 -2:00: Check messages and reply as needed. 2:00 -2:30: Break 2:30 -3:30: Write (or until youngest gets home from school -shift remaining slots ahead as needed) 3:30 -4:15: Break 4:15 -4:30: Check messages. 4:30 -5:30: Learn. Read. Research. (Supper may happen in this block, if so shift others) 5:30 -6:30: Develop new ideas. Chat. Work on site. 6:30 -????: Done. May check messages and other 'fun' at this time.
At first glance that may seem like a long day, but it always went by quicker than any day working for someone else. Also, notice that there are 3 hours and 15 minutes of break time.
As you can see most of the tasks are repeated throughout the day. That was intentional. It can keep you from getting bored on any one thing. You may be just the opposite, in that you would rather work on one thing for a few hours and be done with it. Perfect! It's your schedule -you don't work for your schedule, your schedule works for you.
It is a good idea to have some built in flexibility in your schedule. Things always seem to happen when you work for yourself. Be prepared to move things around or change your overall schedule if needed. For many people, this type of flexibility is very liberating.
In fact, it was a major relief for me. Earlier I mentioned working in factories, but I didn't mention that I would get up at 3:00 or 3:30 in the morning! For me, starting my own day at 6:00AM was a break. That was then. Since then, I don't use an alarm clock to wake up, so my start time varies. I should also mention that my scheduled tasks and times have changed a lot and my "work" day has been shortened significantly.
That covers budgeting your time, now on to the topic of money.
Budget Your Income
You will be working from home so there will be no boss to go to for an advance, nor will there be an opportunity to work overtime whenever you need to. Generating your own income means you have to be extra careful in how your money is spent.
First, you have to draw up a household budget. You need to know your expenses, and how much you need to earn to cover them. Do this ahead of time.
You may not know what your work-at-home income is going to be from week to week. So how can you figure out what you will have available to spend? In this case you really can't. But there is still a way to determine how to allocate whatever income you receive. A percentage based budget is the answer.
With a percentage budget you do not use dollars, but rather percentages. Here is a simplified version to help you understand the concept.
50% -Reinvest in business 20% -Taxes 10% -Savings 10% -Charity 10% -Fun money
Let's say you get $60. You would then set aside $30 for your business, $12 for taxes, and $6 each for savings, charity and having fun.
This type of budget is the most flexible and will most likely change as your online business grows.
Balancing Work and Family
People that work for somebody else have an advantage over those who work from home: They have a clear distinction between the workplace and home. Being your own boss means your office will be in your home, and that can blur the lines between work and family.
It can be a difficult thing to try to keep your family at bay when you're working. After all, one of the main reasons people like to work at home for themselves is so they can spend more time with their family. However, you still have to make money, so don't feel guilty when you have to focus on work.
A good start is to schedule your day in a way that takes advantage of any time other people are out of the house. For example, if you have kids in school, try to do as much as you can while they are in school. Of course you would have to make adjustments once school is out.
You will have to make some ground rules for both you and your family to abide by. Let them know that when you're working, you are not to be disturbed. If you like, you can make a sign to hang on your door that lets other people in the house know when you are in work mode.
The tricky part is that they will always know you are close by. This can make it difficult for them to not come running to you for the smallest thing. You may have to keep reminding them that you are, indeed, working, but over time they will get the message.
There is a saying a lot of work-at-home people use: If it ain't broken or bleeding, then I don't want to know about it. You may not want to go to that extreme, but you will need to take a stand at some point.
However, there may be times when you need a break from work, and will welcome the intrusion. That's great! It's one of the best things about working from home. I used to get up and give my wife and kids a random hug during the day. Why? Because I could.
Despite your best intentions, there will always be sick days, family emergencies, home repairs, important phone calls, temptations, unexpected interruptions and anything else you can imagine.
All in all it is very possible to effectively work from home, but it will take a lot of self control and some training when it comes to showing those around you that just because you are home, doesn't mean you aren't working.
Making the Break
There will come a time when you know deep down that the time is right to leave your job. You may feel excited, anxious, or scared; but you will feel something. There are a few things you need to do, however, before walking out the door for good.
Talk it over: If you are married it is important to discuss this move with your spouse beforehand. The sooner you broach the subject the better. Don't be surprised if there are a few serious discussions. Your spouse may not understand, or may be concerned about the future. All of this is normal.
Show your spouse anything you have written down. This helps to show you are serious about working for yourself. Explain your plan in detail for the same reason. Ultimately, you should get as much support form your spouse as you can, even if they don't completely understand your plan.
Build up savings: Even the best plans will have setbacks along the way, more so during the beginning stages. Think of it this way, the more money you have in savings the more secure you will be during these setbacks. Three months of your current salary in a savings account is a good start. Do whatever you can to get to this point.
NOTE: If you have a retirement plan at work, you may be able to roll it over into a private account. Think of this money as untouchable. It is for retirement, and does not count toward your savings, but will be there for a real emergency.
Tell your boss: For me this was the hardest part, because I worked for my family. It is highly recommended that you give proper notice based on your company's policies. You may be entitled to severance pay, but only if you quit with proper notice. Talk to your boss face-to-face. This is not the kind of thing that should be handled through email or a telephone call. Remember, the worst that can happen is you will get fired from a job you no longer want.
Talk to human resources: Find out about any continuation of benefits, what will be put in your employment record, how to handle any current pay you have coming, and how to handle any pension or retirement savings.
This is something other work at home guides will not discuss. But it is always a possibility, so it's better to talk about than it is to pretend it will never happen. All in all, though, going back to work for somebody should not be taken lightly. Still, it's best to know how to handle it if it should happen.
You may come to a point when you really think working for yourself is too difficult. And it is, at times. The urge to be cradled in the security of a regular paycheck may seem like the best option, but is it really? Only you can decide that for yourself, but here are some things to think about first.
Will you go back to your previous employer? If so, do you think you will return in the same standing? Is it possible that you will feel, more than ever, that your boss has the upper hand or somehow "owns" you? After all, you are the one who couldn't make it work, and now you are crawling back. These are not judgmental questions, but rather ones you must answer honestly before you even think about returning to your former employer.
Will you get a part-time job? This may be okay for true emergencies. You would be able to choose any temporary job you like, along with the hours that fit your new schedule. Keep in mind that much part-time work can be quite menial. You will have to weigh the pros and cons based on your reasons for seeking part-time work.
If you choose part-time work to fill some gaps in your income, then set a goal for how much you would like to earn. Add enough to that goal to give yourself some extra cushion, then move on.
Are you willing to lose it all for a chance at true freedom? Your gut reaction to this question may be no. Dig a bit deeper and you may discover it is your best option. Being your own boss can be risky. Before deciding to work for someone else again, you have to ask yourself if you have really given making money on your own everything you got. Everything. Are you willing to lose? If so, delve into every corner of your psyche and see what you can do to keep being your own boss.
Things to Come
Your future lies ahead. You are the one who controls it. Hopefully you are at a point where being your own boss is now a reality. If not, that's okay. This guide is meant to be a useful tool to help make your dreams a reality.
If you have just made the break from a job, then I congratulate you. There is no way to express the deep feelings this can bring. A mix of excitement, fear, and freedom all in one is about as close of a description as possible. You have to experience it personally to really know.
There will be bumps on the road ahead. Plan ahead for some of the bad stuff that can happen, but do not dwell on it. Focus on the things you want and why you are doing this to get over the bumps when they happen. There are many stories of people being faced with a crisis right after making the break from their jobs. Those who decided to hang on have often went on to achieve even more than they thought possible.
You deserve to have the best future possible. Being your own boss gives you the freedom to make that happen.