I just finished reading Pamela Slim’s Escape from Cubicle Nation and I did not expect it to cause such a torrent of thoughts and ideas.
I’ve always felt that one of the most important enablers of quality of life is freedom.
Freedom to go where you want, freedom to do what you want, freedom to be yourself.
And that gaining control over your work life is one of the best options of getting there.
Everyone knows the traditional trade offs of working for yourself. High return (personally, professionally, often financially), high risk (you could fail and suffer financially).
I’ve always understood that it’s still not a path for everyone even if the costs/benefits say “GO.” Not everyone was born with the traits that allow one to deal with massive uncertainty and the ego blows of starting your own company. [On the latter, I mean some people can’t even handle an intermediary stage of “failure” ““ even if it’s not really failure but just a stage where you come across to most people as struggling or naÃ¯ve.] But for those that can handle the pain associated with starting a company, there has never been a better time to venture out on your own.
Escape from Cubicle Nation offers an important reminder that:
1. The risk side of the equation for venturing out on your own is much more favorable today, while the return side has remained equally attractive.
2. The quality of information today to help entrepreneurs go out on their own is at such a high level that this is a factor in itself.
Even putting aside the current economic depression, it is no longer a safe call working for someone else. Even before the economic crisis, half of the Fortune 500 were operating in rapidly changing environments where remaining a going concern in the medium term was no given. In other words, how many Fortune 500 companies TWO YEARS AGO would you have been crazy enough to be CEO of?
In addition, the “world is flat” concept applies equally to startups vs. stalwarts as it does to emerging markets vs. economic superpowers. Meaning it is a lot easier today to compete against large competitors. Not only has the information age equalized the playing field, there is greater opportunity to grab market share from the traditional “stalwarts” as they are more than ever distracted by being in survival mode.
To the second point above, you’re not going to find a better book out there to help you make the jump to working for yourself. Escape from Cubicle Nation walks you through the big picture considerations, and is therapeutic to the aspiring entrepreneur in this sense. Then it delivers all the guidance you need on the small steps required to build a business from scratch. On top of all this, it’s really a stimulating, enjoyable read.
And just by reading the book, you will walk away with five or so ideas that can be immediately implemented for your business, whether a start up or existing.
I’m excited overall about the growing movement of people wanting to take control over their lives; and how books like this are helping people make it happen.