I don’t remember when my fantasies of being self-employed first began to form, but I do remember them becoming strong enough after the shocking events on September 11, 2001 to get me to take action in that direction. I wrote about that experience in my book In the Magic Flow. My first step was really a leap of faith. Although I had some money in the bank, I had to trust in a Higher Power in order to leave my cushy high-paying job as a patent paralegal for a nation-wide law firm in order to step into the Unknown. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was already a warrior. I like to say, “I took a flying leap off a cliff with the hope that I would learn how to fly before I hit the ground.” But isn’t that what bird’s do?
In college, I majored in political science and economics with minors in history and international studies. I did well because I enjoyed it, but in the end, I didn’t work in that field, I went into law. The point is that my education taught me a lot, but it didn’t teach me how to be a successful entrepreneur. I used the method of groping in the dark. Two fundamentals of this “success method” are perseverance and risk-taking. In other words, you don’t necessarily need to know what to do in order to get started. Just do something! Anything!
The first risk I took was quitting my job. I’m not suggesting that should be everyone’s first step, but it was necessary for me because while I was working, commuting, and raising a child under five on my own, I simply didn’t have the time, energy, or brain cells left to put into self-employment. By saving money, then leaving my job and downsizing my life, I gave myself the space to explore. I gave myself the space to grope in the dark, which meant I gave myself the freedom to fail in order to learn.
I “failed” for about 3 years before I got my wheels on the track. But really, it wasn’t failure. I was putting myself through a 3-year degree program in the School of Hard Knocks. What I learned in those 3 years was essential to my eventual success.
So, I left my paralegal job 12 years ago. I spent 3 years in the School of Hard Knocks. Then 9 years ago, I began writing The Power of Manifestation which was the beginning of my career as a self-employed writer and workshop facilitator.
I’d made previous attempts to write a non-fiction book, but those were all false starts. How did I know this one would succeed? I didn’t. Just the simple fact of sitting down at my computer and beginning to write the book was a risk. But I took that risk; I persevered… and I succeeded. Then I took the risk of writing a proposal for a workshop to teach at Colorado Free University. I’d taken the risk before and failed, but I persevered, and this time I succeeded. That was seven and a half years ago that I started my first workshop at CFU.
Success wasn’t immediate. It’s only been in the last two years that I’ve been fully self-employed without any other source of income.
Being able to look back on the past 12 years and see how far I’ve come, even though I had no clue what I was doing when I left my paralegal job, I know that the sky’s the limit.
The Un-Job Fair at CFU on Saturday, May 31st will be the 12-year anniversary of my last day at the corporate law firm where I was a patent paralegal. I literally left that job on the last day of May 2002. Now, twelve years later, I’m a presenter at the Un-Job Fair, helping other people find their way to successful self-employment.
If I could only give you one piece of advice, it would be this: Be willing to take a risk… and persevere.
On May 31st, my 12-year anniversary, I will be so excited to take the first step on my second 12-year journey. I cannot wait to see what life will bring to me!
Are you ready to begin your own journey on the path of self-employment? If so, check out the Un-Job Fair on Saturday, May 31st. I look forward to seeing you there!