If you are stuck in a “normal” job and want to start a company, read this book!
This is the 37th book in the series Learning Together and Leading Together where we are going through the Personal MBA plan curated by Josh Kaufman. Our goal is to get through 99 books this year. Do we read the whole book? Nope. We digest the summary(s) of the book and I give my thoughts and you give your thoughts. Feel free to follow along and comment if you would like.
The best summary I found about The Goal was found here. That review is below and tweaked by myself.
If you want to read the blog behind the book go here.
Opening up to opportunities
Escape from Cubicle Nation starts at the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey: deciding what to do with your life. Slim spends several chapters discussing how to get in touch with what’s important to you. At times, this almost seems touchy-feely. Almost.
Even if you currently have no intentions to quit your job, Slim’s advice can help you protect yourself from future layoffs. She recommends:
- Developing a wide social network
- Investing in personal development
- Pursuing a small business on the side
Slim advocates a philosophy of “life first, business second”. By becoming clear about what you want from life, what your ideal life contains, you can craft an entrepreneurial vision that helps you to pursue this goal.
Slim says that it’s important to choose work you’re passionate about. She cites the “sweet spot” described by Jim Collins, which is the place these three sets of skills overlap:
- What people will pay you to do
- That for which you have great passion
- That which you are “genetically encoded” to do
It may take time to find that “something else”, but when you do, you’ll be ready to create a business plan.
The reality of entrepreneurship
“Hating your job intensely is not a business plan,” Slim writes in the book’s introduction.
Although I think it is a tremendous idea to work for yourself and live a life of happiness and financial success, I don’t believe that is possible to become an overnight sensation with a few magic techniques or systems.
Slim doesn’t candy coat things. While she encourages readers to pursue their dreams, she admits that the path is often difficult. She also offers “a few horror stories for good measure”, real-life examples of how things can go wrong. She wants her readers to escape from corporate environments, but she wants them to have realistic expectations.
Escape from Cubicle Nation also covers topics like:
- Drafting a business plan
- Building and using a social network
- Lifestyle design
- Developing a personal brand
There are a lot of buzzwords in that list, but Slim handles each topic thoughtfully, with examples that readers can relate to.
Make the money work
“Nothing will cause you more pain than ignoring the financial side of your business,” Slim writes. “Not horrible sales calls, crashed laptops, surly employees, or even bad press. When the financial side of your business is not working, life is miserable.”
To begin, however, your personal finances must be in order. Slim offers solid advice, and encourages readers to have realistic expectations about their financial situations.
There’s also a chapter on benefits for the self-employed, including health insurance.
Making the leap
It’s one thing to draw up a business plan and to embrace the idea of entrepreneurship, but it’s another thing to actually make the leap. It can be scary to quit a safe job to pursue the unknown. In the final section of her book, Slim offers advice for smoothing the transition.
First, she tells readers to expect resistance from the people they know. “You are crazy if you think you can convince all your friends and family that starting a business is a good idea,” Slim writes. She provides techniques for handling common questions, and she stresses the importance of open communication with your spouse or partner.
Finally, Slim provides some pointers for getting organized — and deciding when it’s time to leave your job, to escape from cubicle nation.
Life first, business second… I wish I could say that I have lived this way but I can’t. This statement alone has challenged me greatly. This doesn’t mean that the rest of the book didn’t but this statement probably more than any.
Priorities are a wonderful thing. Living by them is something totally different. When the 2 are aligned then you can move to other things.
I encourage you to pick up this book. Especially if you have ever wanted to start something.
If you need a hard copy of the book go here: [amazon_enhanced asin=”0425232840″ /]