For people who decide to start their own business, here is a tip which might be hard to swallow: Don't worry about the money. That will take care of itself if you bring energy and passion to the table every day.
Focus on doing something that you are passionate about. Do something that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning as opposed to dreading the idea of commuting to the cubicle.
When I started my consulting business in January 2009, it seemed liked a bold move, particularly considering the world looked like it was going to be mired in a long economic downturn.
Even though I had previously worked for three Internet startups, heading out on my own struck me as a completely different situation: no weekly pay cheque, no benefits and no guarantee that customers would want to buy the services I was selling.
In hindsight, it was the best move I've ever made professionally. My only regret is not having done it sooner. Then again, opportunities are all about timing, and perhaps starting something earlier wouldn't have worked because I would not have been ready for it.
Running your own business is a lot of work, but the life-work flexibility, chances to pursue different personal and professional interests and the opportunity of working with a variety of interesting clients is a great combination.
In the 19 months since starting my business, it has been interesting to watch a growing number of colleagues and friends decide to take a similar leap. Many of them have come to a juncture in their careers in which they have established strong networks and professional credibility. They could keep on doing the same thing for the next 25 to 30 years, or do something completely different.
While running your own business isn't for everyone, the risk of trying is minimal. If it doesn't work out, the worst that can happen is you return to the corporate world armed with some pretty good entrepreneurial experience.
If, however, you can make it work, the benefits are immeasurable. I'm often reminded of the "Priceless" MasterCard commercials in which it's difficult to put a price on doing something you love. Being your own boss is hard work, and the money may not be as lucrative or stable as having a full-time gig, but that's not the point.
If you create a job that is stimulating, exciting and challenging, consider yourself lucky.
After getting comfortable with this reality, I realized that even if there was less money coming in the door, the gap was eliminated when taking into account the value of being able to get more involved as a parent, taking days off or vacation whenever I wanted, pursue personal interests, and work with a variety of fascinating people.
Starting my business changed my life. A lot of time and effort went into getting my business headed in the right direction but it's a move I won't soon forget.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Mark Evans is a principal with ME Consulting , a content and social media strategic and tactical consultancy that creates and delivers 'stories' for companies looking to capture the attention of customers, bloggers, the media, business partners, employees and investors. Mark has worked with three start-ups - Blanketware, b5Media and PlanetEye - so he understands how they operate and what they need to do to be successful. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshUniversity and meshmarketing conferences.