A lot of things have to come together in order for you to leave work behind. There are practical considerations – are you financially stable? Will you be able to support yourself and any dependents? And there are less tangible factors – do you have a healthy mindset? Are you suitably driven?
But all of these are for naught if you ignore the key to leaving work behind – recognizing and leveraging your ‘assets’.
What Are Your Assets?
If you have aspirations to become self-employed then you will of course need to figure out exactly how you are going to form a successful business.
What is a business? In its most basic form, a business is a mechanism for providing value to consumers, in exchange for money. The key to any business is that the level of financial reward comfortably exceeds the cost of providing said value.
So in order to start up your own business, you need to decide what value you are able to offer. That forms the basis of your future direction.
That’s where your assets come in. By assets, I essentially mean “what you are good at”. What you do well. What interests you.
The beauty of our world is that every person has something of value to offer. There are no “masters of all trades”.
I want you to do something for me. I want you to make a list of all of the things you are good at, and what interests you. I want this list to be as comprehensive as possible. Here are some examples to get you started:
- Graphic design
It doesn’t matter how obscure your interests and skills may be – just get them down. It is truly amazing what can be turned into a business. In fact, all of the items on the list above have been turned into businesses. Do you know what that means? There is no reason why you can’t too.
I think that Chris Guillebeau said it best in 13 Steps To Leaving Work Behind:
Ask yourself, what do I know how to do that other people are always asking me about? For example, are you the person who gets the call when a computer crashes? Are you the “creative one” that people go to with questions about art? What is it?
Think carefully about this question – figure out what is easy to you that is difficult to other people. It will be much easier to leave work behind when you craft your exit strategy in line with the skills you have that are desirable to others.
Recognize your assets. Then leverage them to provide value to others. The basic concept really is that straightforward. And although the idea of creating a profitable business can seem overwhelming and/or impossible, that simply isn’t the case. Just start small, put one foot in front of the other, learn from your (inevitable) failures, and progress.
Over To You
If you really want to leave work behind and you haven’t yet recognized and started leveraging your assets, can you tell me why?
If you have started out on your path, what is it that you are doing, and how are you getting on so far? I’d love to hear about your progress.
Photo courtesy of Tim Snell