Everybody has a motive to escape the office cubicle. What’s yours?
Maybe you despise the corporate politics, the water cooler bitching, or an insufferably low pay cheque. Perhaps you hate the commute. As a native Londoner with a short fuse for standing in transit, the chance to quit morning train-surfing was one of my great calls to action in life.
It’s our motives to make self-employment a success that sometimes lose their shine once the honeymoon period of surrealism wears off. We forget what drove us to pursue the extra responsibility. We forget why we do what we do. And that’s a shame.
Do you remember when Internet Marketing blew your mind with opportunity?
What would you pay to relive the nostalgia of making your first dollar online, of logging in to Clickbank and seeing a sale that demanded no boss, no commute, and just one moment of individual brilliance?
Our early success is often the most vivid to remember. We appreciated it more. It wasn’t a number to tap in to a profit and loss chart. It was something else: proof that our time splurged on the web had a purpose, a direction, a future. Money could be made online.
Four years on from that awakening, I am used to logging in to my emails and seeing sales. It’s no longer a thrill, but a stat to observe. I get nostalgic over how captivated I used to be. The amazement that Internet Marketing works has been replaced by serious unease at the thought that it might someday not.
If you are new to this industry, and particularly if you have just left a ‘traditional’ job to pursue success, the honeymoon period is one to savour.
Enjoy the First Taste of Self-Sufficiency
Any soul brave enough to exchange the rat race for self-employment, uncertainty and a royally shagged economy deserves a honeymoon period. The initial freedom of working from home provides just that. It’s the perfect opportunity to take one step back, appreciate how lucky you are, before plunging multiple steps forward and busting a ball or three to make the arrangements work.
Nobody wants to suffer the ignomy of returning to a day job just weeks after taking a dump on the concept via Facebook. But it’s healthy to take a moment of reflection. Especially if, like many, your precursor to self-employment has been moonlighting with two jobs. You will want to celebrate and enjoy that first taste of running your own ship. A few months down the line and such luxury is likely to cause inner turmoil.
“I want to take a break but I’ve got seven projects, four affiliate managers and an inbox full of hot offers to deal with. Maybe next month.”
Inner voice: “Or how about never?”
In the weeks after my jump to full-time affiliate marketing, I carefully balanced my time between rolling around semi-naked in home comforts and bragging about the hour my alarm clock was set for. I’ve since learnt that there’s a special look of disgust reserved especially for those who need a wake-up call after 11am.
Two dogs and a loud postman has put an end to my 1-Hour Work Mornings. I now rise with my own time zone and promptly smoke the room out with coffee beans.
You can probably tell a lot about my first taste of self-sufficiency by this photographic evidence of my office from 2009:
Archaic laptop barely capable of updating weight loss ads without chugging up fumes, rough unkempt looking bastard at the wheel, blanket making do as a curtain, and animals in the workplace (sitting on wireframes for extra productivity points).
It’s no wonder my very first week as a full-time Affiliate Marketer ended in spectacular confusion with an entire business collapsing around me in piles of Google Suspension notices. But you bet it was exciting.
Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of defining your career destination and then galloping after it like a mad man.
Once you have started that pursuit, it’s very difficult to slow down. At various points along the way, you will reflect nostalgically on the start of your journey and how easier it used to be. This nostalgia is a sign that you need to step back and get in touch with your original reasons for wanting to become self-employed.
Regain the Nostalgia of Working From Home
It’s ‘touch base’ with the soul time.
- Did you quit your job to spend more time with family, to see more of your kids, to make a better fist of your relationships?
Then why are you locking yourself in the basement and growling thunder at anybody who dares interrupt? If your wife has to push a cold dinner plate under the crack in your office door, it’s probably a sign that you’ve lost touch with your family man aspirations.
- Did you quit your job to pursue the ultimate financial freedom of earning money while you sleep?
Then why do you never sleep? Do you expect to hit a magic financial figure that suddenly allows you to unwind and enjoy life? What is it?
- Did you quit your job in awe of that classic quote: “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.“
Then why do you still struggle to find happiness in the top dollar hotel suites that no mortal man would pay for? Why do all of your friends pay less for their thrills?
I believe many of us are guilty of losing touch with our original motives for why we do what we do. Stacking money in a bank vault, like economic growth, is tied to an illusion of grandeur. Neither can go on forever. Your current balance will mean nothing when you hit the grave.
To regain the nostalgia of working from home, we must remind ourselves of what we left behind. And why we left it. For some Internet Marketers, this may even lead to the realisation that your overall happiness was greater when you worked for ‘the man’.
There’s no shame in admitting that. In fact, the joke is on anybody with the balls to suggest otherwise. These are the same self-righteous pricks who believe everybody has to be an entrepreneur. Never mind the economic consequences, hey?
Reigniting your work day may be as simple as taking a train to your old place of work. Or driving there and spending a moment outside the gates. If I ever needed a reminder of the life I’m glad to have escaped, it’s the feeling of being packed in to a tube carriage at 8.49am by Kings Cross St Pancras.
Note: I don’t recommend brooding in the shadows outside your former workplace if you are an ex school teacher. Two words: criminal record.
Another good idea is to disconnect completely from technology for 24 hours.
We live in a world where instant notifications are pushed under our noses by multiple sources, on multiple devices at every hour of the day. It’s mission impossible for an Internet Marketer to ignore the noise when his profession has a voice in it.
By disabling your iPad, silencing the phone, and stepping away from the computer, you can begin to come to terms with what you’re left with.
If you find yourself standing lamely, scratching your balls for entertainment, there’s a good chance you need a second passion to give work new meaning. The nostalgia we associate with our first taste of self-employment has nothing to do with the work. It has everything to do with the sense of excitement, the new roads to explore, the not knowing what tomorrow might bring.
Once the honeymoon period wears off and working from home becomes your accepted reality, you need to seek the same excitement away from your screen.
We shouldn’t be afraid.
For most of us, it’s what we signed up for.
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