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If you've been reading the OFS blog for a while, you'll know that I've been coaching with Self-Publishing School over the past few months. This is the same course that I did last year when I wrote my first self-published book, No Gym Needed. There have been some pretty amazing books coming out of the 130+ students that are currently writing and publishing and one of those students is Jyotsna Ramachandran, a self-confessed job escapee.
Her book, Job Escape Plan, hit the #1 bestseller on Amazon in Home-Based Business. I caught up with Jyotsna just after her book launched and below is the interview discussion we had. I know you guys are gonna love it!
Tips on How to Craft Your Own Job Escape Plan
What motivated you to write ‘Job Escape Plan’?
Three years back, I quit my job to become an entrepreneur. Though the transition was not smooth, I am very glad I made that decision because today, I enjoy freedom in whatever I do and I’m able to discover the different dimensions of who I am after becoming my own boss. When I look around, I find too many people (including my own friends and family) struggling in the wrong jobs. The urge to help them motivated me to write Job Escape Plan.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when you first started out as an entrepreneur? And did you overcome them?
As an employee I was used to working under my boss’s supervision. When I started out on my own, my biggest challenge was self-discipline. As no-one was there to hold me accountable, I found it challenging to focus on my work and be productive. Soon I realised that I had to manage my time well if I wanted to succeed.
For all those people out there that are afraid to take that giant leap into escaping their job… what would be your one piece of advice you'd give to them?
I have two pieces of advice!
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- Believe in yourself. When a company believes in your abilities and pays you a certain amount of money every month, you should trust yourself all the more and work towards earning 10x that amount by starting your own business.
- If you are still skeptical about leaving your job, I would suggest you start a side business (preferably an online business) and grow it steadily so that it takes care of your basic financial needs before you decide to leave your job.
Knowing that most people that take the leap to being an entrepreneur will have a skill gap, what would be your advice to them?
You could be the top sales-person in a company. But, when you have to sell products/services of your own venture, it’s completely a different ball game. Your skills as an employee will only help you to a certain extent when you become an entrepreneur. You will have to invest time and money in preparing yourself.
I read plenty of books, attended many seminars, took online courses and hired mentors to guide me. However, all this will only help you to get mentally prepared. The real game starts when you actually start your business and take action. Therefore, I would suggest people to get the basics right and take the leap. Also, be a life-long learner to keep improving your skills as you go.
With so many different ways to promote your business, how do you know what worked best for you? For example, would all types of businesses benefit in the same way? Could, let’s say an author or freelancer, use the same social media platforms an online retail store would use?
It totally depends on your target customer. Once you clearly define the avatar of your target customer, start looking for the different places this person would visit (both online as well as offline) on a regular basis. For example, cookbooks can be promoted heavily on Pinterest and Instagram whereas business books will have a better reach on LinkedIn. An author as well as an online retailer could use Facebook advertising, but they need to target their ad campaigns to the right customer.
In your book the ‘Job Escape Plan’, you talk about the excuses people use to talk themselves out of taking that leap. Did you make these same excuses? And if so, how did you change the way you were thinking to get the courage to take a chance?
Oh yes! Becoming an entrepreneur was always there in the back of my mind, but it took me five years to finally quit my job. When I started exploring the various possibilities on the Internet, I realised that most of the excuses people give are not applicable anymore. You don’t need money, employees, an office or too much experience to get started with an online business.
Going from being an employee to working at home, was it hard to set a schedule that worked for you? Was it hard to minimise the distractions(i.e., family members coming for coffee because you have so much free time now)?
This was the hardest part of running my business. Working from home can be a boon as well as bane. Though it gave me incredible freedom, it also made me extremely lazy. I would wake up late, not even get ready and just start working in my pyjamas. Initially, it was hard to explain to my family & friends that I was working! They would take me for granted and call me anytime to go shopping or to a movie!
How important is it to have a designated work space, and why?
After undergoing the challenges of working from home and after having a baby, I decided to have a designated work area at home. This was nothing fancy, just a small desk and chair that would accommodate me and my laptop. But it made a huge difference to my work. This made me get into the ‘work zone' and avoid distractions. This also gave a signal to my family that I cannot be disturbed.
Scheduling my day in advance also helped me to improve my productivity while working from home. These days, I get dressed in the morning as if I am going to an office. This creates the right mood and environment to work.
How do you choose a coach or a mentor that is right for you?
I’ve had different coaches and mentors who have helped me and continue to help in various areas of my life. I look for people who have already achieved what I want to achieve and are actually doing what they are preaching. I also ensure that the person is passionate about coaching me by spending time and openly sharing his/her knowledge.
Thanks Jyotsna for providing some great insights to working for yourself! If you'd like to know more about Jyotsna, you can check out her bio below.
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Do you have any questions about this blog post or comments? Leave your thoughts below!
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