FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR LIFE
Six years ago, I completed a 12-month contract with a high flying city job, and was left suddenly without a job and, more importantly, without a career. I had left the construction industry 10 years prior to help set up a charity that was committed to helping young people.
Starting on a shoestring, we built up a Christian-based charity that influenced policy, and organised London-wide campaigns and events at Trafalgar Square. In the midst of a hectic workload – doing everything from making teas to meeting with senior government officials – I’d forgotten about building a career, but discovered how important it was to make a difference to people’s lives.
Which is why – middle-aged and unemployed – I decided to start my own business, taking the long, hard route. I wish I had read ‘Prison Break – The 9 to 5 Escape Agenda’, or met some of the inspirational entrepreneurs I know today. Six years down the line, I have fallen in love with my life. I work hard, but I play harder. I thank God it’s Monday. I can spend a month working abroad in the Caribbean, or I can spend the entire night working in a onesie. I design my own agenda, and every day I get nearer to my purpose for living.
The 9 to 5 Escape Agenda
If you felt inspired reading my story, then you will love my interview with Clara Rufai, the author of ‘Prison Break – The 9 to 5 Escape Agenda’. Clara is a multi-tasking career woman with over 25 years’ experience in various professional fields. She helps individuals overcome their limitations, by equipping them with information, tools and strategies to upscale their game.
Keno: Tell me a little about your book. Why did you write it?
Clara: I wanted to reach out to people limited by their jobs – firstly, to tell them they are not alone. I also wanted to provide tools for objective self-analysis and examination of thought patterns, to provoke and challenge people to recognise their potential and actively pursue alternatives. The book also contains strategies and practical steps to help people create the tools needed for their own escape.
Keno: Share with us two of the most important tips in your book
Clara: Take a skills audit to help you assess what unique attributes you have to offer the world that no one else can. Follow a proven template to transition as seamlessly as possible from your 9 to 5 into self-employment or entrepreneurship. My recommended path is to:
- Find your WHY
- Map your ROUTE
- Gather your RESOURCES
- Develop RESILIENCE
- Assemble your ESCAPE TEAM, and
- Prepare your RELOCATION PACKAGE.
Keno: What is your best resource for entrepreneurs?
Clara: This would differ based on service, products and niche. I believe success is primarily an ‘inside job’; self-motivation is crucial, and inspired entrepreneurs build inspiring brands. I would also recommend finding a good online community/platform relevant to an entrepreneur’s industry or area of focus, and becoming actively involved. They are usually a good source of support in terms of sector-relevant information, knowledge base, opportunities and joint ventures/collaborations.
Keno: Lastly, what are your direct words to someone who has left their job, are running a business, but finding it really hard?
- Get clear on why you are struggling. Start with your WHY(s): your reasons(s) for leaving your job; starting your own business, and choosing that particular line of business in the first place.
- Do an immediate assessment to determine where there may be gaps in your knowledge and understanding of the business area. Where gaps are identified, consider coaching, mentoring or taking relevant courses to acquire the required knowledge/level of comfort.
- Once clarity is established, consider and seek out joint ventures and collaborations. This will help contain any sense of overwhelm, and could also contribute to strengthening your brand.
- Start small. Set achievable goals. Get clear on who you are called to serve. Learn how to market your business to your target market. Get a system in place to deliver value, as clients are never fooled by fluff for too long.
- If you are still struggling, get a coach or mentor help you with hands-on implementation.
Final words: There are three key insights from Clara’s book. Remember:
- You are never alone in the circumstances of life – win the mental battle first.
- You need strategies for coping with your corporate confinement before the escape.
- It’s not the corporate cubicle holding you in containment.
You can purchase Clara’s book, ‘Prison Break: The 9 to 5 Escape Agenda – Taking the Leap from Limitation to Liberation’, on Amazon and lulu.com or from www.clararufai.com.
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