Strategy & Operations » Leadership & Management » Book Extract: Corporate Escape – The Rise of the New Entrepreneur

Corporate Escape AN EXTRACT from ‘Corporate Escape: the Rise of the New Entrepreneur’ by Maite Barón. In this extract Maite considers why so many of us lead frustrated and unfulfilled lives, stuck in organisations, rather than pursuing things that would make us happier. However, by changing our mindset, Maite believes we can take control of our own lives particularly by utilising technology.

‘Corporate Escape: the Rise of the New Entrepreneur
When you grew up you were made to believe that going to university, studying hard and getting a degree or diploma would get you sorted for life. You found your first job and maybe had a few more during your working life. Perhaps you were expecting this situation to carry on until the day you retired. However, now you’re starting to realise that this is not going to be the case …

Organisations have become more powerful than governments and so omnipotent that it was unthinkable they could fail, yet they are failing, and no doubt more is to come.

Current events may have already turned your world upside down, making the impossible real and the possible doubtful. Nothing seems real anymore. Maybe it never was, after all you only see the world as a reflection of who you are, or to put it another way, you only ever perceive a distorted reality, the one you choose to see.

But now you need to create new parameters and shift the perspective of your professional life. Unfortunately, when you were growing up nobody told you that you were in charge of your destiny and that you could become whoever you wanted to be or that you could use your own inner wisdom and guidance to help you find your way forward.

Can you ever remember having this type of conversation with your parents, teachers, siblings, friends, or even reading such ideas in any newspaper or magazine? Has anyone ever told you this? Probably not.

What you heard back then was very different, and it was this that shaped your map of the world and your expectations, and so determined how your life has turned out, at least until today.

You did what you were told, and started work for a large organisation -perhaps you are still there now – with others taking the key decisions about your life and not you. You can only hope that these organisations do well and carry on growing their profits because they hold your destiny in their hands. Because you did what you were told, you haven’t developed your own decision making powers – well perhaps you have for the little things, but not for what really matters, taking ownership of your life.

So here you are today, with a set of skills that are more and more easily outsourced or replaced, a generalist lost in a cloud of international talent, left waiting to see if they are writing your name on the wall, and knowing that unless you do something about it, it’s only a matter of time before they do.

Yet most professionals still wait until decisions are made for them. In other words, until they are made redundant, or when options disappear altogether. 

Unfortunately, by then valuable time has been wasted, their skills are often rusty and they feel trapped in a circle that just keeps going round until it breaks.

The reason why most professionals live this life of unfulfilled frustration is because they become used to living with a great level of discomfort. Each day they kid themselves that everybody else is feeling the same way too. After all, isn’t this the way life is supposed to turn out when you become a responsible adult?

So, they prefer to carry on like this, ‘playing small’, suffering, giving up their dreams and hopes rather then face the truth. Because when you acknowledge what is really going on in your life, you know that the level of pain and despair you are feeling is only going to get worse.

I know this is an uncomfortable truth, one you won’t want to hear, but this silent fear has been keeping thousands of professionals sleepless for a while.

And though you want to avoid change as much as possible, you already know that ultimately you will need to do something different. You can’t keep running away from the truth forever, just waiting for your real life to start some day.

At any given time, you have choices available to you, and it is the quality of your decisions that will determine the quality of your life as a whole, in every area of your life, with no exceptions.

You Are In Charge Of Your Destiny
It’s unrealistic to depend on someone else to manage your life. Being an adult means far more than adding years to your passport, it means taking conscious control of your own life.

But, believe it or not, many adults prefer to allow others to make the important decisions in their lives. Often they don’t do this consciously or explicitly, but as a result of inaction.

Childhood is based on dependency (others providing for you), but adulthood should be based on independence (being able to cope emotionally with your life events and providing for yourself) and interdependence (contributing to the lives of others).

So being an adult in the full sense of the word implies taking personal responsibility. But that is the one thing that so many choose to ignore. Yet you are the one who is really responsible for your own health, for your own body, for the state of your own mind, for keeping fit, for being active and for being employable and financially independent.

But many leave this responsibility to others, and instead concentrate on wanting and having more – more money to go on holidays, to buy a newer or better computer, or to get the latest gadgets.

Often they compare themselves with others, not so much looking at what others are doing to earn more, but simply feeling resentful and asking themselves ‘Why am I not paid more?’ They want the rewards but without the effort, something that is not possible anymore.

So don’t compare yourself with others. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Work on your strengths and not your weaknesses. And always try to learn from those ahead of you.

The Brave World Of The New Entrepreneurs Is Waiting For You
There is no such thing any more as a job or career for life, so many professionals are having to look for new answers.

And that means, irrespective of your current situation, that it is essential to have a Plan ‘B’, because in all likelihood your Plan ‘B’ will become your Plan ‘A’ overnight.

Today, professionals who find themselves between jobs or careers, as well as those who are made redundant, are realising that becoming an entrepreneur is an increasingly attractive option.

Sometimes this is through choice, sometimes the result of circumstance, either because they haven’t had success down more usual routes, or because what is actually available doesn’t feel right anymore, or because they now want something different from their working life.

I call this group of professionals ‘New Entrepreneurs’. Being an entrepreneur, whether ‘New’ or traditional, is as much about having a particular attitude, mindset or belief, as it is knowing about business, finance or marketing.

Acquiring these attitudes, mindsets and beliefs is the first and possibly most important step to becoming a successful entrepreneur, because you need to start thinking in the right way long before you begin to tackle more practical issues. If you don’t shift your mindset, nothing else can compensate for this, and you will be heading for failure.

Failure is what this book will help you avoid, by guiding you on a path that takes you from where you are to where you want to be, by teaching you to think and behave like a New Entrepreneur.

All entrepreneurs are in one way or another non-conformists who view the world in a very different way to the majority. They see opportunities where others see only problems.

Traditional entrepreneurs often grow up this way, either as a result of family influences, or because of some other aspect of their early lives. New Entrepreneurs, however, are those who discover their non-conformity later in life, often through frustration or because they feel unfulfilled in some way. Everyone, including you, has a non-conformist side that’s being suppressed by the limiting world you live in.

But now is the right time for breaking free and joining the ranks of New Entrepreneurs.

Like everyone else, you have baggage that restricts your current choices and chances of success, and unless you get the right support and put in the required effort, this is not going to change. Your current mindset, your existing beliefs, your everyday habits, your routines and paradigms, the very things that have brought you to where you are today, all need to be updated.

Understandably, if you have worked most of your professional life for somebody else, your business knowledge is probably limited but that won’t stop you if your mindset is right.

Until now, you have replicated the same working patterns that you saw when you were growing up and his has been your map of the world so far.

Having worked for someone else for so long has also led you to instinctively follow the crowd rather than stand up for yourself, and to favour the safest option. You still operate from a mindset of ‘someone else is going to sort things out for me.’

From this standpoint, the solution is always perceived as coming from the outside world, whether that’s a large employer, the government, or some other institution.

This isn’t surprising when we all are so used to a ‘nanny state’ in which we have been either active participants, or perplexed witnesses.

But this can’t go on, if you want to succeed. Your perception of money is also coloured by your upbringing, your social paradigms and the environment you live in. This means most adults don’t believe that abundance is a birthright or available to them. So they just work to pay the bills and believe that the minimum is the norm. Do you see wealth as something only available to the few who are lucky, or greedy, or nasty, or in some way very different from you?

But whatever beliefs about money and wealth you currently hold, they are the result of the social conditioning you have absorbed. The good news is that you can update these limiting beliefs at any time and this book will show you how to create healthy money beliefs as well as a clear purpose and vision for your life, with values that will help guide you so you can finally take control of your life.

Creating The Life You Want
I always wanted to be my own boss and to have my own business so I could be fully in charge of my destiny. Even though my first business was not very successful, I still got a return on my investment in so many ways, because I learned from my experiences.

I’ve being creating the life I want for the last fourteen years, always updating my vision and aligning it with my values so that I could achieve success on my terms, with integrity, and in a way that would allow me to leave behind a worthwhile legacy to the world.

So I understand where you are and I’m not saying that the journey you have to take will be quick and easy, as so many gurus want you to believe, although of course good things can happen quickly, especially in a fast-moving business environment.

Fortunately, today we have opportunities that were not available even a decade ago. That means you can become a New Entrepreneur with the minimum of investment and barely more than an idea and a computer. Not so long ago this was impossible, with most businesses requiring a large capital investment in production facilities and infrastructure.

Today, factories can deliver small production runs of anything you want, from computer covers and handbags through to Indian sauces, which means you can also test the market cost-effectively and in a way that once could only have been done by a much bigger business.

Technology has also made it possible to reach thousands of people in no time at all, when before you would have needed an enormous PR and advertising budget to do the same. You can even have your own TV channel 24/7 on YouTube and other platforms!

Computers are affordable and you can use them to work from anywhere without needing an office. What’s more, business hubs can give you access to all the office equipment and meeting space you need for just a small fee. Today, even the most ‘local’ of businesses can be global.

As you can see, there are plenty of advantages for the New Entrepreneur, though only if you make the necessary shift in mindset first to reset your current views, beliefs, routines, habits and paradigms for success in our brave new world. However, while I see many professionals trying to change direction by starting their own business and taking control of their lives, many fail, barely able to make ends meet.

That’s not because they don’t have enough clients or sufficient money to invest, but because they are still held hostage by their old ways of thinking. In effect, they are walking in a new world but with an old image of themselves as someone who is still employed. As a result they behave like employees in their own business and guess what, like this they won’t ever succeed!

You may be thinking by now: ‘I understand the need for an update, but this is not easy, otherwise everybody would do it.’

Exactly! And this is the main difference between the traditional and the New Entrepreneur, who does things not because they are easy but because they are important and matter to them. This is the mindset you need to develop.

Corporate Escape: the Rise of the New Entrepreneur is written by Maite Barón, and published by Ecademy Press. You can download two free chapters of the book here