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Making The Leap: From Employee To Entrepreneur

Nov 18, 2007
A Personal Story by Suzanne Mulvehill, Author
Employee to Entrepreneur

I was so intent on staying in the corporate world that I went back to school in 1993 to get an MBA degree. Two years later, I received that degree and got a job making more money than ever before. I thought I had it all. The problem was that I wasn't fulfilled.

While trying to convince myself that I really was happy with my job, I had a disturbing intuitive message one day that what I was doing wasn't "it." I realized that I had a yearning to be or do something else. I just had no idea what. For two years, I vacillated from feeling content with the security of my job to feeling unfulfilled. Sometime around the third year, I gave in to this yearning. I began an idea journal - listing ideas of what kind of business I might like to start and spent time thinking about being my own boss.

This exploration stage came to an abrupt halt when I had an experience at work that left me feeling betrayed. I was given a job to manage a sales team and it was taken away because I didn't pass a test. I worked with this boss for 2.5 years at two different companies, and knew he knew me better than the answers to a test. I was so angry that I gave my notice the following day. I stood up for myself, for maybe the first time in my professional career.

Once the anger wore off, fear set in immediately. I was petrified. I realized that in two weeks I was not going to have a paycheck anymore. Paychecks were like lifelines for me. Here I was raising two kids alone. The thoughts and feelings about being paycheckless and becoming a baglady were overwhelming. I was so scared that after two days of feeling sick to my stomach and feeling more fear than I thought I could handle, I succumbed to my fear and accepted my job back. I was given a sales position at a new location. I was relieved. Once the relief wore off, however, the yearning persisted.

I realized I was right back where I started. Stuck in a job I didn't want. I felt trapped and didn't know how to escape. I thought that the next time I quit I'm going to be prepared. So I attended business start-up seminars. I learned two things from these seminars - that I need to save money and write a business plan.

I was on a mission now. I moonlighted figuring out what business to start and writing a business plan while working full-time, running a household, raising two kids and saving money. I decided to start a magazine. I worked in the publishing industry for years and liked the industry.

Five months after the first failed attempt to leave my job, I met my boss and gave my notice a second time. I left that meeting feeling completely deflated as he shared that I needed a million dollars in capital to start this business and said without words that I was an idiot for even considering starting such a business. My newly hatched idea had been completely crushed and I again didn't leave my job.

I was depressed and my emotions whipsawed me around - hating my job and doing it anyway because I couldn't leave. That time I planned and tried and still couldn't leave. In a moment of humility and desperation, I asked myself, "What do I need to do?" I got an answer. I needed to change and grow. I realized that everything I had done to prepare myself for this transition was outside of me. I had done nothing to address and release my fears, to develop confidence and ultimately, to face the unknown.

So this time, I got busy on me. I started an inner journey. I looked at my fears and developed "what if" scenarios that I could live with. I started doing something different every day, to get used to change. I asked for spiritual direction and meditated daily. I read books like, Deepak Chopra's, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. Slowly, I began changing from the inside out. My business plan this time was a rough draft of becoming a consultant. I was truly stepping into the unknown.

Nine months after my first attempt to leave my job and four months after the second attempt, I gave my notice for the third and final time. The night before I gave this final notice, I had a dream that indicated that I was free now. This was reassuring since I wasn't sure if I would even make it through the two week time frame and take my job back again.

I took an entire month off following my exit from the workforce. I was exhausted, mentally, physically and emotionally. During my meditation time, I began visioning myself working as a consultant and starting a project the following month. An opportunity literally appeared before I even had business cards made. I went to the library to learn how to write a contract, got it signed as was on my way.

More than eight years have passed since I left my job and began my venture as an entrepreneur.
I wouldn't have dared dream six years ago that today I would be an award-winning author, internationally known professional speaker and radio talk show host. My experience has taught me that anything is possible with passion, patience and perseverance.
About the Author
Suzanne Mulvehill, MBA, is the author of Employee to Entrepreneur: A Mind, Body and Spirit Transition She presents workshops and seminars and will be launching online training programs in 2008. Visit http://www.emotionalendurance.com for more information or contact suzanne@emotionalendurance.com
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