Financial Freedom — The Corporate Escape Plan

Here’s the situation… you’re in a corporate job, a good few rungs up the career ladder. But you’re tired of the same old same old.

You have no real control over your destiny, working to someone else’s demands.

Nice pay but no real security — the next round of layoffs is always hanging on the horizon.

You want out.

An easier life, more time with family, more time to do everything you’ve been putting off because… “corporate job”.

What do you do?

You’ve followed the main characters in the “creator economy”, signed up for the lead magnets, bought the courses.

And it sounds so easy:

  • Talk about something you’re interested in.
  • Attract audience.
  • Find their problems.
  • Solve their problems.
  • Profit.

But… what will you talk about to attract an audience?

You don’t have time for interests.

60 hours a week in the 9 to 5, bit of family time and family admin. You dumped Netflix to learn about building an online business.

Your only interest right now is online business, and getting out of the corporate world.

You can’t build an audience on that — you don’t have experience yet.

You need something else to apply all this knowledge you’ve been consuming.

Sound familiar?

Many in this situation will continue consuming and learning about online business. Thinking that’s where they’ll find the answer.

And the cycle continues.

Getting armed with more and more tactics. Frustration at not being in the arena. Not sure how to take that first step.

How do you get through this?

A recent conversation with someone in this situation got me thinking about how I got into online business.

This was me.

I felt that need, almost desperation, to get out of the corporate nonsense and work on my own terms.

I spent all my free time reading blogs, listening to podcasts and buying courses.

When I discovered Pat Flynn’s podcast (Smart Passive Income) and John Lee Dumas (Entrepreneurs On Fire) I was regularly driving 5 hours for work from our Geneva office to one of our sites in northern Italy.

Driving through the Alps at speed, I was hoovering up episodes back to back. I couldn’t wait for the end of the week so I could get in the car and fire up my podcast app for the journey home to Switzerland.

Stopped in Chamonix for coffee on the way home once. Wasn’t all bad I guess.

I even made an excuse not to carpool with a colleague doing the same trip because I wanted my business podcast time. I was obsessed.

I got a lot of inspiration and knowledge. But I was stuck in the learning cycle for a long time.

My interests where I had credible knowledge were my job and career. Then my interest switched to the online business world — the models and the tactics.

Yes, I did other things — especially skiing and hiking. But I overlooked hobbies at the beginning. I didn’t think I had anything worthwhile to share, or any idea how I would make an income.

I span my wheels for a long time before I started to take some steps. Building content sites and trying my hand at affiliate marketing.

Even then I was trying to force myself into niches I knew very little about. Trying to wing the credibility and pretending to be someone I wasn’t because I believed the payoff was worth it.

It took a lot longer than it needed to get any kind of traction.

Looking back I made some obvious mistakes:

  • Spent way too long learning and not taking action.
  • Overlooked the knowledge and credibility I already had in search of something I thought would be more interesting and/or lucrative.

The Escape Plan

If I was starting my online business journey today I’d do some things very differently.

The tools have changed the game — made it easier, more accessible. But also harder because of the extra competition.

However, the fundamentals for getting started haven’t:

  • Build audience
  • Find problems
  • Solve problems
  • Get paid

When I fire up my hindsight (wonderful thing) there are obvious areas to get into:

  • My job
  • Expat life (I’m a Brit and was living in Switzerland)
  • Skiing
  • Hiking

I dismissed my job as a topic right off the bat. I wanted out and I couldn’t see how the corporate stuff could transfer to an online business.

Let’s park that for a second (sorry, corporate lingo still a bad habit 😀)

Expat life was never on the table as a topic.

Looking back I realize I’d built up a lot of knowledge about relocating to another country and navigating everyday life. As well as sharing all the experiences there — places to go, things to see.

I’d certainly be capable of creating something and I could solve some problems for the new or potential expat.

(As I write this, feeling a bit of regret that I didn’t do that — too late now, we moved back to England).

Next, skiing and hiking.

I’m not going to pretend I was an expert in either. Yes, we did a lot of skiing. But it was very casual. And I wasn’t pulling on my walking boots and hitting the trails every weekend.

I did eventually try something in both hiking and skiing (broader winter sports). But I didn’t base it on my experiences, instead trying to play the role of an expert with curation.

Not surprisingly, neither worked out as well as I wanted.

Let’s go back to my job as a topic.

I was too quick to dismiss this at the time.

Yes, I wanted to get out of my day job world and into something way more fun.

My world of financial analysis in $30B+ company didn’t tick the fun box. It didn’t even get on the same sheet of paper.

Also… it didn’t seem like something I could turn into a digital product. I couldn’t figure it out.

Now I know better.

My job is the topic where I had the most knowledge and credibility. 10 years of my life and uniquely me.

Despite it being boring, there are two things to remember here:

  • I need a topic where I’ve demonstrated credibility to test all the tactics I’ve learned from the online courses.
  • This isn’t forever. I can use this as a learning experience and leverage it into something less boring if I want.

On that second point… take a look at Justin Welsh. He’s huge in the creator / solopreneur world.

He didn’t get to this point by talking about solopreneurship from the start. His background in bullets looked like this:

  • Worked a sales job up to a senior level.
  • Had a skill for using LinkedIn for finding leads for his job.
  • Built an audience on LinkedIn about finding leads.
  • Created a product about finding leads.
  • Created a product about building LinkedIn audiences.
  • Built an audience on Twitter about success on LinkedIn.
  • Created a product for creating content on any platform.
  • Created a product for starting from zero as a creator.

What he does now isn’t connected to the job he had. The job is where the initial leverage came from.

So, if I were in my corporate job today, and looking for a way out, here are the steps I would take…

1. Start posting on LinkedIn

I’d post about my job. My day to day ups and downs, observations, stories from the past, opinions on things that impact (or will impact) the role I have, my career path, how I’d do things differently, etc.

I’m preaching my view of the world trying to be the next guru.

I’m trying to be myself.

That’s enough to attract others who are following (or want to follow) a similar career path.

I’m keeping it personable, easy going, with some humor.

Short form video could work here as well, although I’m more comfortable writing.

Of course, I’d be mindful of confidentiality of my work and my colleagues and not painting my employer in a bad light. Don’t want to burn any bridges.

2. Create a digital product

With an audience of people hopefully engaging and following me, I can look at what’s resonating.

Which posts get the most engagement.

I’d reach out to new followers and connection requests. Ask them what they like about my content and what I can do to help them.

I already know the problems they’re facing — I either have them or I had them in the past.

If I start to see patterns I can figure out what to create.

My gut instinct is that something on how I got to my role and position would be a good place to start.

It’s something I’m uniquely qualified to pull together — it was my journey, there’s no theory.

I can then add in thoughts and observations on what I’d do differently today.

This would make a straightforward ebook. Part story, part action plan.

I would’ve loved to get insights like this in the early part of my career.

Long story short, I’d put an ebook together. Approx 20 to 30 pages, aiming for price of $20 to start.

A reminder here that we’re not likely to get rich off this. This is the kickstarter for bigger things.

It gets us into the game with the confidence that we belong there.

3. Sell Sell Sell

Armed with a fresh, value packed ebook I can go out and sell it.

Not as scary as it sounds.

I’ve got a number of choices here and I can do all or a mix or one of them.

  • Sell it in my social posts.
  • Sell it one on one to people I’m connecting with.
  • Set up a simple email funnel using a lead magnet and short sequence.

I would do all three.

Posting about it on social, and offering to people in one-on-one conversations is straightforward.

The email funnel takes a little bit of work to set up. But it will be an important skill for anything you do in the future.

Capturing leads, nurturing them and then converting to buyers is a skill that is very transferable.

So… I’d create a lead magnet. I’d pick one problem I solved from the book and turn it into a standalone cheat sheet or guide or template. Focused only on that one thing.

Then I’d set up an opt in page and short email sequence. I’d use ConvertKit(same as I do now).

The email sequence will deliver the lead magnet, add extra info using my stories and would tease the main product.

A great place to learn how to write those kind of emails is Email Infotainer

When that is set up I’d start promoting it within my social posts and to the one on one connections.

4. Iterate

Maybe I’ll sell 1000s of copies. Maybe I’ll sell 10 copies.

Whatever happens, I can adjust my strategy. Improve my landing page, improve my email sequence, improve my sales page.

Optimizing the funnel is another valuable skill that can be taken anywhere.

And then, if I want to, I can document this journey on twitter and start to build a personal brand outside of my job. Using this experience to leverage into the next thing.

Maybe I’d get good at building LinkedIn audiences. Maybe my email marketing was on point. Or I now know something about creating killer landing pages.

You’d be amazed at what happens when you shift from consumer to creator.

For the people who skipped right to the end here’s the TLDR…

Creating something connected to the job you already have is better than being stuck in a cycle of consuming content about online business.

You don’t have to make it your life forever — it’s the tool to get you moving and then into more interesting and lucrative projects.

  • Build your audience
  • Find the problem
  • Create your product
  • Sell your product

You will learn more by doing this instead of taking another “build a business” course.

And it’ll be amazing for your confidence — there’s nothing quite like the buzz of making the first sale of your own product.

My newsletter helps creators figure out how to build financial freedom online with digital products. You can get it here

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