Getting rid of the Golden Handcuffs of your Salary

How many times have you planned on leaving your job? How many times have you dreamt of following your passion to start your own business? How many times have the fear of failure kept you from resigning and starting your own business? This is a textbook example of the golden handcuffs of a salary and it could steal your entrepreneurial dreams forever.

The ‘What If’ question

Everyone goes through different phases in their lives. The phase where all your friends get married, get babies, or go through the ups and downs of having kids at school. I seem to now be in the phase where my friends and family look back at their lives and ask the ‘what if’ questions. What if I did follow my passion and study the course that I really wanted to study? What if I did grab the opportunity that came my way? And the very saddest question to me is what if I did start the business that I wanted to start? To me, the only consolation is that the biggest chunk of this group normally suffers in silence. At least they are not irritating the living hell out of those around them.

Have you joined the complainers club?

And then there is the group that loves to complain. Whether you are around a braai or at work. All they can do is complain about the miserable working circumstances that they are in. They have no plan of getting out of their situation and they have no plan to change their attitude. They just love to complain ad-lib till the cows come home and the fire is out. Yes, they sort of dream about having their own business and being their own boss, but there is absolutely no substance in wanting to make their dream a reality. And if you meet up with them in a year’s time, they will have the same complaints all over again.

The golden handcuffs

The fear of failure and inability to change your status quo is nothing new for salary earners. It is all linked to the fear of the unknown. If you have earned a salary for the largest part of your life, or if you come from a family of salary earners, you are highly unlikely to move past the fear of what on earth will happen if you do not have a salary to fall back on.

The security that a salary provide is in most cases the number one downfall of all entrepreneurial dreams, especially if you are not someone who is prepared to cut back on luxuries and live on the bare minimum.

The Elon Musk Example

Before Elon Musk became the richest man in the world, he had a brief stint where he only spent a dollar a day on food. He chose freedom as his baseline, and he learned that his threshold for existing was very low. He knew that if he failed, he could still live in a dingy apartment with a computer and be okay. The knowledge that he didn’t need very much to survive freed him up to take risks.

Elon Musk’s success rests firmly on his confidence in his ability to lose nearly everything and be fine. And he nearly lost everything more than a few times. And every time his businesses are in trouble, he doubles down.

Local inspiration

Closer to home I have the privilege of seeing the example of my brother Johan Rosslee who was a pain in the butt to everyone around him on how he saved on his daily expenses, in order to have working capital when he started out as an entrepreneur. From being the owner of Roos & Rosslee Swimming Pools to his first Guest House called Ballynoran Lodge, to amongst others, the Lake Umuzi Lifestyle Waterfront in Secunda.

Living on Toppers was nothing unusual and stuffing himself with water before he went out to the shops was a given. He even coerced my 6-foot-tall eldest brother to scrunch up in the back of his Daihatsu Charade for 1200km so that their paddle ski could fit inside the car and not cause extra petrol consumption. Strange, but true.

Johan did probably take saving to the extreme, but unfortunately, most people are not prepared to cut down on their living expenses one little bit, leave alone right down to the bone. And the older you get, the less likely you are to go the distance in order to ensure that you succeed in your entrepreneurial ventures.

Obtaining the Correct Roadmap

Another major obstacle in escaping the golden handcuffs of your job is not having the right roadmap for your brand-new business adventure. There are an insane amount of different options for tackling your new business. If you do not have a clear roadmap (that you can trust), it is extremely easy to get completely confused in the maze of options available. Throw in a couple of well-meaning ill-informed colleagues and friends who try to add their 5 cents to the process and you have a Babel confusion of note. And if you combine this state of confusion with the fear of capital running out, your fear of the unknown becomes overbearing to the point where you are completely paralyzed and end up staying where you are. Working for a boss till death do us part.

Escaping the Golden Handcuffs of your job

I have always had the impression that having a business coach is for people who do now know how to do business. For people who do not have mentors at hand in the form of family, friends, and colleagues. But this thought is probably as archaic as thinking that only crazy people need the help of psychologists and counselors. And yes, as with anything in life, you get business coaches and business coaches. Pretty much in the same way that you get doctors and doctors and teachers and then some teachers. But if you do manage to find a non-directive business coach with the right practical business experience, you will soon get the confidence and plan to change your life forever.

If all else fails, buy a franchise

Traditional entrepreneurship is definitely not for everyone. If you are one of those people who just have to work within a larger group, but do not want to miss out on the opportunity to have your own business, buying a franchise could be a fantastic alternative. WhichFranchise and FranchisingPlus could help you in this process of finding the ideal franchise for you. There is a host of advantages to using this route, and it might make the big jump so much easier if you are a compulsive worrier.

Stop Complaining and Start Living

The biggest regret that people have in life is the chances they did not take. You have the option to continue complaining and irritate the entire world around you, or you can take the action steps to get yourself out of that miserable rut. Yes, it will not be easy. You will have to make a lot of sacrifices. You will probably have to miss a braai or two or work on a Saturday night to get the job done. But if you have the right attitude, combined with a solid roadmap, there is no reason that you should not take the brave step into making your dream come true.

You have the choice to break free from the golden handcuffs of your salary.

Today is the beginning of the rest of your life.


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