Review – Escape the Cubicle

Escape the Cubicle, Mark Anthony Germanos, 2011, ISBN 9780983576907

Many books have been written about ditching your boring and unfulfilling corporate job to follow your passion. This one takes the reader through the process practically step-by-step.

Find, and join, a group of like-minded individuals, like other self-employed people. Start with your local Chamber of Commerce. The support system will help you through the rough times, and the networking possibilities could lead to customers for you. Put together a business plan, and be willing to change it as circumstances dictate. If you plan to take on investors or partners, they will want to see it.

Set a definite mission for yourself. It can be more than just one thing, but make them specific and achievable. For instance, instead of saying “Learn about computers,” say “Get Microsoft A+ Certification” or “Purchase (specific software) and take a continuing education class to learn it.”

No matter how unpleasant your job is, when you are at work, you owe your boss eight hours of effort. Don’t give your boss a reason to fire you before you are ready to leave. Start researching the costs and availability of health insurance (group insurance, if necessary) sooner rather than later. The same goes for business liability insurance. The book also talks about things to consider if you plan on having employees, and about setting up a federal tax ID number.

A person comes up to you at some business conference and asks you what you do for a living. Do you stammer and impersonate a deer in the headlights, or do you confidently give them a one to two-minute description of your business? It’s called an elevator speech. Practice it, and have it ready; you never know when you will need it. If you are one of those who lacks self-confidence when speaking in front of a group, join a group like Toastmasters International, that specializes in helping people get that self-confidence.

The author spends a lot of time talking about social media. Sign up for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and strongly consider a blog and/or website. Get help if necessary. Have some company that hosts websites take care of yours. It’s much cheaper, and involves fewer headaches, than hosting it yourself. Also, strongly consider having your information automatically backed up offsite. Again, it’s easier than doing it yourself, especially when something crashes. The book also talks about password security; there is a program to help you remember all your various passwords.

This book belongs on the reference shelf of every would-be entrepreneur in America. It contains a lot of information, and will make the process of starting a small business much less difficult than normal. Yes, it’s worth reading (and making notes in the margins and highlighting).

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