Making Words Work

Job Security or Self-Security? 7 New Perspectives on an Old Paradigm

Written by Christine Kane

Happy woman and her laptopOne of the scariest things I ever did was quit my first (and only) “real” job so I could begin my own brand of creative work in the world.

I became – gasp! – self-employed.

I was warned of the risks. I was told I’d lose my benefits and security. I was told it’s “hard out there” working for yourself.

The assumption so many people base one of their biggest life choices on is that working for yourself is risky.  After 16 years of making a living on my own terms – I believe the exact opposite!

So, here are seven new perspectives on the well-worn idea of “Job Security.” (My reasons why NOT to have a job.)

1. Having a job is risky.

When you have a job, someone can take away your income in two words: “You’re fired.”  This is happening more and more as companies crumble in the face of global changes.

If you ask me, there’s nothing secure about that.

In your own business, when a client or customer moves on – then guess what?  You get to say, “Next!”

2. No Bonus Pay for Messing Up.

When you mess up at your job, you get punished, maybe even a pay-cut. Then you have to run around “making nice” to the people who might lay you off or promote someone else who’s younger and “hungry.” (Hungry for what? More time at the office?)

When one of my clients faces challenges in her business, I remind her to be excited. She’s getting paid to learn!  Every mistake teaches her more about how to succeed.

Instead of getting an MBA – she’s getting a TBF. (Trial by Fire!)  TBF’s yield a high ROI!

3. Your Ceiling isn’t Adjustable When you Have a Job.

Often, I show clients multiple places they can generate income in their business within the next few months.  Their eyes light up as they realize that the possibilities are endless.  They stop thinking in terms of “hours for dollars,” and start thinking of passive income.  (Hey, why not get paid while you sleep?)

In a job, you can’t adjust your income based on the value you provide. Instead you have to ask for a raise.  Not fun.

4. Pantyhose.

As I write this, I’m working.

I’m wearing a Tarheels baseball cap, a t-shirt, and jeans. I’ve got my feet propped up on the deck railing as birds sing at the feeder.

When I had a job, there was a dress code. And rules about what you could have on your desk. There was limited time for lunch, and no time for creativity.  And don’t even get me started on pantyhose!

5. Your money doesn’t go as far.

Did you know that employee income is the most heavily taxed income in the U.S.?   As an employee, almost half your salary will go to taxes.  You get to spend what’s left on living expenses.

One of my first self-employed discoveries was that my money went MUCH further – because I could invest in myself with pre-tax income.  Any good accountant will help you make your dollars expand in your own business.

6. Focusing on your Weaknesses.

Have you ever heard of a “360?”

That’s when your co-workers and supervisors (and anyone else who wants to chip in) analyze your job performance. You learn all about your weaknesses – and you get a review outlining the ways you need to work on them. Often, people leave these “360” reviews in tears.

In the world of the solo-preneur, we don’t mess with our weaknesses. The motto is Strengthen your Strengths. Hire your Weaknesses. In other words, as you become aware of your weaknesses, you don’t waste your precious energy fixing them.

7. Negative Environment.

Many office environments don’t encourage creative thinking or positive focus. Instead, there’s lots of negativity among employees who feel powerless.

In your own business, you set the tone, and you choose who enters your environment. You become personally responsible for every aspect of your life.

This is often more uncomfortable than sitting back and blaming “The Man,” but it will absolutely free you.


There has NEVER been a better time to have a business.  The world is now at your fingertips.  If you are self-employed and still find yourself struggling – don’t blame yourself. The “job” paradigm can be a tough one to break. (I’ve been there!)

We hear a lot about Mastermind Groups these days. Have you ever thought of joining one? Have you held back because of fear? Fear of who may be in the group? Fear that the group won’t help us or we won’t be able to help others? Everyone has fears around finding a group that they feel comfortable in. We all want a group that challenges us but also nurtures us and our business.
The following is what Mastermind Groups are and are not. There are lots of Mastermind groups out there that fall into the “are not” category. Choose wisely. It only makes sense to ask a ton of questions prior to committing to one.

Here is what Mastermind Groups are:
• Groups are small
• They have regular meetings
• They are highly collaborative
• Groups are structured for creativity
• Groups are non-competitive
• Should be challenging
• Should be friendly and supportive

They should NOT be:

• Focused on networking
• A workshop or conference
• Group coaching
• Group mentoring by an expert

When choosing a mastermind group, see if they have a “trial” where you can drop out within the first 30 days if you feel the group is not the one for you. Sometimes, you know right away…but many times if you check in with yourself, you will find that the reasons you are uncomfortable are not about the group but about your own previous core wounding. Try to work through it and don’t forget to ask for help from the leader.

Try to give the members of the group and yourself enough time to build a relationship. Rome was not built in a day and relationships take about as much time to mature too. Many will have forums that are just for the group: take time to read and participate in it.

We all have reasons we want to “run” and many times it is a lesson we need to learn but haven’t yet. This is a great time to work through it and get it behind you.

Being a leader is a massive responsibility!  You are expected to get and keep the team up and running efficiently at all times. Anyone that has been a leader can tell you that the task is easier said than done.  After all, we are all human and have daily rhythms and emotions that we need to take into consideration.


One of the myths that leaders fall into is the myth that they are responsible for the team.  Each team member is responsible for themselves and their portion of the work.    As the leader, you are responsible TO the team, not for the team.  You are to provide the team members with the tools and opportunities to do the job but the members are responsible for making themselves happy.


Most people want to belong to something larger than just them.  Most team members know there is something
larger than themselves in being a team member.  A healthy work environment contains team members that care for each other as well as themselves and the team as a whole.

Value Your Team

The best investment in your vision is to have the right people around you helping you achieve your goals. It is important that you show them you value them…a win-win opportunity.  You give them the opportunity and they give you great work in return.

Clear Roles

You, as the leader must give clear roles for each person in the team.  Each person should know their role in the organization and what you expect from them in their role.  You will need to have total trust in each person you put in each role and make sure that both are a good fit.

Respect and Gentle Conversations

Showing respect for others is a key in the leadership role.  Here is where you will be leading by example.  All eyes will be on you,
especially when things go wrong.  What you do in those times will set precedent with all other members of the
team.  If you are kind and gentle and show respect others will follow. No one is perfect and mistakes will happen.


Most often in leading a group you are required to teach others.  What this really means is guiding others on their journey.  The
decisions you make must be based on the team benefit rather than your own personal agenda.  You will be a mentor,
advisor, role model and cheerleader.

Information Sharing

All team members must be willing to share information with others freely.  We all know what happens when information sharing is on a need to know basis…communication breaks down and everyone is trying to “catch up” but no one ever does.  When information is shared freely, the atmosphere becomes one of creativity instead of complaining.

Giving Back

We all want to give back to the community.  As a leader, make sure that people have the  knowledge and resources to give back to the community.  We all WANT to do this but only about 30% of  the people make it happen.  As a leader, you can help increase that percentage.

Do you know the difference between a business mentor and a business coach?

It is easy to get them confused or to think they are the same thing as the differences can seem too subtle to distinguish by many.


A mentor is someone who has been successful in their own
business and can give you a blueprint of how they did it.  They teach you what you need to know if you are just starting a business.  A step one, step two approach.   When starting a new business, a mentor is a great person to have in your corner.  These people can help you build a business or get the one you have on solid ground.


Again, they give you a blueprint of what they have done to build their own successful business.


You pay for their advice, they give it and you can take it or leave it.  The concept is that is you follow their blueprint you too will be successful in your business.  It does work.


When you are ready to move your business to something that
is truly your own with your brand on it, a coach may be just what you need.


A coach can help you take your established business to a
different level, help you make the business your own; help you personalize your business so it is truly you.  Coaches help
you in so many ways: emotionally, spiritually, and even with your processes.  Coaches are focused on your performance in
business and understand the holistic approach brings more personalized results, which is generally what you are looking for when hiring a coach.


Many people start with a business mentor and move to a coach
when they feel their business is solid and want to move to the next level.


The important part is that partnering with someone is more
helpful than going it alone.  Everyone can use guidance at one time or another in their business.


Most successful people will tell you that the years spent in
corporate America have not prepared them for their internet business.


There is no need for all of us to be pioneers when it comes
to having our own business.  Learn from others.

Are you a slave to your job?  A slave to “the system?”  A slave to money and happiness?  Have you been looking for it in all the wrong places?  Do your friends call you the “Drama Queen?”

Are you suffering with work addiction?  Are you working 60
hours a week for your own company but not feeling any more fulfilled than you
were when you worked for corporate America?

Are you in need of an intervention?

ANY leap is full of fear, no matter how good the leap could be to your life.

So, how can you start?

1. Start by Being Honest

You take action because you have a level of confidence that it will work out. There is always some fear mixed in because leaps don’t come with guarantees that it will work out perfectly.  When you are doing something you feel you just have to do instead of something you desire, you are on the right track.

2.    Let Your Desire Drive You

Make decisions out of a desire for change, not out of a desperate need. You don’t want that need to be clouding your judgment. You want clear purposeful goals in mind.

3.    Monitor Your Motive

Feel what you heart is saying when you think about this decision?  Do you have a burning desire to take the leap?  Is it a pressing need that is driving your leap? Do you have confidence?  If not, this leap is out of fear and may not be a good idea.

If you are thinking clearly, you can envision the benefits you want. The desire in your heart will drive your leap and give you the confidence to take it because you will know what you want.

If you are feeling desperate, you are taking a leap in fear.   Stop and rethink the decision to leap.  Go back to step one.

When you have a pressing need that makes you worry, it is difficult to think clearly.  My advice, make decisions to leap when you know your motive is right and you’re doing it with a clear, achievable objective.

For success  to be ours, we must sometimes get out of our comfort zone.  It is easy to hide  behind a computer when you have an internet business.  You may be able to obtain more business if
you do one small thing out of your comfort zone that may mean you are temporarily  uncomfortable with the first few times.


Challenging yourself and your beliefs can be very scary.  Whenever we go through something out of our comfort zone, for the first time, we all feel the same feelings.  That queasiness in the stomach, the nervousness  when we talk in front of a group, the feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.    We find it hard to let go of those feelings.


Yes, leaving the comfort zone can be very …well, uncomfortable.  Moving to a place that you are unfamiliar with can be an unsettling experience.


So, how do you break out of your comfort zone? Just like all the other challenges you have encountered and overcome.  By doing it!  Sometimes, it helps to start off small.  Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can


If, for instance, you want to do public speaking, try reading out loud to a tape recorder.  Try videotaping yourself so you have a starting point.  It is okay to not like what you see at first.  The important
part of the exercise is to do it, not criticize it.  You can ask for feedback from friends that will be gentle but honest in their evaluation.  You can also imagine yourself doing the thing
you are most afraid of.  Pretend.  We all forget that pretending is an option open to us.


Our imagination can run wild when all we really need is to try
something new once or twice to make it less scary and more easily achievable in our own minds.

Remember, how we didn’t think we could be a business owner?  Now, we are one.

Think about this.  You are already a business person so I can only believe that you have overcome a lot of obstacles in the past.  You need to give yourself credit for the things you have done. You  have had successes.  You have done things that feel very “unnatural” to you but because you have continued to do them,
they become a part of you and your success.


Seek out others that are doing what you want to achieve.  Asking someone for help may be the nicest compliment you could give someone.   Isn’t that a great way to find friends?

Most everyone will help someone else achieve their goal or help them get started. It is how we keep going and giving as entrepreneurs.  Someday, you will be able to help someone

There’s lots of free information out there for everyone.  Check out any business blog/website/magazine.  Use the information to your advantage or reach out to the owner/editor and ask for

Blogs are a great place to start.  All advice is good if you can use it to help meet your goals.

How do you usually make a decision? Do you act impulsively, or overcomplicate?
Knowing our personal quirks and decision drivers can help control irrationality
and impulsiveness, which can then lead to better decisions in tough situations.

Let’s take a look at nine strategies for making better decisions in crucial


1. Weigh the

If you start at the end first, it can help simplify a decision. For
instance, think about what you CAN and CANNOT live with. This can help
eliminate options and keep things in an appropriate perspective.


2. Think first

This one is for the impulsive decision makers out there. When you’re caught
up in the momentum of something, try to take a deep breath. Give yourself a few
seconds to re-evaluate the choice.


3. Do What’s Right

As they say, “You can do what’s right or you can do what’s easy.” The
whistleblowers at Enron, WorldCom, and Madoff had to choose. While their lives
became tough for a while, they could look at themselves in the mirror and sleep
at night knowing they’d done the right thing. We all deserve the same peace of
mind. Choose right over easy.


4. Listen to your Gut

Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book Blink
publicized what most of us already knew—sometimes that gut feeling is the right
feeling, even if we don’t know why. If perfectly logical choices—to take a job,
date someone, or purchase something—have our stomachs in knots, we need to
examine that red flag. Many times what we can’t consciously explain can be the
difference between a good choice and something we’ll regret.


5. Understand

Understanding our feelings and how they motivate our behaviors can be the
key to changing personal patterns. We may be surprised by how much of what we
do is based on irrational emotions. Think about that intelligent girlfriend you
know who always dates the wrong men.


6. Feel the pressure

Knowing what is driving the people around us can make a big difference in
the way decisions are made, and the outcomes down the road. Are things being
driven by pride, desire to advance, greed or power trips? Or, is there a truly
sensible reason that the pressure is on? Knowing the answer can help you move
forward or stand clear of unnecessary stress and drama.


7. Know your motive

Deciding something to keep up with the Joneses, because it’s what our
parents want, or to prove something to somebody, can be the right course of
action, but only if we understand what we are doing. Looking at our personal
motives behind a decision can help us evaluate if it is a good choice. If the
answer to “Why am I doing this?” isn’t a motive we’d be proud of, it is time to
re-evaluate that decision.


8. Decide not to decide

When it comes right down to A or B, sometimes the right decision is—C.
Simply say, “I don’t care for either at this time” or suggest a third option to
alleviate the pressure and get a better outcome.


9. Flip a coin

When you get down to A or B and flip a coin, it does more than give you a
choice. It shows you how happy you are with that choice. If you get the outcome
and your heart sinks, then you get an instant read on what your gut thought of
the decision.


“Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable
businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Secrets for
Entrepreneurial Women” at

by Tracey Lawton, Online Business Development Strategist

One of the many requests I get from business owners is asking me for my advice on how they can work productively when they’re not in their office, i.e. work remotely. With so many technology choices available today it becomes overwhelming knowing which one(s) are the most effective.

I have the traditional solo service professional office set up – I have a dedicated office space in my home with a desktop PC and wireless all-in-one printer.  But there are times when I don’t want to, or can’t be, in my office and still need to be able to work.  Lately I have been doing a lot of travelling in my business but still want to stay connected to my clients and business.  And sometimes I just need a change of scene, especially when the weather is starting to get so nice it’s lovely to be able to sit outdoors and work off my laptop.

So today I’d like to share with you my top five remote working tools that allow me to get out of my office but still have access to all my “stuff” as though I’m sat in my office.

1.  Gmail – I’m a die-hard Outlook fan and really don’t like the Gmail setup; however for when I can’t be in my office but still need access to my emails and calendar, Gmail is a great way for me to access that information.  When I go away I forward all my emails on to my Gmail account; and I have found this neat tool that syncs my Outlook calendar with my Gmail calendar so that I always have up-to-date access to my schedule.  And I’m also able to access my Gmail email and calendar from my Droid smartphone too, which is another great way for me to stay connected and on top of my schedule.

2. Dropbox – in case you haven’t come across this yet, this is a great service for sharing files between say your desktop PC and your laptop without having to copy from your PC to a flashdrive, and then from the flashdrive to your laptop.  The Dropbox software adds an additional folder to your PC/laptop that you simply drop your files into and you can access from any PC that has the Dropbox software installed.  You can also log in to your account online and access your files from there too.

I also use this service with my clients so that they have access to all of their files too.

3. TeamViewer – I have my husband to thank for this neat piece of software!  This allows me to access my desktop PC from any other PC exactly as if I were sat at it. For example, if I decide I want to go and sit on the deck to work, I simply take my laptop with me and connect it to my desktop using TeamViewer – and I can access EVERYTHING as though I were sat at my desktop.

4. Skype – for years my ‘office’ number has been a SkypeIn number.  This means that I can forward this number on to my cell phone, or install Skype’s software on my laptop, and I’m able to make/receive calls exactly as if I were sat in my office.

5. MiFi – if you’re travelling and you’re in an area that doesn’t have Internet access a MiFi is a mobile wireless router, provided through your cell phone carrier, which allows you to connect to the Internet from anywhere that has a cell phone signal.

So, with all of these tools available to you to enable efficient and productive remote working, these days you can run your business from just about anywhere!

Online Business Development Strategist, Tracey Lawton, teaches online solo service professionals how to create the essential online marketing and office organization systems needed so that they can create a more streamlined, systemized, and automated online business. Check out for how-to articles, resources, tips, and tools, and sign up for your “Office Organization Success Toolkit”.

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