Have you ever sat at your desk, your email inbox full with requests demanding immediate, life depends on it type attention, and excruciatingly unexciting paperwork work lining up high the edges of your desk? Ever been on the train on you daily commute, disturbingly pressed up close at angles imaginable to your fellow commuters? Ever worked until midnight, because it’s the almighty month end? These were all frequent occurrences for me, and I’m sure for many of you, with varying degrees in scenarios.
Then I started dreaming about the dream… you know, the dream about being your own boss! Being there for my children more, not needing to ask anyone for permission to take the morning off to take them to the doctor etc., seeing the financial rewards of my hard work coming directly to me and my family instead of lining the pockets of the big corporates, and lastly, completely avoiding the need for public transport in rush hour! This all seemed too good to be true! So how was I to achieve all of this? The key in the end was to plan, make short term sacrifices, and to just go for it.
In my case, I was fortunate enough to share the dream with my best friend, whose father in law was a successful gas engineer in Barking, Essex. With him as a mentor, plus copious amounts of online research, we realised the dream was possible! It would involve a year or so of studying, examinations and portfolio work. The sacrifice came with the short term financial downside, which was the cost of studying, buying tools and a work van, plus the reduction in income from eventually quitting my full time city job. For the first half year of studying, I was able to work the studying around my job, but when I ran out of holiday, I realised that it was now the time to leave and focus on gas full time. To generate a little income and start networking, I found a part time job in B&Q in the trade services team, within hardware and plumbing. This was perfect, and fitted in well with studying. Along with some savings to get us by, by the end of the year I was a fully qualified, gas safe registered engineer. But it meant a year of two of no unnecessary spending and holidays etc. At times it wasn’t easy but we persevered.
Changing career paths was an enlightening time in my life, and I would not change a thing. I was lucky enough to have the full support and encouragement of my family along the way, and without them I would not have taken the plunge. I’m now there for the school run, to take the children to their after-school activities, and to settle them in for dinner and homework time. The quality time I have with them now is immeasurable. I want to encourage anyone who is considering changing their career path into self-employment, to just go for it! Of course, a lot of planning is required, especially the financial side of things. If it is not possible to do it immediately, you could save so that you have enough to get you through the transition. Now my days are spent being the best gas engineer in Essex and London that I can be! Boiler repairs, boiler services, boiler installations, you name it, I’m there with a big smile on my face.
Whatever it is you want to achieve, believe me, it is possible. The rewards are endless and the feeling of being your own boss is incredible.