We all know what it's like to feel stuck. Working long hours in a job you need, but don't want, feeling as if each hour is time you should have spent pursuing what you love--time you'll never get back.
It's a horrible place to be, and more importantly, it's a suffering you don't have to endure. It's 2016. Tons of people have struck out on their own and are currently working digitally from a beach in Thailand.
Even if you want to stay a little closer to home, there's just no excuse for wasting your time in a job you hate when you could be your own boss.
You only need one thing: A network.
Whether you want to build an app to generate passive income, or you want to get into freelancing, your network is going to have two core pieces: support and referral.
Good Support Puts Hours Back Into Your Day
When people say "network," they think of social media and events. They imagine meeting new prospects and striking up friendships with the well-connected in the hopes of scoring some referrals.
What they forget about is the support network that powers any successful venture. As someone working independently, this is even more critical for you.
You need someone to handle billing and invoices, and you need someone to keep track of your scheduling and processes.
In days gone by, all of this responsibility would have fallen on your shoulders, but this is the digital age we're talking about--there's software to do it for you.
For tracking your time and expenses, as well as handling billing and accounts, use a tool like Harvest. In conjunction with this, subscribe to a service like Process Street that will break down your processes into routine checklists and give you advice on how to improve your productivity by 375%.
Outsourcing this work to software is way more affordable than hiring someone else, and it allows you to focus on the things that fulfill you, instead of getting bogged down by tasks you hate.
Referrals Get Your Customers To Sell Your Work For You
In the world of marketing, word of mouth is king. One recent study found that 84% of customers trusted word of mouth. No other channel scored that high. You need to leverage this in your new life as a solo act.
For example, if you're freelancing, after you finish working with a client, ask them for a list of 5 people they think could use your service.
Even if they aren't willing to go so far as to act as a go-between for you, just getting a name can be a big boost. Extole, a refer-a-friend SaaS platform, found that when approaching a new customer, being able to point to someone in their network that you worked with is all it takes to increase your chances.
If you're going the development route, this is even easier. Just use a service like Extole to create a referral system built into your application, complete with incentive programs and quality landing pages to drive new customers, all with minimal work on your end.
Your Fear Is All That's Stopping You
To make money as a business, whether you're a one-person show or a multinational corporation, you need customers to pay you and people to support you internally. Once you have both of those things covered, the only obstacle left is fear.
Push through it. Remember that if you have the right tools, all you need is the drive to move forward. And it's a lot easier to maintain that drive when you're spending your days on the beach, as opposed to a cubicle.
And if the fear is really too much, well, there's probably a tool for that too.