|Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur
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Despite grim headlines about the economy, you DON?T have to stay in a job you intensely hate. There?s a better opportunity waiting out there, and escaping from cubicle nation is easier than you think.
Pamela Slim spent a decade traveling all over the country as a self-employed trainer for large corporations. She was surprised to find that many of the most successful employees at these companies harbored secret dreams of breaking out to start their own business. They would pull her aside after a meeting and whisper, ?I would love to work for myself, but have no idea how to get started. How did you do it??
So Pamela started a blog?Escape from Cubicle Nation?to share her experience and advice. Soon, questions and stories poured in from corporate prisoners around the world. As her blog gained popularity, she also interviewed some of the brightest experts in entrepreneurship on topics from finance to branding to marketing via social networks.
This book includes Pamela?s very best material, based on thousands of conversations and reader submissions. It provides everything you?ll need to consider before making a major change?not just the nuts and bolts of starting a business, but a full discussion of the emotional issues involved. Pamela knows firsthand that leaving corporate life can be very scary, especially if you have a family and other obligations. Fears and self-defeating thoughts often hold people back from pursuing an extremely gratifying solo career.
Get ready to learn your real options, make an informed decision, and maybe, just maybe, escape from cubicle nation.
- It's more fun to read Dilbert than work there
This book is for anyone who has ever read a Dilbert comic strip, realized the joke in the strip actually happened to you last week, and experienced the cubicle-felt hand of fear closing about your heart.
Escape From Cubicle Nation won't give you a magic way out (there isn't one), nor will it fill you with fluff and rainbows (go watch puppies for that). What it does give is practical advice on how to identify what you would rather be doing, how to evaluate it as a successful career, and then how to make it happen.
How do you develop your ideas and goals? Should you have a business plan? What legal items should you consider? How do you cope with the uncertainty and fear? All of these and more are answered with Pam's considerable insight and personal experience. If you are serious about leaving your cubicle, then buy this book.
If you're happy in your cubicle, then keep reading Dilbert. He's never going to run out of material....more info
- truly inspiring and informative
What can I say about this book? First of all, Pam's voice is perfect. She's warm and friendly without being too "woo-woo". Reading her words is simply enjoyable.
Onto the content (I love the reviewer who said "Pam puts the 'how' in how-to"--that's exactly it!)...
The amount of information included in the book is staggering. Pam clearly knows her stuff. She gives detailed action plans for starting your own business, and for making that transition out of the cubicle. And yet she also addresses the deeper uncertainties we all have, those that are more difficult to quantify. (You can tell by her approach that she's both a life coach *and* a corporate trainer, her backgrounds combined cover the whole spectrum.)
I found this book inspiring and informative as I think about moving on to a new stage in my professional life. I can't imagine another book I'd recommend as highly for those wanting to make that escape from cubicle nation. Thanks, Pam!...more info
- Want to Take Back Your Life? Yes, You Can!
Pamela Slim knows how to get real: she refined her coaching skills volunteering with gang members and working with executives, and now she's offering her toughness and smarts to the rest of us. Escape from Cubicle Nation distinguishes itself within a crowded genre.
Advice from a person whose read 'em all: if you liked the 4-Hour Workweek (but aren't quite that cocky), Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow (but have a strong sense of realism), and Road Trip Nation (but are more encumbered and more experienced than those 20-something intrepid adventurers), you will LOVE this one. I promise. ...more info
- The Must-Read Life and Career Book
Thinking about leaving the so-called "security" of the corporate world? If so, don't make a move until you read this book. You need direction. You need inspiration. You need an authentic voice from someone who's been there and done that. But, most importantly, you need to understand why and what you want to do with your future. You need a plan and this book will provide you with the tools to start building a solid foundation from which to make that happen.
Pam Slim speaks from experience. She escaped from the cubicle and lived to tell about it. What better qualified person to give down-to-earth practical, applicable advice that you can use -- right now -- to start taking those first steps down the path towards your dream.
Escape from Cubicle Nation is a realistic, grounded, authentic journey from anxiety to affirmation. As you read through the content-rich pages, you'll be nodding your head in agreement as you hear the stories of others who want to escape or who have already. You'll be sighing as you think about "oh, how true this is," and you'll be smiling at the light humor that Pam provides throughout as she shares her own heartfelt stories of challenge and triumph.
This is a tell-it-like-it-is book. No fluff. No promises of riches, fancy cars, or overnight success. The path to success is first paved with personal introspection and careful thought, playful curiosity, guidance -- and a plan! Don't jump until you have done the homework to know where you might possibly land. Read the "guide" to make sure you've thought through the impact of your actions -- on you, your family, and your future.
I wish I had a book like Escape from Cubicle Nation when I left the tech industry over seven years ago. What a difference it would have made. Not only will I use this book to remind me of what else I can be doing right now to further my own dreams, but also I'm using it with my coaching clients who are either thinking of moving from executive to entrepreneur or who've made the move, but want another perspective.
And, if you've been fortunate to have escaped to the life of your dreams, there's still much value to be gained from these pages of wisdom -- that's the beauty of this book.
It's like having your own personal coach that gently takes your hand and shows you the path ahead. But, still it's your decision because only you know what's right for you. And the best way to determine that is to have as much information as possible, a roadmap, if you will, to help you figure out the best way for you to go forward.
There's no better time to get started than right now. Whether you've been laid off or still employed, there's great value to be gained.
Delightful in every way, Escape from Cubicle Nation is this year's must-read life and career book, and will definitely become a legacy reference for all those who will have the courage to follow their bliss.
- Good guidebook for making the leap
Escape from Cubicle Nation definitely is a cut above most books on starting a business -- increasingly a necessary step as companies cut back and executives face age discrimination. Author Slim manages to be realistic without scaring readers and her upbeat humorous writing is delightful.
Slim has studied with Martha Beck and the first part of the book reminded me of Beck's own book, Finding Your Own North Star. The chapter on "Reality of Entrepreneurship" was excellent. I like the refreshing way Slim is not afraid to criticize icons, such as those who say "follow your passion" as well as the whole MLM scene. It's about time someone said those things in a business book.
I also liked the section on telling friends and family. I'm not an expert on families so I can't evaluate the suggested discussion scripts. I'd like to see even more emphasis on the challenges of losing a familiar support group and dealing with the in-between time before another one shows up.
Slim rightly emphasizes the need to sock away six months of living expenses (I'd say two years). Her specific money-saving tips are excellent.
(1) Slim acknowledges that she spends 90% of her time with clients discussing choosing a market. In my experience, successful entrepreneurs have a gift for finding the sweet spot where what a market wants meets what they can offer. I'd have liked to see far more emphasis on market and marketing. The section on prototypes is very good but doesn't go far enough, especially with the sub-head of finding a niche.
(2) I don't know any successful people who will serve as mentors without charging. You have to be prepared to pay. One of my own clients wanted a mentor for a retail business. Having been successful in one arena, he knew what to do. He found a successful business owner in another city (so he wouldn't be competing) and offered to pay a significant sum for mentoring. He never attempted to get free help.
Agencies (such as the SBA in the US) and adult education courses offer help but the quality is uneven. You may get lucky or you may waste a lot of time.
The section on outsourcing mentions coaches but hiring a coach can be a critical decision - on a totally different level from hiring a virtual assistant or designer. I would say that after knowing the market, choosing the right mentors is the biggest and most critical decision you can make.
(3) I'd like to see more discussion of actually leaving the cubicle nation. My own clients talk about challenges like finding time to get started while you're working long hours, dealing with conflict of interest requirements (some companies have draconian policies on part time work), and shifting your mindset from employee to entrepreneur. You really need to keep your plans secret till you've gotten enough momentum for liftoff. And some people need an in-between job that brings in income without being too distracting.
(4) I agree that a "live anywhere" business offers many attractive choices. But you need to investigate specific aspects of business tax and regulatory policies before moving. You also have to recognize the dangers of feeling isolated when you're surrounded by people with different values. Sadly, when there's a lower cost of living, there's usually a reason. This topic could be a whole book, too.
Bottom line: It's a good starting place with lots of practical advice and food for thought. The value of a comprehensive book is that you get a fast overview of just about all the issues. Just be aware that you'll need to go into much greater depth as you move along.
- Great handbook for thinking through how to be in business for yourself
Most of my working life has been working on my own or with a partner running our own companies. Some have done well, others not so good. Even between companies I have used my personal expertise to provide income for my family. I have talked to a lot of people over the years who like the idea of not having a boss and think that being an entrepreneur is all about freedom. Well, I usually disabuse them. Every customer is your boss. What you do get is the freedom to go after the work that most interests you. But if you do go on your own you will find challenges and responsibilities that you had never dreamed of working for someone else. Oh, I think it is worth it. Just don't think it is easy street or a life of care free independence.
Of course, some of you are now on your own involuntarily and unexpectedly. As you look for another gig, you might consider your own company. Just consider it. I think that by doing some disciplined thinking about creating your own company you will at least get a clearer insight into the kind of job that would most interest you and how you can add value by doing it well. That will be a more compelling story for your new boss that merely showing up because you need a job and describing the years of experience you have. Who cares about your experience? What people want to know is what value you can contribute right now.
Pamela Slim has provided a really nice book on what you, as a novice entrepreneur, need to know and consider as you step out of the cubicle farm into the great unknown. The book has sixteen chapters in four sections:
I) Opening up the opportunities: 1) Nice job, still not happy, 2) Unhappy but afraid to leave, 3) cleansing yourself of corporate impurities, 4) employee to entrepreneur, the nitty gritty. This is all good stuff to help you think through if you are really ready to leave and these first steps of transition will involve.
II) Entrepreneurial Realities: 5) The various types of self-employment. 6) How can you spot a good business idea? 7) How to build a team to support and assist you build your business. 8) Changing your life and lifestyle to suit what you really want. Hey, you don't have to build your company where you are living now. It might be more successful elsewhere! 9) What about that business plan? 10) What inspires your brand? 11) Prototypes and tests. Don't bet the farm, and cut losses before they sink you. Stay light on your feet as you work towards success.
III) Money Matters: 12) Look at your finances with a gimlet eye. 13) Getting the benefits for the right price as a small business.
IV) Cliff Diving: 14) Yes, you will have family and friends issues. 15) Lining up those ducks and herding those cats. 16) Checklist for timing the departure and liftoff to success.
I used my own wording for many of the chapter titles. This is a super book and will be extremely helpful to anyone considering building their own business. Heck, it might talk you out of doing it and better you should plunk down the price of the book than lose your life savings in a terrible mistake.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
- Awesome escape plan ... Highly Recommended :)
I have read a LOT of books about starting a business and even some geared toward escaping corporate hell, but I must say that this book is the best of the best. The content in this book is exceptional. As an example, the chapter (page 191) on branding is one of the best 19 pages you will ever read on the topic.
Reading this book is like drinking wisdom from a fire hose. It features numerous examples, case studies, and exercises that make you stop and think. To her own vast knowledge, Pamela provides interviews and perspectives from many of today's best business thinkers; for example: Guy Kawasaki, John Jantsch, Seth Godin, Ramit Sethi, Rich Sloan, Jeff Sloan, Naomi Dunford, Tim Berry, Kathy Sierra, Michael Port, Tim Ferriss, etc.) The end result is essentially a best practices manual for starting a business with emphasis on special considerations when plotting an escape from cubicle nation.
In summary, if I were stranded in a cubicle on a deserted island, this is the book I want. Highly recommended! Thank you Pamela :)...more info
- Must read book for aspiring entrepreneurs
Pamela Slim understands that anything is possible. No longer do you have to be strapped down in a cubicle, even in a bad economy. If you have a good idea, Pamela will give you hope and some strategies you can use to rise up and take control of your life (and your dreams). This is a must read book, even for the little guy!...more info
- Must-Read for All Wanna Be and New Business Owners
I absolutely love Pam Slim's new book. I have been a long time fan of Pam Slim's blog [...] and now her book is here (happy dance all around). I've been devouring it and it is just superb. Just the right balance of practical advice and "follow your dreams" advice. If you want to break out of the cube, already starting up a business, or just want an insider's view of what being a business owner is really all about, you must read this book. Pam's humor and personal anecdotes always make me smirk and they are scattered throughout the book in just the right places to make you dribble your cup of tea. All thumbs up (Even the cats are trying to give it a thumbs up with their hidden claw)....more info
- Ready to make the leap?
When you just can't stand your corporate job anymore, you look for support and guidance about what to do next. This book offers both in spades, with sections on Opening Up to the Opportunities; The Reality of Entrepreneurship; Make the Money Work; and Making the Leap. Some of us are being pushed out of corporate America rather than making a willing leap, but for all those looking for alternatives to 9 to 5 drone jobs, this is a wonderful handbook with advice about dealing with family and finances, and resource lists galore. It's all easier said than done, but Pamela Slim has said it well....more info
- Hits the Spot
Wonderful blog, wonderful book. I have read an embarrassing number of books on finding your life's work and starting your own business. Escape from Cubicle Nation is the best of them all. Pamela's talent is in seeing all aspects of the problem, from emotional to financial. This book covers it all and is inspiring to boot. I can't rate it highly enough!...more info
- Pam puts the "How" in "How-to"
Pamela Slim is a rare gem amongst the plethora of "be happier working for yourself" gurus that are as countless as the cockroaches in the NYC Subway these days.
She scoffs at the notion that this process is either quick or easy, and she openly admits that working for yourself is simply not for everyone. In other words, she tells the truth and earns the price of this book in just the first few chapters.
Her text is readable, her advice actionable, and most importantly (imo, anyway) she explains HOW to go about living a life that is more fulfilling - no matter where it's lived.
Too often, the self-proclaimed gurus give lots of links to technology, or big, formless ideas of stepping out into the world of self-employment, but they are devoid of substance in that gap between "big idea" and "success." That gap is the "How the heck do you make it real?" gap.
Pam fills this gap with exercises to bring clarity and focus. She offers real life examples (sometimes from her own hysterically imperfect life and growth as a businesswoman). She talks about getting stuck and how to destuckify without beating yourself up for getting stuck in the first place.
Even if you're not filled with ideas of starting the next Google, Pam offers numerous ideas and actions that anyone can take to suck the marrow from life and enjoy the living of it....more info