Is Independence Your Motivation for Career Change?

Happy Book Review Tuesday! Today is week 2 of talking about Alexandra Levit’s new book, “New Job, New You.”

What do you think is the biggest reason people want to change careers? Alexandra Levit found that it was independence.

But this path isn’t as easy as it sounds. The SBA says that two-thirds of new businesses survive at least two years, but only 33% survive four years. Being an independent business owner is, in my opinion, in your DNA.

Is Independence your Motivation for Change?

  • Are you constantly thinking up ideas for new businesses, services, or products?
  • Does having total control of your income appeal to you?
  • Do you tell your friends who complain about their lives that “people have to make their own luck”?
  • Do you find that you’re more productive when you don’t have to stay within the confines of a set schedule?
  • Would your colleagues describe you as a “jack-of-all-trades”?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you may be wired to work for yourself. Next steps?


From what I can tell, this is where many of my peers get stuck. They know they want to work for themselves but they have no idea what business to go into. Then they get frustrated and start to think they will be stuck at a job they don’t like for the rest of their lives.

Before you do that…

  • Go out and get a notebook that you can throw in your work bag. Bring it with you every day. Read this short post (one of my first blog posts!) to find out why. This notebook will help you constantly brainstorm, write down problems you’d like to solve through a product/service, and also serve as a way for you to monitor yourself.
  • Once you gather some of these thoughts together (it could take a while), pick an industry, passion or issue then web out from there.
  • Write down as many problems with each item as you can think of and create a new, prioritized list.
  • Generate a list of solutions.
  • Based on these solutions, come up with a list of potential business opportunities. Remember that they don’t have to be 100% original! No need to re-invent the wheel. You can make a successful business by taking an existing product or service and making it better, or presenting it in a new way.

Test your Concept

This part is SO important! I learned a lot about this from Ramit Sethi‘s pre-earn1k course. If you don’t test your concept before you go live, you are wasting your time and resources. Here are some ideas on how to test your concept:

  • Talk to prospects without selling them anything. Just get feedback.
  • Consider freelancing for your potential customers for free/deeply discounted rates. Not only will you learn if you like doing that type of work, you will learn about issues that will come up and how to deal with them before you start charging the big bucks. You will also ultimately learn if people are willing to pay you for this type of work.
  • Read a shit ton about the industry.
  • Consider your competitors your equals. Go to lunch with them, chat with them about the industry (not about strategy or tactics) and see what problems they are facing. You never know what you can learn.*
  • Trust instincts, but drop bad ideas fast.*
  • Set up Google alerts to monitor what’s going on in the industry, who is saying what, and what companies are doing to serve the customers.
  • Know what you’re good at.*

Share it

Have you thought about starting your own business? Want to get some feedback on your concept? Leave a comment and we’ll leave you feedback. Let us know: your business concept in 2 sentences, who your typical customer is and how you will get your first customer. We’ll give you some feedback.


The *’s under the Test Your Concept section of this post came from a little book written by “Serial Entrepreneur” G.L. Hoffman. Although he’s not publicizing it, he’s selling this little book of wisdom called “Start Up: Tips to Get Your Business Going” for $9.99. This book was worth every penny and I have no doubt that I will get thousands of dollars out of the advice I’m reading in here. The format is a list of 100 short blurbs + 10 things you can do now. I would get this book. Email G.L at or hit him up on Twitter for a copy.



Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.