But take it from me, a ten-year veteran self-employed creator: If you are looking for security or reassurance, I do not recommend this line of work. However, if you are burning with curiosity — if your heart and intuition lead you to do things that don’t make sense—well, then you don’t really have a choice in the matter, do you?
Agreed. I left the corporate world over 7 years ago, and Silicon Valley about a year ago. I was also a designer (and product leader).
I loved my teams and I enjoyed the act of creation, but there is a lot about the corporate life that was pointless (and sometimes insane).
When I first left the 9–5 world, I thought that I would get another “real job.” But, as the months passed by and I realized that I could redefine my career to do more of what I loved and less of what I hated, I knew that I could never go back.
I did the startup thing for a few years. Loved my team and the experience of learning and doing everything from start to finish. But, it came at a steep price. I didn’t become a billionaire either. Instead, I lost over half a million in that pursuit. Ouch.
Now I’m finally doing even more of what I love by helping people transform their own careers to be happier and more successful. I’m also able to spend serious time writing, which is something I had always placed on the back burner.
As you say, it is indeed not a lifestyle that most people would feel comfortable pursuing. It is risky, full of unknowns, and requires a lot of sacrifices.
But, if you’re the kind of person who needs this degree of freedom in your work and life, you will eventually find yourself on this path nonetheless.
Best of luck, David!