Requesting quick feedback on draft outline of The Book

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Whisper I wrote to all of you a few weeks ago that I was getting serious and finally writing my book.  Many jaunts of procrastination, indecision, jolts of caffeine and crinkly foreheads later, I have pieced together an outline which I would like to run by you.  Keep in mind it is a first draft.

When I wrote the original post, a number of you asked if I would share progress of the book on the blog as I wrote it a la Naked Conversations and The Long Tail. (I laugh as I place my book in the same sentence as these bestsellers, but hey, a girl has to have a dream.)  I think this is a great idea, as you can help me shape and refine the book since so many of you are living through what I am writing about!  I just ask a few favors:

  • Could you make your feedback as specific as possible?  If you hate something, tell me why and what would be better instead of something like "What a stupid thing to put in there!" or "What were you thinking?" 
  • Don’t get too hung up on chapter titles.  I am going for basic content in this phase of the outline and will go for the witty and creative titles later.
  • Please don’t be offended if I don’t respond to each and every comment personally.  I would really love to do this as you have taken valuable time from your life to help me out … it is just that these days, I am barely keeping up with a lot of projects on the burner, a 16 month old underfoot and the realization that I have to spend most of my time writing if I want to get this done.  I will be going down to 3 days a week of babysitting since my bonus son (otherwise known as stepson, he is just so much more than that!) is starting college again next week.  I am trying not to whine, just to apologize for my rudeness in advance.

So now that we have context and snippy, too-much-information disclaimers aside, here goes the flow.  I include a couple of my comments in blue:

The purpose of this book is to provide information, tools, resources and support to smart, creative employees of corporations who have a raging desire to start their own business.  It covers the specific period of time between realizing that your soul will shrivel up and die if you don’t leave your cube to the glorious day when you hand in your letter of resignation to your stunned boss.  Many other books cover the nuts and bolts of starting a business such as getting a business license, creating a marketing plan and hiring good employees.  For this book at least, I will skip those things and deal with the difficult, sticky and confusing time of trying to figure out how to start a business while still working 80 hours a week.

Chapter One:  Rebel Yell – An Open Letter to CXOs:
One of the main reasons I am writing this book is the dysfunction and despair I saw in many years as a consultant to corporations.  Many of you read my "Open Letter" post and agreed that corporate leaders are driving their creative, intelligent employees out the door by their foolish behavior.  My letter was a swan song to my own corporate consulting days, and I want to make good on my promise:

"So now I want to help your employees leave and start their own business.  Regain control of their life.  Feel blood pumping in their veins and excitement in their chest as they wake up each day. "

This chapter will include the context for why I wrote the open letter, the overwhelming response from frustrated corporate employees around the globe, and what I intend to do about it with my book and blog.

Chapter Two:  Why corporations today cannot provide job security, no matter how hard they try
Anyone who thinks that taking a job as a corporate employee today is more stable than generating their own income is in for a rude awakening.  Corporate jobs can be tremendous training grounds for learning about business and management, as well as providing temporary income streams.  But if you look for a long-term, till-retirement-do-us-part work relationship, you are in for intense heartbreak.  This chapter describes what has made corporations constitutionally unstable (such as radically changing marketing conditions, outsourcing, mergers and acquisitions, frequent top management changes and pressure from globalization).  I will include tips for getting the most from your corporate experience while you are still there (some from my "Open Letter to Employees").

Chapter Three:  Start with your life, then your business
My buddies at Startup Nation know that the first step to building a great business is to build a plan for a great life.  You must define what kind of home life will make you happy, healthy and fulfilled before constructing your business.  Otherwise you won’t have any decision criteria for choosing a business that is right for you.  Your business should support your life, not the other way around.  I will cover how to create your life plan in such clear detail that you will become a possessed madperson who won’t sleep until the vision comes true. (if I actually accomplish the goals of this chapter, I should get an extra "0" on my publishing contract, don’t you think?!?  Lord knows I will try.)

Chapter Four:  I know I will be a great entrepreneur, once I figure out what to do!
To survive in corporations today without going completely insane, you must swallow your inner, intuitive voice that expresses your true desires.  How else would you make it through excrutiating 3-hour, 350 PowerPoint slide meetings without throttling someone?  In order to create a business that expresses your purpose to be on earth (a big order, I know, but true), you must re-learn how to listen to your true desires.  I will include ways to identify things that you are passionate about, the type of work that you are meant to do and the type of business that expresses your gifts the best.

Chapter Five:  Figure out the money puzzle
Although we know that corporate life is no longer stable, the one big benefit to working in a cube is the neat benefit package that accompanies your paycheck.  This package is one of the main reasons why miserable employees stay in jobs they hate.  If you want to feel comfortable out on your own, you will need to take a total financial assessment of your life and figure out how to get the compensation and benefits you need as a self-employed person.  You may need to make a plan to pay down debt or cut back expenses while you are in the critical start-up phase of your business.  Until you figure out the money puzzle, your fears will keep you from moving forward with your dreams.  And with good reason.  No one wants to give up a paycheck only to go into debt and see your business whither on the vine.

Chapter Six:  Get your family on board
If you are to make it through the many challenges of owning your own business, you are going to need the support and encouragement of your own family.  To get that, you may need to have many conversations about what the change will mean from everyone’s perspective, what kind of support you need and how to work together.  Your spouse may have deep fears about financial insecurity that need to be addressed, and your teenagers may not be thrilled at suddenly having Mom or Dad work from home.  From the first conversation where you break the news to your spouse to ongoing ways to keep your family connected to your business, this chapter will outline a good way to get your family’s support while supporting your family.

Chapter Seven:  Create a new tribe of friends, mentors and supporters
If you have been a corporate employee for awhile, chances are most of your friends or mentors are employees themselves without a lot of experience starting a business.  In order to move your business idea forward, you must expand your social and professional circle to include successful entrepreneurs, subject matter experts and even angel or venture capitalists.  But how can you do that with a crushing schedule and no clue how to break the ice with unknown people?  It isn’t as scary as it seems, especially today with all kinds of new media, online forums and social networks (including blogs of course – how do you think I met all you nice people?). 

Chapter Eight:  Make a learning plan (god this is an awful title.  Any suggestions that don’t sound so "corporate HR-ish?")
Most corporate employees view "development plans" with distain as they are thinly vieled attempts to make you into less of a free thinking rebel who questions authority and more of a bland corporate drone who cheerfully does as you are told.  This learning plan is a completely different beast and is the true test of your ability to successfully start a business.  How do you specifically define what you need to learn to start and run your new business and obtain this knowledge and skills?  I’ll include a mix of options from internal corporate training classes,mentors, new assignaments, outside classes, conferences and websites.

Chapter Nine:  Prepare for the gutwrenching terror that true change entails
While all this change is very exciting, there will be many moments when you question your own sanity.  You may experience truly terrifying fear, and visit with all the self-doubt, who-do-I-think-I-am anxieties that ever plagued you in your life.  This fear is a critical part of your transition to entrepreneurship and cannot be avoided.  In fact, it is to be embraced as fear is the secret to unlocking your creativity and enthusiasm.  Learn ways to understand, diagnose and snuggle up with your fears so that they don’t push you back into "safe" (which really are unsafe) work situations.

<Chapter Ten: Defining your critical  infrastructure and operation needs(I am debating about including this chapter since it is contained in so many other books.  Do you see it as necessary in this book so that someone won’t have to go searching somewhere else for the info?) What are the critical things you need to acquire or purchase in order to get your business off the ground?  What are the basic technology needs for a home office, what marketing materials can you not do without and what equipment or services are necessary for launching your business?  How much will this cost? 

Chapter Eleven:  How do you get the initial startup funding for your business?
Securing money to start your business is a huge concern of first-time entrerpreneurs.  What are some different ways to get money for your business?  Is it possible to get bank loans if you have no track record as an entrepreneur?  How do you find angel investors or venture capitalists?  Should you fund your business on credit, or will that put you at risk?

Chapter Twelve:  Making the leap
Many people fantasize about the day that they finally give notice to their corporate job and deliver Jerry Maguire-like speeches, or profanity-laden tyrades hurled at their manager and annoying co-workers.  Don’t fool yourself.  Act out your fantasy exit speech in front of your friends and family at home and act like a professional at work.  Learn what you need to do to have a smooth exit from your job, what information and contacts you can and cannot take with you and how to potentially turn your former employer into your first client.


Phew, that’s about all I got in me for now!

I really, really appreciate being able to share this with you at this stage in the game.  I am actually under a real deadline since we will be shopping the book to publishers in New York next month (fun and scary … more on that later!) so if you get a chance to send quick comments in the next few days I would be eternally grateful.

As I sit back, I feel so thankful that I have surrounded myself with so many smart, creative, encouraging, thought-provoking friends through this blog.  It certainly has been a magical mystery tour and I am so glad you are along for the ride.

Enjoy your weekend!


P.S.  If you would prefer to call to tell me your comments, I would be happy to talk.  Just send me an email and I will give you my phone number and Skype details.

P.P.S.  Spellcheck in Typepad is taking forever for some reason and my babysitter is going to turn into a pumpkin in 5 minutes.  So forgive the misspellings (or is it mispellings?)

P.P.P.S.  I also don’t know why the "email this … subscribe to this feed, etc. showed up in the middle of the post under Chapter One.  Ignore it!

36 Responses to “Requesting quick feedback on draft outline of The Book”

  1. Ric says:

    Is it on Amazon yet?

    On chap 10 – if you don’t include this sort of information ( and there ARE a lot of existing resources around) then make the dead-tree equivalent of link-love, and tell your readers where to find it – it DOESN’T hurt to send your readers away, paradoxically – the more you do, the more likely they are to return.

  2. Links for the Week — August 26, 2006

  3. Two things I’d add based on my experiences…

    1) Unentangling from employers who see you as competition
    2) Disaster plans…


  4. Alvin says:

    Hi Pam,

    I’m currently a full-time employee with a dream for starting his own business but no idea how to bridge the gap. Your book sounds enticing enough to me (especially at how practical it sounds…almost like a work book)that I’d love to get it 🙂

  5. Pam, I think it’s an excellent outline.

    All great comments so far so I won’t try to improve on that.

    I agree with moving chapter 6 forward – I would put it after chapter 3. And leave the technical stuff in chapters 10 & 11 as an appendix. There if you want it, but not actually part of the book.

  6. Tina says:

    So so love this Pam! I think you are hitting the ‘timing’ of this whole process quit-your-job-to-start-a-business in such a beautiful and needed way – “between realizing that your soul will shrivel up and die if you don’t leave your cube to the glorious day when you hand in your letter of resignation to your stunned boss”. LOL, that’s awesome.

    How about making those tactical chapters 10 & 11 into appendices instead? I agree it’s great to have them in the book but they don’t really fit the ‘flow’ of what you are creating here.

  7. Beatrice says:

    Hi there,

    Overall I like the outline…but then I haven´t read very many books aiming to inspire the
    entrepreneur in each of us – so I could not judge where it is different and stands out….

    My main comment refers to the first chapter…
    I am not sure that you need to elaborate too much on the issue of fake job security…
    At the end of the day I believe we all know that there is none anyhow.

    I might be totally wrong, but I think that the prime driver for throwing your self into self-employment is wanting to be the driver of your (professional) life. Security – even the fake one – is certainly an important element in the struggle to get there….But if someone really wants to set out he will overcome it eventually. On the other hand I don´t think anyone can be convinced to become self-employed. For those maybe the the fake security is like a self-made protection against too much indepence! …Some people just don´t want to break out or be self-employed (it doesn´t drive them) …and most likely they will not read your book or not act upon it.

    So basically I would keep that chapter very brief as I think I will not contain breaking news for your prime readers…..
    Sorry if this is very direct :-)….obviously this is only my opinion after a very quick read….

    The rest looks really appealing ….I am definately looking forward to reading the book at some time in the future 🙂

    Best, B

  8. Rod says:


    You mentioned having problems with the working title of Chapter Eight. Instead of “Making a Learning Plan”,
    how about “Drawing the Learning Map”?

    Knowledge is a treasure, and those of us who actively seek it are prospectors. In the process of preparing ourselves to seek such knowledge, we have first to find the tools to do so, just as any old frontier prospector would dare not leave his homestead without a shovel and a pick.

    From that perspective, that which we have to learn in order to bring any goal to fruition becomes more of a treasure map than a learning plan, with all the adventure of the former, without the aseptic connotations of the latter…

    Happy prospecting!

  9. Sounds good… (a rather trite comment 🙂
    I enjoy your blog!

  10. Sarah says:

    So, when can we buy this?

    Seriously, I think you’ve got something great here that’s different than all the “small biz 101” books. I’m a librarian pondering starting a side business as a freelance research consultant, and I must admit your blog is one of the things that made me start thinking I might have what it takes to pull this off. Now, with the fangirl stuff out of the way… 🙂

    Chapter 1
    I agree you can probably combine both the intro and the first chapter–the summaries seem like they’re covering a lot of the same turf.

    Chapter 2: It’s not fortune 500 or nothing. I’ve made myself a cozy (if occasionally frustratingly slow) little niche in academia. Before that I did a stint working for the state while I was in grad school and licking my wounds from the telecom bust. All possible career paths have pros and cons, and one should at least briefly consider the options available.

    Chapter 6: I think you need to hit this sooner. Your loved ones are by definition your biggest investors in your new enterprise, and if you do not get them on board (especially about the neccessary sacrifices that will come with startup) and get them engaged early, you’re doomed to fail, and frankly you’ll deserve it.

    Chapter 8: I agree–promising chapter, awful title. Thoughts: “knowing what you don’t know”, “Climbing the Learning Curve”, “Build your own MBA-dventure”
    –yes, the last one’s corny,but eye-catching perhaps?

    Chapter 9–As a risk-averse little Librarian, I need this one NOW. I’m getting queasy and I haven’t even decided on a business plan yet.

    Chapter 10: I can see keeping it or dumping it, mainly because it’s generally covered in an industry-specific start-up guide. However, there are some basic issues that many people have to consider. I definitely think if you don’t keep it, you need to explain in the intro/whatever that you didn’t cover that issue, and WHY you didn’t. (and maybe include some industry-specific guides in your resource guide at the end?)

    Chapter 11–make sure you note that start-up loans are not an absolute must-have depending on the business. In any case, saving up for part or all of those expenses before you leave the W-2 gravy train can be a good dry run for you and your family, and make the sacrifices you’ll face on the way to freedom a little more real.

    Sorry I went on so long, but I hope the constructive tips are useful, and i am looking forward to this book!

  11. Shane says:

    Hi Pam,

    In the introduction you mention covering the “sticky and confusing time of trying to figure out how to start a business while still working 80 hours a week.” But I don’t see a chapter on this.

    While I’m working at my current job I’m 100% dedicated to doing my job and doing it well. My pride and reputation depend on it. I’m being paid by my employer to do work at their site, not to build my new business while juggling my current projects. [Ethical dilemma that I won’t cross.] So I’d really be interested in ways to get started on my new business outside of the normal 50 hours/week I spend on my current job. Especially since my current job is 8am-5pm, which is the key hours my perspective new clients would want me available to work on their projects.

    Looking forward your thoughts on this.

  12. Jeff H says:

    I’m salivating. Your outline sparks the entrepreneur camp in my head/heart!

    Regarding Chapter 10, I’m going to dissent from the crowd-I would leave it out. All startups will require different infrastructure-some none at all. Not everyone needs a desktop publishing solution, a backup solution, a wireless network, a faxing service, etc. Further, these problems and solutions change constantly. I would leave this writing to a more timely and situational media such as magazines or blogs.

  13. Brian says:

    The outline looks great Pamela.

    I had always dreamed I would own my own business (always – since age 7 or 8), and in 2002 the company I was working for closed their doors with two hours notice. I had no savings to speak of, but I was one employee that was excited about the events of that afternoon. Within 7 days I had filed all the papers, and started my own software and web development company. As you will point out in chapter 2, your security – in someone else’s hands – is no security at all. Job security in 2006 is an illusion.

    Well, anyway… Enough about my story. I hope you might find some value in my thoughts expressed below.

    Chapter 7:
    This is probably going to be one of the most valuable parts of the book in my opinion.

    Chapter 8:
    I see two possible focuses for this chapter.
    1. How do you learn what you don’t know you don’t know? You’re cater all your family and friends’ weddings, but what do you know about running a catering business?
    2. How to keep yourself valuable through continuing education in your field. “Sharpening the Saw” as Carla pointed out.

    Chapter 10:
    If you’re going to include chapter 10, PLEASE make it different than the information contained in all those other books. I’ve read so many of these books and that chapter always feels like page-count-filler to me. Perhaps you could talk about ways to reduce the start up cost, or at least spending their limited capital intelligently.

    My hints would be:
    1. You absolutely need business cards, but take some time (or find someone else) to make them real hard-working marketing tools. And remember, as far as print/paper quality goes, you get what you pay for.

    2. You most likely do not need letter head stationary. Yes, industry exceptions do apply.

    3. As Fred pointed out… you have to think about security and backups when it comes to your IT infrastructure. Depending on your industry, a good infrastructure plan can lower the cost of your liability insurance.

    4. Only buy what you need when you need it, not before. A network-attached printer is wonderful to have ( I really want one ), but do you need it yet? You have to ask yourself, “Will it save me time or money?” Remember all those dot-com bankruptcy auctions? They had some great toys for sale!

    5. Do you need a website? Most likely yes, but not every business will benefit. Gasp! Again…remember… you get what you pay for. Find a web designer that believes in form following function… and that “function” is to help generate new business, qualify leads, and to aid in the service of your existing clients. Would it be worth it to hire a copywriter in addition to a web designer? Many times, yes.

    Chapter 11: Preface
    Before taking someone else’s money…STOP… and think about it. Is this absolutely necessary for my business?

    Chapter 12:
    Lesson #1: It’s a small world, so… Never burn a bridge! How many entrepreneurs find themselves contracting with their former employer as a consultant?

  14. Great outline. Chapt 8 could be the “Cubicle Free Curriculum” too.

    I also like the one comment around having emotional support and structure. How to handle self-management as you work to implement your plan. And, making sure your business, marketing, and life plan is clear and actionable so you don’t have to think, judge, evaluate, worry on an hourly basis but rather set distinct timelines as to when you’ll step back & evaluate the success of your efforts.

  15. robert says:

    Sensational outline.

    Re: Chapter 8 title:
    Whatever it is we will be doing. you will be telling us that we have to make a plan (step it out/timeline) if possible and to work to learn according to a plan.

    I’d say it as it is or call it “The Learning Curve”

  16. A couple of ideas for Chapter 8 title:
    “Figure out what you need to know”
    “Map out your e-ducation”
    “Your road to mastery”

  17. robert says:

    Forget the intro. You say it all in Chapter1.

  18. wilbur says:

    Hi Pamela

    Your book deserves to do well. I’m sure there are millions round the world who’ll be encouraged to read your words.

    I only have one specific suggestion. Many of the corporate cubicle-bound people I have met in my long career in business (corporate and enterprise imagine a need for stacks of money to start on their own. It was not my experience in starting up and don’t believe that money is the main limiting factor. So you may like to think about something about ways to get going on a shoestring. Financial bootstrapping can be done by anyone. Rather than lecturing here, you can see my views at
    best wishes and please let me know when the book’s out!

  19. Powerful outline. Definitely a book I would buy.

    I second the suggestion about what to get for a small office/home office. You may also want to include something about setting up a separate e-mail address just for work, so it’s easier to separate things. Kind of a soho primer, if you will.

    Can’t wait to read the book!

  20. Hi Pam;

    I find the profile of your “book-to-be” great.

    IMHO, I would like to see, on chapter eigth, or in another place, a special place for “passion”.

    My prefered contemporary philosopher, Karl Popper, once said: “The best thing that can happen to a human being is to find a problem, to fall in love with that problem, and to live trying to solve that problem, unless another problem even more lovable appears”.

    If one wants to be independent, and truly be helpful to others, and so helpful that those others want to pay us for our services, we must try to be excellent in what we do, excellence – like virtuous music players – is a product of training, experience, reflection, discipline, dreaming, … one must love with passion that subject.

  21. Christian says:

    Chapter 8 suggestion that is a gimmick but not so HR-ish: “Learn or Die”. (A plausible ode to skateboarding mantras and the ‘future of learning’ that has no sissy-heart for those who simply want to be on spin-cycle re: outdated skill sets, job security, and elder paradigms of the premise of work).

    Might be worthwhile to cop a few gems from Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, a la the ‘conceptual mind’ business and the new needs to design, experiment, be symphonic and empathetic, in whatever ‘professional’ journey you’re on.

    All the very best as you leap into the book-by-blog waters. Truly looking forward to seeing good things come your way and the rest of us benefiting from the good read.

    Cheers, Christian

  22. Chris says:

    I’d buy it just for CH. 3. I’ve been trying to come up with a better name for Ch. 8, but haven’t yet, I’ll let you know if I do. Maybe something like, a plan for learning the ‘fundamentals’.

  23. “Sharpen the Saw” has already been used in this context, by Covey in the 7 Habits.

    Pam, can I have chapters 7 & 9 now? 🙂 I’m trying to get things started (already out of the cubicle, alas) and these are central to some of my stresses.

  24. John Fritz says:

    Chapter 8: Master your Craft. What do you need to learn to achieve the next level of expertise….once you get to that level, what comes next? Use your martial arts experience to underscore perpetual need to learn, train and master the skills of entreprenuerism.

    Go Pam Go!

  25. Quick couple points, Pam. Love what you’re doing and the way you do it, etc. Chapter 9 for some reason had me repeating Make an Earning Plan…don’t know why. Chapter 10 definitely needs to be included. People want to know what infrastructure you use, etc. not everybody’s else’s. Also, you could make this easier by including 10-20 short emailed interview responses from experts on what they think are essentials (blogs, ezines, Kick Start Cart, for example…) Just some quick thoughts here before I go play tennis. Have a great weekend!

  26. Carla Golden says:

    Pam, I have often used the term “Sharpening the Saw” referring to learning (Chapter Eight). It comes from the story of two lumberjacks who were competing in a contest to see how many trees they could cut down in a set period of time. The one spent a significant amount of time sharpening his saw before beginning to chop and he took time during the contest to resharpen it. The other lumberjack did not. Guess who won? Sharpening our saw, learning through workshops, mentors, reading, etc. helps us to be better at what we do or want to do.

    Your outline looks great! Good job!


  27. Michael says:

    Sounds fascinating. Could you perhaps focus more deeply on the part where you advise how to figure out what kind of business to start? It might be the most important part for students – not only employees don’t want to work for corporations.

  28. I like it! Having left my corporate job in health care only 3 months ago it looks like you have addressed just about everything. I agree about hitting the high points of technology and referring readers to other sources for the details. For one thing, technology changes so rapidly that whatever technical details you put in will be irrelevant very soon. I think what you are writing has the makings of a timeless classic so I would suggest making the information of the timeless sort.

    I also especially like the focus on designing your life first. I coach successful women entrepreneurs who forgot to focus on their life along the way and there is a real danger in letting the business take over life. They may not listen, but they can’t say you didn’t warn them.

    Overall, great job!

  29. Escape from Cubicle Nation

    Pamela Slim (…) publicĂł ayer una entrada en la que pide ayuda para mejorar el enfoque del libro que quiere escribir sobre quĂ© hacer desde que te das cuenta de que no quieres seguir trabajando por cuenta ajena, hasta que entregas tu carta de baja …

  30. How about a chapter devoted to incorporating social and environmental values into your business? The beginning of a new company is the BEST time to make sure you have clear priorities in place–beyond just escaping from your cubicle and turning a profit. As entrpreneurs, we have a unique ability to shape our business to mirror our own personal values, but it has to be a formal part of the business planning process to be really valuable (and financially strategic).

    Do you care about energy, recycling, “green” purchasing, human rights, diversity, community development, fair trade, etc.? Asking the right questions can help clarify how to start a socially and environmentally responsible business.

    (Incidentally, there are several brand new resources on this topic, which I would be happy to share if you’re interested.)

    And I echo the suggestion above about writing something about a graceful exit strategy. Whether that means tweaking a marketing strategy or abandoning the whole idea–just knowing the options gives me an extra sense of security.

    Also, I think it is always nice to have little “testimonials” peppering how-to books. I would encourage you to have 15-20 short blurbs from people who have tackled the issues you’re discussing. Just make sure they represent a WIDE group of industries. There is nothing more frustrating than reading example after example from IT companies when you do something totally different.

    Thanks for letting me comment!

  31. HiPam,

    I like the outline. It’s a great start.

    Suggestion to replace title for Chapter Eight : Make a learning plan (god this is an awful title. Any suggestions that don’t sound so “corporate HR-ish?”)

    How about: Develop Your MBE Curriculum & Start Classes

    where MBE = Masters of Business Entreprenuer

  32. Nathan says:

    Will chapter 2 also talk about how it’s actually much safer to have multiple clients, businesses, and revenue streams?

    A chapter on how to fail gracefully (exit strategies, changing business models, etc…) might be helpful. This flexibility is what is so great about not working for the man. You’re nimble because you don’t have to have a month of meetings to figure out who has permission to take action.

  33. rick gregory says:


    Good outline. I’d consider addressing some of the issues in Ch 11 earlier, perhaps in ch 5 with a mention of details to come. For example, seling to family will be lots easier if you’ve thought about funding the company. And don’t forget funding via your first customers.

    A couple of other things…

    There are other choices besides working for a large F500 and running your own thing. Maybe some discussion of options like working for a startup or small company and when those might be the right choices… kind of like ‘how to tell if you really want to run your own business’.

    Regarding the technology… I’d cover principles vs details. For example, security, backup, disaster recovery (your home office burns… all your backups are there… ooops), contingency planning (power goes out and your cable modem is down… do you just not work or do you take the laptop somewhere and connect? Where??) etc. remind them to thnk of technology as an investment… not a frill. Most corporate people won’t have thought of the business issues involved in technology – they just come in and it’s there.

  34. Scot Herrick says:

    Hi Pam,

    On Chapter 10, or perhaps a different chapter, I’d suggest talking about the “emotional” infrastructure you need to have to do the work every day, especially just starting out. What will you be afraid of? How will you know (or define) success? What happens when you hit the first down experience?

    In other words, what would a newbie emotionally experience starting out the first three months or so doing the new work? And how to work through that.

    Nice going on this…thanks for sharing.


  35. Paul says:

    >Chapter Eight: Make a learning
    >plan (god this is an awful title.
    >Any suggestions that don’t sound so
    >”corporate HR-ish?”)

    How about:

    Chapter Eight: What you don’t know – and how you’re going to learn it

  36. Pamela,
    I like your book outline. I escaped from the world of the Fortune 500 six years ago.

    Being a certified networking nerd, I think would like to offer some thoughts on Chapter 10. While it may be of minimal value to readers to repeat the basics one needs for a small office (PC, Internet, a quiet dedicated space, file cabinets, shredder, printer, etc), there might be a reason to mention a few technolgy upgrades that can boost productivity.

    A few of the ones on my list include:
    1) A network-attached laser printer. All PC’s on your home network can share this printer, and laser printers are faster and cheaper to operate.
    2) Wireless access point (with security please). This is very nice if your primary PC is a laptop with wireless capability.
    3) Broadband Internet connectivity, of course — but here is the controversial part. Consider asking for a fixed IP address. Then buy a business-grade firewall with real VPN capability. Bribe your network-geek friend to configure it for you. Then, securely access your home PC(s) from anywhere in the world using a laptop with a VPN client and the remote desktop feature of Windows XP.
    4) USB-attached hard drive(s) that you can use to back up your computer. Do this weekly. If you have two of these, you can rotate one off site somewhere (such as a Bank Safe Deposit box).