My friend Pam Slim’s book Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur
hits the streets this week. Because I answered four emails she sent out to a group of “advisors” by spilling my life story, Pam sent me an early copy. And because my dog Buppy eats every book sent to me by a friend, I thought I had better take it with me to the gym and find out how I’d enjoy it before he enjoys it.
Well, I got on the exercise bike and got off over an hour later, which was not my intention. But the book is great! Not only has Pam eaten her own dog food (to carry this dog metaphor further), but she writes in the open, entertaining style that has made her a champion blogger since Day One.
She’s right on about the good, the bad and the ugly of being an entrepreneur. The good: I was able to read the book in the gym on mid-morning on Monday. The bad, no one’s giving me a paycheck for doing that. The ugly: more and more corporate employees aren’t going to have much choice.
Pam says she realized nothing in life was stable after her father called her to his office in 1994 and showed her that everyone else in his department was gone and he was the only one left. And that traces things back to the first days of the internet. As I am fond of saying to my friends (ad nauseum, to them) “the internet changes everything.”
But, as she also points out, not everybody is cut out to be an entrepreneur. and even if you are, you can’t do it alone. She recomments getting a “tribe,” a group of mentors and advisors to help. She goes into great detail about how to acquire those people, and also says your old tribe won’t do.
And that’s true. In my experience with entrepreneurs, I know that people’s close friends and families are the first to say “you’re crazy” when someone says they want to go into business.
Pam herself went out and got herself Guy Kawasaki, among others. Not only did Guy write the book on startups, but he’s also an early stage VC. And a serial entrepreneur. How did Pam, mother of two in Mesa Arizona, lure in a startup celebrity like Guy? She wrote to him!
Once you make the decision to go out for yourself, there are all kinds of decisions to be made for which you need these advisors. One of the emails I answered of Pam’s while she was writing about this had to do with what kind of health insurance I had.
“Escape from Cubicle Nation” has tips on everything from how to shop for insurance to cash flow management. It’s NOT a motivational book about living your deam (although it is) and it is NOT written for someone who is going to be financed immediately with venture capital (although it is). It’s NOT discouraging, and it’s NOT a sugar pill. It IS something you ought to read if you read Fast Company or have any thoughts about becoming an entrepreneur either by choice or by chance.