What if it doesn’t work out?

Here is a quick thought based on an email conversation I had with a friend who resigned from his bank today. He’s joining an early stage start-up in the renewable energy sector.

I reckon starting your own business or joining a start-up is a fantastic decision whether it works out or not. And here’s why…

Dom and I have been through the same thought process ourselves and it’s driven by this fear: What if everything goes wrong, the move doesn’t work out, and I can’t support myself via this new venture that I’m working in / on?

We came to this conclusion:

There is no way it will be a bad decision

Put it this way, if you’re unhappy in your job the worst decision you can make is no decision. Staying put when you’re not fulfilled is a bad move. You’ll only upset yourself further, annoy your colleagues, and become a bore to be around!

Obviously you might be staying put to save enough cash (how much is enough though?), get that next promotion, work on your idea in your spare time, etc, etc…

However, once you’ve made the leap – what could end up happening?

1. It works!

Scenario 1… it actually works out. You get to work on something that a) you care passionately about, b) supports you and c) you’ve made happen yourself. Well done for being brave enough to make the leap.

2. It doesn’t work v.1

Scenario 2… it doesn’t work out but you’re in a position to start another business. If you eventually end up starting your own business then this will have been a fantastic learning experience.

3. It doesn’t work v.2

Worst case scenario… it doesn’t work out and you have to go and find another corporate job.

We’ve spoken to lots of employers and recruiters over the past year. We’ve also seen lots and lots of job applications.

Guess what?

The ones that really stand out aren’t the ones who played it safe all the way from A-Levels through Uni and into nice, safe graduate positions (just like Dom and I did) – they’re the ones who stand out from the crowd.

If you’ve done something interesting / entrepreneurial / different as well as your corporate background then you immediately stand out and are probably worth meeting.

Another interesting way to look at it is Dom’s really valid ‘Think of it as doing a Masters’ theory.


Obviously there are challenges, obviously there are financial and career considerations… however, the worst that could happen certainly isn’t as bad as we allow ourselves to believe it could be.

What do you think?

“Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.” – Macbeth, Shakespeare.

  • http://www.macncheeseproductions.com Saya


    I made $375 my first two months of being self-employed. I have horrible health insurance. My retirement savings, well, let’s just hope $883 will go a loooong way come 2043. I scour Chicago alleys for furniture. A guilt-cloud hangs over my head when I go out to eat at a nice restaurant. I’m 32 and still rent.

    But there is nothing better than:
    – 9:30 Thursday morning yoga
    – not worrying about how many vacation days you have left after a two-week Amsterdam trip
    – excursions to the post office or Trader Joe’s when 9 to 5’ers are 9 to 5’ing
    – excitedly staying in on a Friday night to do work
    – lack of Sunday dread, knowing tomorrow is ick, Monday; all the days are the same, in a good way!
    – playing hooky with other self-employed folk
    – making a living playing board games, meeting new people, wearing jeans, helping kids from low-income neighborhoods, crossing off things on my Life To Do List, and hanging out in coffeehouses

    Take the leap! It’s amazing.

    • Rob

      Nice one – thanks for sharing your experiences Saya. Looking forward to the Escape Hero profile!