My BIG Change + Nine Reasons To Start Your Own Business On The Side (Part 2)



When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.

Cherokee Expression

This is a continuation of last week’s blog post, but with one important update!


Yep. You read that right. I was notified at 12:15 on Tuesday that my employer made the “tough decision” to downsize and eliminate all of the positions in our software division.

A representative from HR and a senior executive asked me to call in for a “business update” and then made a bunch of vague statements about the reorganization of the company (which made me want to vomit) and then they thanked me for my efforts for the past four and a half years and offered me a severance package.

An 11 minute phone call essentially ended my job and my six-figure corporate income. Just like that!

But you know what? It’s the lightest that I’ve felt for a long time. Because of starting this blog (and offering some coaching/consulting along with it), I have a side income already going.

And I have some savings (always a great thing) along with a severance package that lasts until mid-October. I can now pour all of my efforts into this business full time and I have never felt happier.

Am I a little afraid? Off course! But not the ‘freaking out’ kind of afraid. I’m mostly afraid of not making the most of the opportunity to go out and create what I’ve been blogging about for the past six months.

The truth is that I have simplified my life. I have zero debt, zero car payments and a manageable mortgage payment.

Everything that’s unfolding in my life right now is exactly what I’ve been preparing for and coaching others to do. Other than losing my job sooner than I would have chosen, I am trusting that all the steps I’ve taken recently have prepared me to fully launch my own project. A project that will have a lasting impact on others while allowing me to create a life of freedom through a business with Soul.


Is it a coincidence that I decided to break this blog post into two sections? I honestly had zero clue that was going to be laid off when I wrote the full version of this post last week. And as you can see below, the leading reason for starting your own business on the side is exactly what happened to me. I couldn’t make this up if I tried!

Enjoy the rest of the blog post and I’ll return next week with some perspective on my recent life changes.

Things are about to get really interesting!

Reasons 5 through 9 for Starting Your Own Business on the Side

5) There is no such thing as job security. Many big companies are systematically firing their employees. And the majority of employees are concerned about their job…and if they are going to lose it.

The lucky ones are concerned about how they’re going to get a raise to keep up with inflation or get their full bonus at the end of the year. But there’s a huge swath of people who are mostly just trying to get by.

These people are just grinding it out and trying to make ends meet. They’re less concerned about where they’re going and much more concerned about not being let go from their jobs tomorrow.

Beyond that, there are many people who are unemployed and would welcome the kind of misery that those clock-watchers are enduring. If you look at the global job market, things are not pretty. In Thomas Friedman’s column on July 12, 2011, in the New York Times titled “The Start-Up of You”, he states that the job market is not going to get any better because the jobs of yesterday are simply gone. And the companies with the big valuations aren’t looking for the types of workers that companies have traditionally hired. They’re looking for people who treat their career like a start-up.

And there is also a secret in business today that few big corporations will readily admit: They can do a whole lot with very little. Many of today’s most successful technology companies are made up of less than a handful of employees. They are leveraging technology to accomplish what used to take an army of workers to accomplish.

The time has come for each of us to start thinking about our careers as start-ups and start creating a side income from something we know and care about. It can be hard for people who have had traditional jobs to think like entrepreneurs but now it’s more critical than ever.

6) Your job is not satisfying your needs. The only time I’ve had a job that did satisfy my needs was when I’ve had the flexibility and time to pursue something meaningful on the side. To either write, start a business, have fun, or spend time with friends. When I didn’t have time for those things, I was working too hard, dealing with people I didn’t like, getting my creativity crushed over and over, and so on. When you are in those situations, you need to either make a change or plot out your exit strategy.

Your hands are not made to type emails all day long. Or go to boring meetings that you don’t really care about. Or hold a phone up while you talk to people you dislike. You have to make wonderful use of those hands now. Kiss your hands so they can make magic.

One can argue, “Not everyone is entitled to have all of those needs satisfied at a job.” That’s true. But since we already know that the salary of a job won’t make you happy, you can easily modify lifestyle and work to at least satisfy more of your needs. And the more these needs are satisfied, the more you will create the conditions for true abundance to come into your life.

7) You are trading your time for money. If you quit, the money flow stops.

If you woke up today and said “How freaking cool, I already made $500 today and I’ve only been awake for five minutes” congratulations, time is your friend, not your enemy.

The fact is, many business owners buy time though legacy creation while the rest of us sell our time through a job.

If you ever want to lead a rich life (having both time and money on your side) you must not only own your own business, it must be the right kind of business where time becomes your ally.

For example, the digital internet course that Chris Guillebeau just created called Adventure Capital, doesn’t require much of his ongoing time after he created it. People can access the course 24/7 whenever he makes it available to the public. He makes income from the value he created one time.

That is legacy.

And legacy makes money and puts time on your side, instead of against you.

This is crucially important because most businesses are just poor disguises for a job. If you have a business where you trade time for dollars, quit fooling yourself: you have a job. Your business simply employs you instead of someone else. If your clients disappear, so does your job and your income. That’s NOT legacy.

A legacy exists when you are checked out and the income continues to flow. Go for legacy baby!

8) You were lied to about college. More than 50% of graduating seniors can’t get jobs right now. And for the first time ever there is over a trillion dollars in student loan debt. The government was really nice to back that debt.

But they forgot to tell you: you can’t get rid of that debt. Not even in bankruptcy. Hmm, so jobs are going down, income is going down, debt is going up.

You’re a slave. Now that you’re stuck underneath a pile of inescapable debt, you have to do whatever they say and live with it.

9) There is a way out. You have to hustle. It’s hard. But there’s nothing else. You have to choose between the path of working a job or being an entrepreneur. This may sound funny but you have to stay physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy. What avenue is going to allow you to do this?

Decide now and begin moving forward.

– Michael

P.S. If you’ve ever experienced an unexpected job loss, how did you react and move forward?

4 thoughts on “My BIG Change + Nine Reasons To Start Your Own Business On The Side (Part 2)

  1. erin h

    No. Way. Tuesday at 12:15? You are so ready to rock and roll! When I was laid off in Nov 2011, I indeed felt sick, elated, scared and lost! I went to India 4 months later and since then, I can’t really stomach the “old way of thinking” aka, sit in a chair and stare at a computer…

    1. Michael Knouse Post author

      Pretty crazy stuff indeed! Now I really get to practice what I’ve been talking about (gulp)!

      Thanks for the vote of confidence! I appreciate it probably more than you realize. Funny how big changes can really stir things up and set in motion a whole new life.

      Thanks for sharing, Erin!

  2. Chris Hagerty

    Oh, Michael, dear … I’m so sorry to hear this just happened, on their terms & not yours, but it’s obvious you’ve been gearing up for this. I have a feeling that the timing, the “push”, will prove to be absolutely perfect for you! You have situated yourself for this and I look forward to hearing more about YOUR story in the your blog of the entrepreneurial adventures you create, personally!

    See you really soon! We can celebrate your new-found freedom from corporate bureaucracy, and yak about the possibilities ahead. Drinks on us! Your adoring step-mother-in-law, Chris

    1. Michael Knouse Post author

      Chris – Thanks for the encouraging comments! In many ways I do know that I’ve been getting ready for this. It just happened a little quicker than I thought. I guess the lesson here is to be careful what you ask for! 😉

      This experience just adds a little more character to my ‘story’. It’s a very exciting time and you and Jim are shining examples of what it means to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset and that it’s totally possible to design a life you love.

      Can’t wait to see you guys!

      Hugs – Michael


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