In 2017 I took part in the 3-day “Einhornmarsch” march in Leutasch (Tyrol). The goal of the march was to complete the marathon distance of 42 km for three days – in mostly bad, rainy weather. This march was no walk in the park and, in retrospect, had surprisingly many similarities with self-employment.
Good preparation makes life easier
Anyone who wants to go on a long march should prepare for it. Ideally with good equipment (shoes, clothes, etc.) and a training plan of several weeks during which the distance is gradually increased. Those who do not do the preparation can still manage to complete the march. However, it will be much more difficult and the risk of breaking off the march during the 3 days will be higher.
The situation is similar with self-employment. A step-by-step preparation helps to create a solid basis for the start into self-employment. However, preparation does not mean having only a business plan. Rather, it is about creating a healthy framework for the set goal. This includes the acquisition of knowledge as well as saving up start-up capital.
It comes differently than you think
During the march, things happen that you didn’t expect – no matter how well you have prepared yourself. Suddenly your foot hurts where it has never hurt before, the rainproof jacket can no longer withstand the constant rain or the terrain is much more difficult than expected. In this case it means improvising with the means at your disposal to reach the next stage.
It is the same with independence. You can have the most sophisticated business plan in the world, but it will always turn out differently than you think. To move forward you have to assess the current situation, identify the problem, find a solution and implement it.
You need stamina
A 126km march is no walk in the park. The feet ache. It is raining. Clothes are wet. The ground is slippery. The path is insufficiently marked. All of this causes you discomfort. Therefore you need mental stamina.
The situation is similar when you are self-employed. Anyone who believes that the path to professional freedom is easy and unburdensome is mistaken. To build a sustainable and solid business, you usually need a few years of hard work. The hard work, the stress, the setbacks demand stamina.
There are marches in good weather where your feet don’t ache a single time and there are ways to achieve success in self-employment without any major incidents. But of course this is a matter of pure luck.The real situation usually lies somewhere in between.
Like-minded people motivate each other
Marches are usually events in which a variety of people participate, from ordinary hikers to military groups. It is normal to talk to others and motivate each other.
In self-employment, just like on a march, you meet many like-minded people. You exchange ideas, motivate and help each other. Together, challenging goals are easier to achieve.
Anyone can do a march
One thing that always fascinates me about marches is how different the participants are. There are people beyond the age of 70 who complete the route faster than military groups. There are people with knee problems or overweight who see the march as a personal challenge and therefore bite through to the end.
There are also successful people of different ages, educational backgrounds or sexes who are self-employed.
Anyone can make it in the end. It is above all the mental will that counts in independence as well as on a march.
In the end you are rewarded
Whoever reaches the goal of a march is rewarded. On the one hand with a great feeling of luck to have made it, on the other hand with an order (in the case of the 4-day march Nijmegen (NL) even with a medal of the Dutch royal family).
Also the self-employment is worth it, if you keep going. At some point you will earn a solid income, do what you want and enjoy a maximum of freedom in life. And it is exactly this freedom that counts!