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Escape the Grind and Work for Yourself

Unless you were born with the proverbial silver spoon in your hand, one of the inescapable facts about life is that you have to work.?At some point,?that usually means grinding out a paycheck at a job that you hate or, at least, spending a large part of your workday doing trivial tasks with the hope of someday rising through the ranks to a well-paying senior position.

When you are stuck in a cubicle or toiling anonymously at a dead-end job, it can be hard to think outside that 8-hour-workday box.?All you usually want to do is make it to the weekend with your sanity intact (or at least keep it together until happy hour).

Get out of the grind

There are plenty of books out there about building a business or otherwise getting rich so that you can quit your job forever.?Of course, a lot of these claim that near-instant success is possible.?While most people would probably be best served if they didn’t even start reading these schemes in the first place, there is one idea worth taking from them: it is possible to be financially sound without spending 40 years in a windowless office or 40 years in some other equally dismal work situation.?Instant success??That’s a one-in-a-million shot.?But eventual freedom from a boring, rewardless work-life is a surer bet.

Success might not come right away, but the decision to pursue an alternative way to make money can happen instantly.?Many people have the desire to do something else with their work life, but talk themselves out of it because of they think it’s risky or foolish or too difficult in the current economy.?So deciding to at least explore the options is a good first step.

Here are some thoughts for those who have made the decision to attempt an escape from the grind:

1. Building a business takes a huge amount of time and effort.?But with all the advertising/social media and retail tools on the internet, it is possible to start out small and hone your ideas until something workable and profitable emerges.?As awesome as it would be to tell off your boss and co-workers and leave your job to build your business full-time, it is probably not the most logical and financially sound option.?Better to start small.?You can easily start selling your t-shirt designs or bikini calendar or what-have-you through a print-on-demand website and looking at the sales numbers to decide if you have a hot product.?The same goes for whatever product that you think you can create and make salable.?Once the success is there, you can build on it until your day-job pay-check becomes unnecessary.?When your profits are equal (or at least almost equal) to your paycheck, then it might be time to start practicing your job-quitting speech in the mirror.

2. If a full-fledged business isn’t for you, you can still escape the cube by working remotely.?You can do a simple job search for opportunities in your field (though job ads or by simply Googling for companies that allow their employees to work away from the office).?Some companies are becoming more open to giving people tasks to complete each week instead of requiring them to come into an office every day.??If you are lucky enough to find a situation like this, you can focus on results rather than counting the hours that you work.?Electronics retailer Best Buy is one of the companies currently experimenting with results oriented work instead of time-based work.?They have done this with some of their administrative and corporate positions.

3. Another way to escape the grind is to freelance. Not being associated with a company and having to find your own work can be intimidating (and frustrating), so it is best to start slowly.?There are plenty of coders, writers, graphic designers, even accountants, who work on a freelance basis. Except for the last profession, having a strong portfolio with examples of your work is vital.?Again, the internet can help you get started, even if you have no previous experience in a given field.?Create a website or offer to do your work for others for free until you build a respectable portfolio.?You can post your portfolio on niche sites (for example, Creative Hotlist is a good one for designers, writers, and other creatives) as well as regular job search sites. You can even try to grind it out on a freelance site like eLance, although the sheer amount of competition and practice of choosing low-price over high-quality make this very, very difficult.

4. If you are one of those people who still can’t see any way out except a slim chance of climbing the corporate ladder, perhaps it is time to invest in some additional education.?College and graduate school??If you haven’t graduated, you might find this tough (though not undoable).?A college or post-graduate degree requires lots of different classes, many of which have nothing to do with the subjects that you are excited about learning.?Specialty programs (at community colleges, trade schools or even online colleges) usually don’t require as many non-related classes as four year schools.?The offerings at these specialty schools go beyond auto repair and data entry training. You can learn anything from sports massage to photography to web design in a few months to year.?Armed with one of these trade skills, you may eventually be able to build a list of clients who you can freelance for and even start your own company.?Even if you have to work for someone else at the start, you have a new skill that can lead you down a new path to non-cubicle-related success.

At the very least, these ideas can give you something to dream about while you stare at the clock waiting for the end of another barely bearable workday.

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Simple Trick Tells You if a Girl Wants You to Kiss Her

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About Josh Lew Josh Lew lives in the Midwestern US when he is not traveling. He is a columnist for Gadling and has contributed to Hackwriters and Skive Magazine.

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