Opportunities can’t tell the time
Just be ready to say “yes”!
Opportunities are stupid. I don’t mean they are irritating to have around or generally score badly in basic arithmetic evaluations. I mean they have no sense: no sense of timing nor sense of occasion. They just appear – sometimes only fleetingly and oftentimes, never to return.
I was at the dawn of my career. Freshly qualified and ready to unleash my ambitions on a startled world. First I would learn my trade with a “big 4” company and then prove myself in a smaller business under the watchful eye of a trusted mentor. Of course from there, life would just get simpler and more organised: grow the career, raise a family, do well with money… blah blah blah and so it goes. Easy, right?
Wrong. I’ll use a knock-knock joke to illustrate my point and yes, it’s a true story.
Really? But it’s too soon, Christmas is right around the corner, this isn’t a good time… can you come back in, I don’t know, March?
This actually happened to me and while the details behind my (what HR types used to describe as a) “career event” are probably a blog for another day, the point is that I saw an opportunity – and it saw me.
Lesson one: the time is right whenever the big idea shows up with a bunch of friends called “a lightbulb moment”, “ambition” and “a moment of clarity”. (Lesson 1a – they rarely if ever bring a how-to guide.)
The truth is that the moment of truth, when I realised I had learned all I could from my colleague and mentor, arrived much sooner than expected. And yes the timing was a little awkward. I delivered the news right after the Christmas holidays that I would be moving on to create, establish and live the dream. A new dream. One that engendered a lot more risk, stress and demanded belief in myself, my values and my trusted inner circle. Oh and a laptop, a borrowed printer and that big idea.
What’s the big idea?
By now a lot of people already know that I was at first confused by and then dead against the idea of charging clients according to the timesheet and stopwatch. I preferred measuring success and therefore our fees on a merit-based system of saving clients’ tax dollars first, then basing our fees on their level of satisfaction.
To me and later to my clients, this became a jarringly disruptive offer. One that was welcomed with open arms and that most genuine of affirmations, “of course, why hasn’t this been done before.” Perhaps it had, somewhere, in a different form but the point is, while there may never be a perfect time to take the plunge, it’s better than whiling away years of your life asking “if not now, then when?” Or worse: “If only…”
Lesson two: Perfect timing is a retrospective quantity – you’ll only know for sure after the event. To be clear, I’m not advocating reckless behaviour. I’m just saying that when your idea, your opportunity comes knocking, go out and take action, don’t be left behind on the sidelines taking in the action. That would be a mistake.
And let’s face it, there are enough avoidable mistakes to go around for everyone but some of the avoidable ones are around tax. Find someone qualified who you can trust and test drive and accountant today. We may be able to help you out with that.