August 28, 2014

Are You a Career Renegade?

Career Renegade - How to Make a Great Livings Doing What you LoveLife is too short to spend it doing something you hate — or something that sucks you dry. My advice in such situations is to learn to love what you do (and that’s easier than you think).

But if you just can’t learn to love it, then you need to find a career that you DO love.

That’s where the new book Career Renegade comes in. It’s all about how to earn a great living doing what you love.

Jonathan Fields, the author, had a high-paying career as a Wall Street attorney. The stress of that position —  where one day he collapsed after working for nearly 72 hours straight to close a $100 million deal – nearly broke his health. Jonathan wisely decided on a career change. But where do you go in a career when you’ve already reached the pinnacle of a Manhattan “white shoe” law firm?

In Jonathan’s case, he made a radical shift. He founded a yoga studio. He also got into marketing and now offers entrepreneurship training as well.

Meanwhile, the yoga studio he created, called Sonic Yoga, went on to become the number-one rated yoga center in New York for the past four years. More importantly, Jonathan was able to do what he loves, and earn a great living. Through deft delegation and management, he’s arranged things so that he only spends about ten hours a week on the yoga business, leaving him free to pursue other interests he loves.

Along the way he has learned a lot about how to take the passion you have for something, identify an industry niche, and market and differentiate yourself enough to make a good living. As we all know, many activities and hobbies that people love will not make them enough money to support a family the way they’d like (ever heard the term “starving artist” ?).

But as Jonathan says in the book: “I live in New York City. I have a family to support. I need six figures just to scrape by.” 

Settling for poverty was not option for him — nor should it be for you.  This book is extremely practical about the need to be fiscally successful when you pursue your passion.

Many books of this type leave me cold because they are long on motivation and encouragement but short on proactive guidance on how to achieve anything.  Yeah, you read a book and get pumped up for a week.  But after that initial energy wears off, you’re left feeling empty.  Why?  Because the book you just read never told you HOW to achieve all those wonderful goals it got you all pumped about, beyond some shallow techniques such as making lists.

But that’s not Career Renegade.  This book is different.  It’s very prescriptive in telling you what to do and how to do it. 

My Favorite Highlights of Career Renegade

  • Career Renegade is a step-by-step approach to chucking it all to pursue the work that excites and fulfills you — without ending up broke, divorced or sorry.
  • Career Renegade helps you identify what gives you the most satisfaction — what puts you into such a deep state of concentration and is so intrinsically rewarding – “flow” or being in the zone — that you care barely tear yourself away from it.  This is your true inner passion.
  • Once you’ve identified your passion, the book tells you how to turn that into a fiscally viable business or career path.  It not only explains WHAT to do — but more importantly HOW to do it. You’ll get pumped up and inspired, but you will also walk away knowing how to channel that inspiration into action.
  • I love the human interest in this book!  Jonathan tells stories throughout the book — his own story and also the stories (“case studies”) of others who have made unusual career moves or pursued a passion instead of a more traditional career route.  You’ll read about the software programmer who turned his love of sports video games into a business.   You’ll also read about the lawyer turned Internet entrepreneur (Brian Clark, known as Copyblogger — no wait, that describes me too!).
  • The book has detailed resources about how to use the Web to research customer demand for your business.  It goes well beyond “look it up in Google” to much more subtle and lesser-known research methods. 
  • It also identifies marketing resources to help you promote your business and draw in customers and sales – with lots of emphasis on the most up-to-date online marketing methods.  Marketing has changed dramatically in the past decade, and this book reflects the most up to date methods.  It’s written in a way that anyone can understand – you don’t have to have a marketing degree to figure them out.

What the Book Could have Done Better

The many resources listed in the book are great, but like all resources in print they will eventually become outdated.  However, this is not really a problem because in keeping with today’s trend of a book being accompanied by a dedicated website of its own,  Jonathan has set up a website at http://CareerRenegade.com.  He tells me he will be updating the book’s resources by adding new ones over time.  Also, since many of the resources consist of Web pages, on the Career Renegade website you’ll have clickable links to jump directly to the Web resources he suggests you check out. 

Who this Book is Ideal For

You should read Career Renegade if any of the following describes you:

  • You hate to get up in the morning because you hate your work;
  • You have been made physically ill from work;
  • You feel empty in your work and search for deeper satisfaction;
  • You long to take charge of your working life and the people you work with; or
  • You want a better-quality life, with more balance, instead of the daily grind you endure today.

Good reading!  Career Renegade.

13 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

13 Reactions

  1. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the author, Jonathan Fields, is the very same Jonathan Fields who posts occasionally here at Small Business Trends? Yes, indeed — he’s one and the same. You know him well.

  2. Anita: I have to get this book! :) I have had it on my notifying book list and I just got an email from a online bookstore here in Sweden that it is ready to order.

  3. LOL – I haven’t seen the term white shoe law firm in a long time. Having worked in one though, I can understand why he needed to get out.

  4. Building a website for easy reference is really a good idea Jonathan! Keep it up. Congrats to your book.

    @Marianne, what’s “white shoe law firm”?

  5. This sounds like an excellent read and Jonathan’s personal story is quite interesting and inspiring. I love to hear the personal stories of others and it sounds like there’s loads of great advice here too. Congrats on the book, Jonathan!

  6. White shoe stands for a very successful, mainline, high billable hour law firm. Cravath Swain & Moore is one. Jones Day. $$$$$

  7. That’s quite a switch from law to yoga, but good for him. Not alot of people have the courage to make the kind of drastic change that he did. Good personal health far outweighs any amount of income. Sounds like a good read for anyone who needs a change.

  8. I certainly can’t be called a career renegade (I’ve been an attorney for over 30 years), but I am looking forward to reading this book. It sounds like a great read. Thanks, Anita.

  9. I’m not at the point to where I can “chuck everything” yet, but it’s coming real soon. Just wish I had learned what I know now when in my 20′s and kidless. 5 mouths to feed and a wife that is all about “security” requires a bit more time in the white collar corporate world before being able to step away.

    Regardless, everything I do in my career has RENEGADE written all over it.

  10. anita, why do you say that if you hate your career, that it is easier to learn how to love it than you think? I mean, if you hate it…you hate it. Walt

  11. Hi Walt,

    Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I believe that. I believe that you can make up your mind to be happy or unhappy — it’s your choice.

    You are what you think about. If you let yourself think about being unhappy and down in the dumps, you will be. But adopt a more positive mindset and you might discover things aren’t so bad. In fact, you might find that the grass is not greener somewhere else — it’s just as green in your own backyard.

    However, I also realize that some people are not able to change negative thoughts overnight. And if you just can’t change your thought patterns, or if something is making you physically ill (as it made Jonathan) then by all means look for something else to do with your career.

    Whatever you do, don’t sit around stewing, unhappy, in a situation that is untenable for you. That’s just dumb.

    – Anita

  12. Just wanted to leave a quick post and tell you I’ve been reading your blog now for a few weeks and enjoy the content. Keep up the great work and I’ll continue to be a loyal reader as long as you continue to keep posting great stuff!

  13. I teach a career education high school class in Brooklyn. I recently used excerpts from this book and the students have really responded well. I’m thinking next semester I might order an entire class set. Mr.Fields you are welcome to stop by the school anytime!

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