The network you interact with is paramount to how successful you will become-Till Carlos, Producer of Your Own Way Out

As more and more individuals are ditching the traditional office to become a part of the “do what you love” movement, a crew of filmmakers decided they wanted to break down the flowery images of quitting your 9 to 5 and create a realistic picture of what it really takes to become a successful entrepreneur.

Your Own Way Out tells the stories of 30 entrepreneurs “who live their lives on their own terms”. We spoke with producer, Till Carlos, about what they learned as they documented the journeys of these self-made individuals and how much work goes into starting off completely on your own.

Hi, Till. What inspired you to make this film? 

We know from our own experiences that running a business is a challenge. My co-producer, Tom runs a marketing business, a publishing business and a podcast called “Smart Brand marketing”, and I market software. In addition to our recent projects, we have both managed multiple businesses over the years.

Did making this film help you learn more about your own personal experiences? 

This documentary confirms what we have ourselves experienced: it takes hard work and dedication, but it’s worth it. There are also mind shifts that need to happen and walls that need to be broken down in order to advance when creating one’s own business.

Here are two quick examples. The first one is to start working on your business and not in your business. This means to stop micromanaging and realize that you are not the best person for every task. The second is to hire people who are smarter than you. This one is also tough, as you might wake up one day and no longer understand your own business.

We are seeing more and more people leaving their jobs to go freelance. As you had the chance to speak with 33 subjects who actively did this, what were some of the general positive points? And did any of your subjects discuss the negative side of leaving a stable 9-5? 

Some general points were about focus. For example, it’s not about traveling so much, but more about getting the routines right. It’s a lot about knowing the customers and getting out of the comfort zones.

Of course, we featured mostly successful entrepreneurs, so there was a bias towards positivity. Although, one interviewee experienced a huge drain of his energy and went back to a 9-5 job. Today he is now a member of a coworking space working on his own side project.

What types of challenges did your subjects face, and how did they find ways around these obstacles?

One of the most common obstacles discussed was when you’re on your own, there is no one else to blame. This means taking responsibility completely. Also, people tend to have fears, doubts, uncertainty and many failures that everyone experiences. All of the entrepreneurs faced hardships and struggle until they got where they wanted.

Location was another obstacle we saw. Traveling too much can decrease accessibility to the customer base, which was noted by Ryan Meo. Tim Conley also made the point that traveling can distract people from getting things done, but at the same time, it can be an amazing way to get outside of your comfort zone and get better value for your money.

Overall, almost all interviewees had one obstacle in common: Hanging out with the wrong people can harm a productive mindset and can hamper growth, both personally and professionally.

Did any of the subjects in your film reference coworking in regards to building networks outside of traditional employment? 

No. The reason for that is because they see coworking as a given and almost take it for granted. It helps them to get outside of your house and feel like a productive member of society. As many of these entrepreneurs are location independent, they often use coworking spaces, cafes, and also rent private offices.

As said before, the network you interact with is paramount to how you think and how successful you will become. We know from these entrepreneurs that they use coworking spaces, but rather use it to find focus, not for networking.

In your opinion, how can just anyone begin the process of breaking the “old scripts” created by society?

A good way to break these scripts is through meeting people that are just a bit above what you are doing, as stated by Josh and Jill Stanton. They also made the point that learning about past failures and successes from other people is a huge time saver.

I believe that most people would like to do what they love, but unfortunately not all people come from equal circumstances. Typically those who have more professional autonomy come from a more financially stable backgrounds. Did making this film show you a way that less fortunate individuals could achieve professional independence as well?

I love this question. The internet has broken a lot of scripts, and although it is still in its beginning stages, the world is becoming more connected every day. There is no other place where the barrier of entry is this low and the marketplace is this big.

It is definitely tough to create a monopoly or scale when you don’t have money and great connections, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot build a successful business that affords you to live life you want. As we saw, many of the entrepreneurs came from very poor backgrounds and it was through hard work and persistence that they made it.

Business is as complex as humans. There is no a ready-made script that will guarantee success. However, there are several hints to finding success. One subject, Anton Kraly, explained that you should look at the market and adapt to what’s already working. For Jeff Pecaro, all strategies and frameworks are already working, it’s just about the execution of these ideas that makes the difference.

Do you think that social media is playing a role in this newfound freedom for workers? 

We have not tackled this topic yet. We know that people like Derek Sivers and Peter Shankman both have very large followings. Most of the time, this is the result of hard work and a lot of value provided for free.

For us, social media is a marketing channel that works for great products that already exist, but not something that is a silver bullet, which can be used to build a business from scratch.

After making this movie, do you think work culture will continue to become less restricted? What do you see for the future on entrepreneurs and employees in general?

We are sure that more people will get replaced by machines. Jobs are not as safe and everyone’s better off learning skills that will be valuable in the future. Investing in yourself and having confidence in your own abilities to create income are much safer than any job.

We also see the world becoming smaller and in some ways that creates more freedom. Yet that freedom is only for the people who are flexible and willing to learn and be innovative.