How to Find Your Voice When You’re Breaking Away From Employment to Go It Alone

And as Importantly How to Have It Heard

Photo by Reuben Juarez on Unsplash 

A Case Study: Simon’s Story

Making a WorkLife change will always be risky. While Simon’s love of extreme sports makes him a risk-taker in his life outside of work. When it comes to his work, he’s always played it safe. An avid book reader, his love of books led him to a Bachelors degree in Library Sciences and onto a WorkLife as a Librarian. He certainly wasn’t your typical solopreneur – well, not yet anyway – but that was about to change.

You see, Simon had written a book, and a pivotal thing happened when he toured the country promoting it. It was a book that had been a side hustle project of sorts – a book that had been years in the writing – a book that regaled readers with stories that contrasted his living on the edge side with his playing it by the book safe side. 

A couple of things struck Simon every time he pitched up to a new location to do a book reading. The First: The rooms were filled with women. The Second: These women had one thing in common – they had all either taken time out or wanted to take time out and wanted their return or their departure to have an element of risk to it. They wanted to do something different, and they wanted that something different to have an edge to it. Something that was as far away from ‘Same Ole, Same Ole’ as they could get. While they didn’t necessarily know what they wanted, they did know what they didn’t want – the same thing that is always done or the thing that always happens – the boring or the monotonous.

The thing the women had been struggling with was being taken seriously when they wanted to do something different. Simon was curious as to why this was. 

Some said they had been told they’d spent a life playing it safe. Doing something different required taking a risk. They were told they hadn’t demonstrated they had the ability or the makeup to do this. Others said their ability to juggle many balls worked against them because it was believed they didn’t have a strong enough single focus that’s required for risk-taking. When they tried to challenge this thinking, they were told: “This is the way it is. This is the way it always has been, and this is the way it always will be. This is the way it’s always been done.”

Simon began to realise that his story was what was bringing these women to his book readings. They had long since bought into his story, long before they bought his book. You see, before Simon published his book, he had been sharing his stories through his blog. Although he had grown a large following, he hadn’t really paid it much attention. He actually had never interacted with his audience – he just loved putting his stories out into the world. He hadn’t the time or the inclination to do anything more – after all, by weekday, he was busy being a librarian, and by the weekend, he was busy being a thrill seeker.

That realisation was significant to Simon because it gave him an understanding of what he could do to bring about change in his WorkLife. He knew his time had come to move on from being a librarian. 

He had enjoyed finally bringing his book together and putting it out into the world. He had enjoyed meeting all the people who turned up to his events. He had enjoyed learning that his stories had helped them. 

This is what he wanted to do more of – putting more stories and books out into the world, meeting more people and continuing to inspire them through his work. He wanted to build on his work as a writer and now as an author. 

Simon had another realisation. One that was profound. That was that he had already found his voice – through his stories and his book. Moreover, he was having it heard. He was blown away by this realisation. Because here’s the thing, Simon had never felt the need to find his voice and to have it heard in his WorkLife to date – not as a librarian and not as a pursuer of extreme sports. He was someone who loved going unnoticed. Even in publishing his book – it was never about having a voice in the world. To Simon, it was just about sharing his experiences. He actually felt he was an ‘accidental’ voice. In the same way, he felt he was an accidental writer and author. 

He felt that because he had actually gotten to this place in his WorkLife by playing it safe, he hadn’t been a risk-taker in any way. Which is something in his mind he had associated with going it alone. He hadn’t even had a strong focus on getting to this place. He had taken a side-hustle approach to his writing – he wasn’t even sure if that was the right term – after all, he hadn’t made money from putting his stories out into the world through his blog. But it led to building an audience of people who liked his work, which led to immediate sales on publishing. – so, it had been a side hustle in the making. 

His story disproved what the women had been told about needing to be a risk-taker to be able to do something different. It disproved what they had been told about needing to have a strong single focus. It also disproved the “This is the way it’s always been” thinking.

Once again, Simon had accidentally found his way. He had found his own way, a different way. Having found his voice and having it listened to, Simon knew he could now use it to help others do the same, and he had a group of aspiring women ready to find their own way, ready to find and take their WorkLife in a different way.


Simon was now ready to go from side-hustler to solopreneur. He had gone it alone in putting his book out into the world, learning what he needed to do at every step of the way. He now wanted to set himself up as a one-person business, helping others to achieve what he had achieved. He wanted to run it on his own. To do this, he needed to learn all aspects of business. Simon was ready to embark on a new quest – would it involve being a risk-taker, or would he be playing it safe? That was what Simon was about to uncover and discover as he took the next steps of his WorkLife journey.

Finding Your Voice and Having It Heard Assignment 

Whether you’re an employee, a side-hustler, a solopreneur or running a bigger company, you can follow the same two simple steps that Simon followed – albeit it unwittingly in his case.

Step 1: Talk about who you are and what you do – whether through writing as Simon did or through speaking – day-to-day conversations, social interactions, networking situations. Share something about your WorkLife – both in and out of work. Give people a personal insight into what makes you tick, what’s unique and different about you. Who you are, both personally and professionally.

Step 2: Always be open to finding a way to help others – you may not know what this means to you … Yet. Simon didn’t. He discovered it along the way because he was open to discovery.

Words of Wisdom

That’s it. These two simple steps will help you first to find your voice and then to have it heard.  Why? Because they come from a place of wanting to help. Wanting to help is the simple secret to many great things in life. 


As a WorkLife Learning Practitioner and Writer, I create learning programmes and resources to help people manage, develop and transition their WorkLives in good, challenging and bad times.

The focus of my work begins by helping people identify a WorkLife path that’s true to their core values, purpose, and motivation. This is followed through by creating meaningful short and long-term WorkLife plans while enabling self-coaching, self-directing, and self-leadership to drive these plans.

I bring you stories created from questions and answers drawn from WorkLife lessons. What I’m trying to do is to highlight different solutions, to provide you with a pathway so that even if a particular story doesn’t apply to you, you understand there is a path to follow.

Whatever you want to do, there is a clear path to it, and once you understand those steps, it becomes much more intuitive, and hopefully, it motivates you to get started. Because that’s what you need most, the motivation to get started. The motivation to follow your vision.

My book, Your WorkLife Your Way, focuses on helping you live your best WorkLife by managing your learning, development and growth, through effective self-feedback, insightful questions and the ability to shape and tell your unique story. Click on the title to see a preview of what’s inside the book.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.