This article has just been published in the January 2011 issue of the Mensa members magazine:

With much talk of government spending cutbacks leading to unemployment, Mensa businessman James McBrearty’s new book arrives in a very timely fashion.

Because if you are facing the threat of redundancy and want to take the plunge and start your own business this is a very useful work.

James, a 40 year old tax specialist from Cobham in Surrey, started his own business, in 2006 and in just a few years he has grown it into a thriving and established business. Now he wants to pass on tips from his own experiences in the book, Chocks Away: Achieving Freedom from the 9 to 5.

James said: ”In our current economic climate when companies are looking at cut backs and ways of saving money, many staff are facing the threat of redundancy. My book is about taking control of your own life, about setting your own goals and achieving them,”

His book, he says, is different from other self help business books because it tells the story of starting a business from scratch and not growing an established one.

James said: “I decided to take the plunge in 2006 and start up my own business. I didn’t buy an established practice so it wasn’t an easy thing to do. I’ve learnt many lessons along the way, including the most important … online and offline networking.

“In 2008 my business started to take off when I both joined Business Network International (BNI) and entered into the world of online networking. Effective networking has made such a massive difference to my company that I wanted to share my experiences with others. I achieved more in six months through the combination of social networking and BNI than in the whole first two years of self employment struggling to find things out myself.

“Joining networking groups has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made”

Oh, and if you are wondering about the title of the book … James, pictured, is a qualified pilot!

James McBrearty, pilot

If you want to escape the 9 to 5, here are some of James’ practical tips on how to succeed:

• If allowed by your employer, start your business up while still at work. You can build it up slowly in the evenings and weekends. If you lose your job, or want to make the transition into self-employment you will have an established business waiting for you.

• Look for support and advice – don’t be afraid to ask. There is a lot of help out there; it is just knowing where to find it.

• Investigate the change in markets – as well as traditional avenues there are a wealth of online opportunities such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

• Join a networking group. Before I joined BNI I found it difficult walking into a room and talking about my business. Now I’m a team leader, train other BNI members and I’m comfortable talking to large audiences.

• Believe in your own ability, if you don’t no-one else will!

For details or to buy a copy of James’ book, visit the ‘James’s book‘ page.