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The book for every public servant wanting to take the leap & launch their own business. Advice plus stories from people who've done it.
The book for every public servant wanting to take the leap & launch their own business. Advice plus stories from people who've done it.
121 backers pledged AU$ 6,165 to help bring this project to life.
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Life without lanyards: from public servant to entrepreneur

AU$ 6,165

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There is life after working in government.

How many people do you know in the public service who are unhappy in their jobs? Frustrated, bored, anxious, or just feeling like they want more out of their work.

Maybe this is you.

I’ve written ‘Life without Lanyards: from public servant to entrepreneur’ as a lighthouse to guide readers through the fog of their job dissatisfaction—and to see that there are other paths. The book contains guidance & practical steps for everyone who’s ever thought about leaving Government to start a business. 

And you have the opportunity to see this book reach everybody who needs it.

It’s the book I wish I’d had in my hands three years ago, when I decided to make the leap from the security of government to the fulfilling (and sometimes bewildering) world of running my own business.

Writing this book, I wanted to challenge the assumption that public servants don’t have transferable skills. So I interviewed people whose experience in government set them up for success. And we’re talking serious success. Millions of dollars in revenue. Awards.

So what’s in the book?

You’ll find:

  • Interviews with business owners who’ve made the switch from government to self-employment & lived to tell the tale.
  • In-depth advice on marketing and branding (something that so many books for start-ups gloss over)
  • A skills audit: what skills you’ll need to pick up when you make the switch – and what you can take with you.
  • Detailed tips on how to manage the transition, so your finances stay healthy, and so do you.

We cover everything from creating an online presence to managing suppliers and landing that first customer. So whether you’re planning on starting a café down the coast, or launching a consulting practice, this book has practical advice to help your business succeed.

Download a sample chapter or read the table of contents.

This book is not just for Australian public servants: anyone working in government will get value from it.

Do we want everybody to leave the public service?

No. Although I chose to leave, that's not going to be the answer for everybody. I gained a lot from my time in Government. I have friends and family who are still in the public service and doing great work. My goal is to help people make good decisions. If that means they decide to stay, or shift careers to another employer, that’s brilliant. And if they want to become an entrepreneur, then splendid!

About the author  

I'm Matt Fenwick—a writer and trainer from Canberra, Australia. I run my own business, writing web content and anything else my clients point me at.

Me, as self-made entrepreneur
Me, as self-made entrepreneur

And before that, I was a public servant. Some parts were great: good colleagues, loads of training, and dependable income. And some parts frustrated the dickens out of me: inertia, red tape, and a lack of control over my direction.  

Me, as public servant.  Note blue tie and bad posture.
Me, as public servant. Note blue tie and bad posture.

That’s why I decided to quit Government, push my boat out, and start paddling. It’s exciting, damn exhausting, and fulfilling. 

Since I started out, I’ve:

  • Smashed my initial earnings goals
  • Been invited to deliver writing training; something I tried to do the whole time I was in Government
  • Stayed awake most of the night worrying about whether we could afford to pay the mortgage
  • Had moments where I punched the air (yes, I’m a dag)
  • Had a baby, because all of the above wasn’t enough to keep me occupied

And, right from the start, I had a niggling question: ‘I wonder if anybody’s written a book about all of this?’ 

So this is that book!

If you’d like to read it, or get involved with making sure this book reaches the people who need to read it, make a donation (top right).

Why crowd funding?

I've put a lot of my own money into this book, but there's more to be done. One thing I’ve learnt while creating Life without Lanyards: writing the words is only half of getting a book out there. I want to create something that looks and feels great. A high quality book.

So that means meeting the cost of:

  • Design, illustration and typesetting: I want top-notch creative work on my book, and that means paying a fair price to people who are way better at this stuff than me.
  • Copy-editing: checking through the text is painstaking work. But someone’s got to do it.
  • Printing: this is a book that people will want to hold in their hands and write notes all over. That means going a hard-copy print run.
  • Marketing: I want the message to reach everybody who needs to hear it. I’m doing a lot myself, through the magic of social media. Even so, there’s still a lot we need to pay for, like advertising.

There’s another reason for crowd funding: giving as many people a chance to take part in the Life without Lanyards project. This book has been collaboration from the get-go, especially with all the business owners and experts I’ve interviewed. 

How can you help?

Get involved by backing this project. Choose from any of the gifts, by way of saying 'thanks and welcome aboard.'

Are there other ways you can help?

Absolutely. Please spread the word about this campaign by:

So join me in helping others to make the leap to entrepreneurship. 

Stretch goal #1

This book is going to get made.  Now it's time to promote LWL so this book reaches as many people as possible.  I've been doing a lot of online promotion myself, but to expand my reach, I'm putting together an advertising budget.

If we make it past $5,400, that money will go straight to:

  • Getting expert advice on promoting the book launch
  • Commissioning a feature-article in Canberra Word of Mouth, a facebook page with more than 3,000 followers
  • Printing posters to place around Canberra, right where public servants congregate. For example, this beauty from the cafe in Department of Health...
Why learn to meditate when you could explore your entrepreneurial potential?
Why learn to meditate when you could explore your entrepreneurial potential?

And I've created a very special reward to help get us there.  Introducing the Life without lanyards lanyard. You can wear it to the beach.  You can wear it when out raving.  You can even wear it to the office.  Limited edition 'obsidian' lanyard available only to backers.

To get your hands on one of these beauties, all you need to do is pledge an additional $12. If you've already ordered a print copy, no need to add postage. Otherwise please add $5. 

Whatever reward you choose, all proceeds will go to a good cause: making sure that everybody in the public service who'd like to broaden their horizons has the opportunity to do so.

Thank you,

Matt

Early praise for Life without lanyards

'Matt Fenwick has written the book I wish I’d had back when I was in the public service. It’s the scaffolding you need if you’re keen to make the lap into the next phase of your professional life. Because Life’s too short to wonder ‘what if’!' – Emma Grey, Trainer, coach, writer and speaker.

‘I commend this book to any budding public servant tempted to take the entrepreneurial path less trodden.’ - Dr Sarah Pearson, CEO, CBR Innovation Network

Risks and challenges

Will this book get published on time?

A fair question. Books can easily take two years from initial idea through to final printed edition. To make sure I've set realistic timelines, I've engaged a book production & marketing consultant to make sure the June publication date is achievable, and that everything is in place leading up to that.
Right now the book is in the final stages of editing: next step is typesetting. I'll be publishing updates to this page as we go.

I believe strongly in this project. Looking back, I’d have left earlier and found a career that really suits me sooner if I’d had the confidence to take the leap. This book helps people come to grips with their own situation and develop that confidence.

Show your support by backing this campaign.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 10 or more About $7

    A hand-written postcard from my hometown.

    Your name in the book, acknowledged as a contributor to making it happen (unless you choose to stay anonymous).

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    Pledge AU$ 12 or more About $9

    Life without lanyards lanyard

    A custom-printed lanyard bearing the words 'Life without lanyards'.

    This Lanyard isn't included in other rewards. Existing backers can get their hands on this limited-edition reward by increasing their pledge amount.

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    Pledge AU$ 22 or more About $16

    All the above, plus an ebook edition of Life without Lanyards (EPUB, .mobi and pdf).



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    Pledge AU$ 45 or more About $31

    All the above, plus a print copy of the book, with a personal message from Matt.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 85 or more About $59

    Feast with Matt. Come round to my house in sunny Canberra for a laid-back meal, accompanied by conversation about the book.

    A choice of dates will be offered.

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    6 backers
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    Pledge AU$ 115 or more About $79

    MtFeast Deluxe (bring someone along)

    Feast with Matt. You and your partner, child or chaperone come round to my house in sunny Canberra. Enjoy food, drink, fine conversation and a copy of the book.

    A choice of dates will be offered.

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    Pledge AU$ 500 or more About $344

    A half-day presentation at your event.

    An ebook for every participant.

    Travel and accommodation at cost.

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Funding period

- (40 days)