Yesterday I had a phone conversation with a friend of mine, Mike, who also was a former employee at a company I sold a few years ago. It had been awhile since we last talked so it was good to catch up.
Mike worked for me for several years after I bought his company and merged them together. After my company was sold, he worked for the new boss for a few months but then decided to leave. Apparently his entrepreneurial ambitions just didn’t mesh with the new company culture.
Shortly thereafter he went to work for one of our former competitors who quickly became the ‘big dog’ in the industry. But again his ‘ideas’ were not appreciated.
Mike called to tell me that he had connected with another small company in the industry and they started a new business. Alas, it seems Mike has found his ‘happy place’.
I am proud of Mike. He ran his own company many years ago before selling to me and under my leadership he was given the freedom to make decisions that best suited the company. Essentially he had entrepreneurial freedom within my company.
In his subsequent jobs, he didn’t have this freedom and it clearly didn’t work out for him. But now he is back running his own show.
In the “Great Reset”, as I call it, I think we will see a surge in entrepreneurship. People like my friend Mike will no longer accept the status quo of working for someone else when there are opportunities around every corner.
Personally I have trouble with ‘opportunity focus’. Maybe I’m ADD or maybe my mind is just open to seeing new opportunities, but either way I cannot help but see new business ventures everywhere.
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, everyone was an entrepreneur. There were very few big companies; most people ran their own small business or farm. The idea, ‘go to school, get a good education, get a good job, save for retirement….’, just didn’t exist during that time.
Of course neither did social security, medicare, medicaid, welfare, unemployment insurance, corn farmer subsidies, import tariffs on sugar, mountains of paperwork for starting a business, Sarbanes-Oxley, or the Federal Reserve.
None of this existed. This era was probably the closest to a free market the US has ever seen, but I digress…
I think the time has come for us to see the new golden age of entrepreneurship. With staggering budget deficits, we are on the verge of a quiet revolution. The people will not accept the current government situation which I believe will ultimately lead to smaller government. We are already seeing inklings of that in some states.
Personally I consider myself to be an entrepreneur, investor and student of life. I have worked for myself in some way, shape or form since I was 13 years old. I briefly had a few jobs in high school and just out of high school, but otherwise have not had a real job my entire life.
I opened my first brokerage account when I was 14 years old. I have been investing in stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate and private business since that time. As a voracious reader and one who loves to learn from other intelligent, successful people, I am also a student of life.
Certainly many of you are also entrepreneurs. I am also certain there are many of you that are not entrepreneurs but are seriously contemplating taking the plunge. While this certainly is not an all-inclusive list, here are 10 reasons I think being an entrepreneur is the best choice:
1. Freedom. How many of you truly enjoy being told when to come to work, when to eat lunch, and when to go home? Not many I would assume. As an entrepreneur, you regain some of this freedom by controlling your own schedule. Not everyone is productive during the same hours of the day, so why are we forced to work the same hours? Just yesterday I was planning a trip with a friend to go to the World Superbike race in Salt Lake City, UT. We are going to take a week to drive out in his RV with motorcycles in tow. We will camp along the way and just explore while on the road trip. I didn’t have to ask my boss off for the week to make the trip.
2. Social boredom. While I am sure you just love each and every one of your co-workers, do you really want to spend the majority of your waking hours with them? If we each work 8 hours a day and sleep 8 hours a day, you spend half of your waking (workday) hours with these people. Some days when the workload is light, I spend it with my 3 year old watching Spiderman cartoons and playing trucks. Frequently I take long lunches with friends or meet them for coffee or late afternoon beer. My social network consists mostly of other business owners who also have freedom to spend their day as they wish. It’s really nice to spend time with successful, likeminded people.
3. Financial security. This may seem counterintuitive to those of you that work a regular job. If you get a regular paycheck, I can understand the argument here that the job is much more secure. But let’s consider the facts; your income is tied to your job. In other words, you have one income stream. What happens if that stream goes dry? Companies go out of business daily or at least companies that aren’t contributing heavily to Obama’s campaign… Companies are always looking for ways to cut expenses to expand their bottom line for shareholders and executives. Your salary could be next on the chopping block.
4. Multiple streams of income. As an entrepreneur, you have the ability to develop multiple streams of income. Most successful business owners that I know of understand this concept very well and have either diversified their business to bring in revenue from multiple channels, or they have diversified personally outside of their primary business to bring in income from other business ventures. I personally have income from 5-6 different sources, so I am not beholden to any one venture. Currently I am also working on 2 new business ventures.
5. Intellectually challenging work. Most jobs are filled with mundane tasks that satisfy the bureaucracy of corporate culture. Complete this report, file that proposal, finish this spreadsheet, etc. Much of this is done to make sure you are staying on track, but have little to do with actual productivity. Do you really enjoy kowtowing to upper management to prove your worth as a human being and then months later going hat-in-hand begging for that much deserved raise?
6. Results driven environment. A regular job requires regular hours. Most of the herd goes to work at 8am, lunch at noon, and leaves at 5pm (or so I am told). This is slavery, plain and simple. You are chained to the desk day after day for a certain number of hours regardless of results. Sure, results may matter at your workplace when it comes time for promotions or raises, but the fact is you are still chained to the desk for a certain number of hours. As an entrepreneur, the only thing that matters is results. It’s true that many entrepreneurs, me included, can work very long hours. But keep in mind; we are working for results, not for time. Some weeks I may invest 80 hours in my workweek. But the next week I may be lucky if it hits 10 hours. Results are all that matters.
7. Healthier lifestyle. In your regular job you most likely eat a rush breakfast in the morning while trying to get to work on time. Then you eat lunch at a restaurant, frequently fast food, and then home for that good home cooked meal (yeah right). Working for yourself gives you the opportunity to develop healthier lifestyle habits. This morning I woke up and did a short 15 minute workout. Then I made my coffee from fresh ground beans and made my own healthy breakfast of fruit and grain cereal. I am having a home cooked lunch at some family’s home nearby and this afternoon I will work out again. I have found that cooking your own food is much healthier than eating out (no kidding). I have also found that short workouts during the day elevate my heart rate and make me feel better all day. Do you have this opportunity at your job?
8. Geographical freedom. In today’s world there are more companies offering workers virtual work assignments, but I think this is still pretty minimal. When you work for yourself, you have the ability to live anywhere you want. This was much more difficult several years ago, but with technology you can set up shop from nearly anywhere in the world and work productively. I have done conference calls with clients sitting at a McDonald’s in Oslo and a café in Zurich. Last year I lived in Eastern Europe and later this year I will most likely live somewhere in South American before moving back to Europe. Yesterday I had a conference call to discuss a new business venture with partners in Prague and Gibraltar. None of this would be possible if I were working at a regular 9-5er.
9. Cool people don’t have jobs. Honestly, look around. What are the cool people doing these days? When you are at a dinner party or a social mixer and the question arises, “What do you do?”, who gets the attention, the guy who runs his own company and travels the world, or the guy who goes to the same office Monday – Friday at 8am and goes home at 5pm, takes 2 weeks of vacation each year to the same place and watches SportsCenter with his buddies all weekend?
10. Live an experience rich life. I saved this one for last because for me this is the most important aspect of being an entrepreneur – it allows me to live an experience-filled life. You only get to live on this dirtball called Earth once, why waste nearly one-third of your life sitting behind a desk living a mundane life. Do you ever wonder why some people seem to love life everyday while you are constantly complaining? Could it be that you spend half of your waking hours doing something you really don’t like? Life is meant to be enjoyed and experienced. I consider work to be an important part of my life – one that gives me great pleasure. I truly enjoy working with entrepreneurs and investors helping them develop their own asset protection plan. It allows me to talk to and meet with interesting people on a daily basis. I can help them minimize their risk and keep the wealth where it belongs; with the creators of wealth. Along the way I get to experience other wonderful aspects of life as well. For example, I am building a custom café racer over the next few weeks. I am passionate about motorcycles. I’ve been riding them since 2 weeks after I learned to ride a bicycle without training wheels. I am just as passionate about entrepreneurship.
I would love to hear from you about your experiences transitioning from employee to entrepreneur or anything related to your entrepreneurship journey. I would also love to hear from any fellow motorcyclists and their 2-wheel experiences.