In my profession, I speak to so many people who are grappling with the loss of jobs or the fear of not holding on to the one they have. Others are feeling disheartened because they have a boss who often doesn’t appreciate them or worse, badgers them out of his or her own fear.
I know how much many of these folks secretly dream of never having to report to a boss (other than themselves) again. I hear them speculate and yearn to build something for themselves and their family. But it is so hard to take that leap when you don’t have a 401K (even the measly ones left after the economic debacle we experienced in recent years) underneath you, and health benefits, and all the other little perks and safety nets a J.O.B provides for you.
Some have had no choice. The much-feared pink slip finally arrived and their full time job is now finding a job. The strategy is how to build the right resume instead of building the right product or service model. The tactical plan is getting out there on interviews and prepping properly to sell oneself powerfully vs. selling and marketing an innovative program or product.
But the JOB pathway is fraught with dangers and pitfalls too. What if the company that finally hires you goes under, leaving you homeless again? What if you spend 3 months interviewing for the job of your dreams only to find they decided to shelve the position hire for another 6 months?
There is no question the career landscape has changed forever.
At the risk of being subjective, I think that the entrepreneurial pathway is often safer and saner than the much-desired regular paycheck.
Why do I say this? Well, for those of you between the ages of 20-35, if you launch your own business, and if you fail (let’s say the odds are 50/50) you still have 3 decades to recoup your losses in a job or company career. If you succeed, you will certainly build an income well in excess of the 2-3 percent (if you’re lucky) a company will give you.
For those over 45, the job hunt takes significantly longer than it did several years ago. Therefore, you may spend a year or more in your professional prime at no pay hoping for your next solid home. But more importantly, it is more and more challenging to be hired at or higher than the salary you received at your last position. So you might need find yourself a bit underemployed to receive the safety of a paycheck.
Certainly, a paycheck isn’t a bad thing. We have kids to support, braces to fund, college tuition to pay for. We’ve got to be realistic and do the prudent thing. Don’t we?
I am just suggesting that what was once the prudent thing is not necessarily so safe anymore. And furthermore, what about all of the gifts and dreams you have of doing something worthwhile, meaningful AND earn a substantial livelihood? What are we showing our children if we just go to work to get a paycheck and don’t encourage them to do what they love AND make a living at this?
I was born a corporate soldier. I loved climbing the ladder and being promoted, playing the game. Then, things changed. I knew that this game was getting smaller and smaller and my choices were fewer. Not being a natural entrepreneur, I didn’t feel it would be possible to succeed in my own business.
What I learned is that where there is a will there is a way. When I began almost 13 years ago, the amount of information was so much more limited. Today, we have the internet and social media to help us build and promote our businesses. I learned that when I must generate results I do what is necessary. When I had a job, as dedicated as I was, I didn’t take producing results quite as personally as I do in my own business.
I want to support any and all of you out there who question or doubt your ability to make it as an entrepreneur. You not only can do it, you deserve to bring your brilliance to the world and make a difference with people. And you deserve to have the freedom to earn as much as you can through what lights you up.
If a paycheck is the right path for you, I honor that choice too and wish you much success. But, if you are secretly wishing to be your own boss but don’t think you have what it takes, think again. If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!
I am a huge fan of people exploring the entrepreneurial path when they’re in transition. It’s not right for everyone, but it’s worth checking out to determine if you’ve got it in you. And if you do, it’s the best gig you can get! Just don’t forget that if you’re in business, you’re in sales.
Absolutely – too many entrepreneurs actually own a job.