A week ago I wrote about the downside of being an entrepreneur. A lot of people, especially other entrepreneurs got it, but some people seemed to think I was suddenly now trying to steer people away from it, or that I was yielding to, and spreading fear by talking about such things. Of course I was not, and said so in the post itself.
I love working for myself. Right now I am writing this from a cabin I am renting in the Mountains of Vermont for the Summer – something I never would have been able to do while working a wage job. But there is a downside to it, and here is a little secret: there is a downside to EVERYTHING.
When people talk only about the upside of something, and refuse to talk about the downside they are either selling you something through mis-representation, or can only function when being ridiculously and insanely positive. This is not the kind of positivity that yields a can-do attitude and overcomes fear, this is the kind of baseless positivity that makes you believe that your occult store located in the middle of rural Kansas is going to start making a profit any day now just because you believe. The wise entrepreneur knows when to change tactics or even quit and move on to something else.
Anyway, there are major Upsides to being an Entrepreneur.
- RESPONSIVE TO MAGIC: If you own a business, you make money based on your sales, not a wage that is static from week to week. Even if you pay yourself a regular salary, there are bonuses based on performance and other perks that you draw from the business. It is much easier to get Financial Sorcery to increase customer count or sell higher end widgets than it is to increase money from a wage job.
- FREEDOM: In the Downside Article I mentioned that your work follows you wherever you go, which is true. But that also allows you to handle it how you will. It is less about work/life balance and more about integration of the two. Plus, if you work via the net like I do, you can work from anywhere. Did I already mention that I am working from Vermont this summer? I am writing this from the deck of a Cafe next to a waterfall with a great view of the Mountains. I have the best office in the world today. Yesterday I scheduled a five element consult and answered client questions in between walking from the pool stairs and the diving board every few minutes.
- GEO-ARBITRAGE: If we did not have kids and family ties to NJ I would move out of the country in a fucking heartbeat. I might one day go full PT and Five Flags when the kids get older – we will see how it goes. The idea is that if you can make an income based on a business on one economy (say the US and Western Europe) and live somewhere cheaper (at the moment it would be Chile) your money means that much more. 60K a year in NJ gets you by in a decent manner. In South Carolina it gets you an upper class lifestyle. In Nepal it gets you pretty much anything you want – including the ability to do some real good for the community with your money.
- SERVICE: Entrepreneurs can do good for the community by running a business in a responsible way in a world of corporate disaster stories, they can provide honest and valuable services in a world where even major banks act like con men, they can create jobs in world that is cutting them left and right. Please don’t confuse this statement with the “we are job-creators, so don’t tax us” nonsense. Jobs are created by work needing to be done, which relies upon everyone having money. Responsible businesses are a boon to the community, not a drain.
- JOB SECURITY: That’s not supposed to be a benefit of the Entrepreneur is it? It never was in the past. For the last 100 years being an Entrepreneur was about the risk of it and a wage-job was about security. There are still some secure jobs, and Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs made a convincing argument that people should be out training for blue collar jobs if they want happiness and job security. That said, for most jobs the potential of getting laid off, or underpaid to an extreme is so high that it makes the risk of starting your own business seem small by comparison. Also, the internet makes the start-up costs of many types of businesses almost nil, thus mitigating some of that traditional risk. Rather than taking out a heavy five or six figure loan, you can throw a website up, do some promo and see if it sticks. If it doesnt, do something else.
- EXCITEMENT: One of the reasons that work and other areas of life conflict for the entrepreneur is that we want to do what we are doing. We are thrilled by the prospect of creating something new. We think about it on the weekend because it is more fun to think about than whatever is on TV. I have a dozen playstation games floating around at home, and work on a gaming laptop that cam handle Skyrim or Bioshock Infinite with ease, but I never play them. They are boring in comparison to my work.
- KEEP THE VALUE YOU CREATE: If you want to build real wealth being an entrepreneur is a path to that. Half of all Millionaires work for themselves. If you want to read a great intro to being an Entrepreneur by someone who also is a capable Sorcerer, check out this post from Reject Dogma.
So yeah. I am still a true believer. I love doing what I do because I get to do what I love. Knowing the downsides does not detract from that, it just makes it more real and more precious. It’s also not the holy grail for everyone. People that cannot put money second or third in their priorities, people who cannot manage their time, people who are not driven to do it are probably better off doing something else. For those of us that are suited to it, it is the gateway to an extraordinary life.