Sunday, March 23, 2008

Freedom: Work for yourself, or work for others?

I think you'll find this contrary compared to most of what is written, but that's because most of what you'll find is either a sales pitch or written by the top 1% of entrepreneurs. (Just by being successful as an entrepreneur you are in the minority.)

Most entrepreneurs are definitely very unsmart about what it takes to succeed. Self-defeating habits and ignorance take them down. Which means when writing about how worthwhile being entrepreneurial is, you have to explain problem-solving better than most articles do.

Lack of stability is a huge impediment to freedom. Sure, working for someone else has its frustrations, but for most people, there is more freedom in working for someone else. Stability, health care, etc. Be careful selling "freedom: as the reason for entrepreneurship.

Another sales pitch for entrepreneurship is the fear of your stability being in someone else's hands if you work for someone else. But losing your job and looking for another job is basically the experience of entrepreneurship. Tons of startups fail. Having a job in this sense is neither better nor worse than entrepreneurship.

If you're really, really good at finding another job, you have demonstrated entrepreneurial skills. (Possibly by using this great list of Resume Action Verbs.) But why not keep putting them to use giving yourself the greater freedom of working for someone else?

Quick test before going into business for yourself: are you running away from something, or running toward something? Very, very few people make changes for something better. Most make changes to get away from something they don't like, and end up throwing out the baby with the bath water. If you are setting out on a major life change and don't have gratitude for what you have now, you'll likely be ignorant of both what you're losing, and what challenges you'll be facing.

If you're facing major changes (unintentionally or intentionally), a great resource is How to Master Change in Your Life: 67 Ways to Handle Life's Toughest Moments by Mary Carroll Moore. Joan Borysenko reviewed it as "Real-life help for everything from spiritual crisis to changing careers - all given in a humorous, down-to-earth manner."

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