A few days ago Tynan wrote that entrepreneurs don’t want jobs. His thesis is that entrepreneurs value freedom far too much.
I tend to agree.
But even more than that, entrepreneurs are a rare breed of unemployable people.
A Story of Employment
In my senior year of high school I did something they called co-op. If you joined co-op you’d get out of school early to go work at a job in your field of interest. For someone who hated school it was a pretty sweet gig. Especially because my school counselor was actually awesome and worked hard to find me a job that fit within my personality. I loved programming and computers and I got to maintain the website and backend database for a local Oldsmobile (remember them?) dealership. This was 1998. They were getting a steal by paying me only $7/hour.
To stay in co-op you were supposed to work 15-20 hours per week, or 3-4 hours every business day.
Which is all well and good for most people.
But my entrepreneurial mindset wasn’t one that could sit around the office and do nothing. Freedom is too valuable to waste. I would get a week’s work done in one day, then for the rest of the week I’d go in for about 1 hour (because I had to). The only practical work experience I gained was that I didn’t want to gain any practical work experience.
Because I was so efficient and so good at the job, I asked for a raise. I could easily sit around for 3-4 hours/day and get the $7/hour, or I could continue getting everything done in 1 hour/day and get paid $15/hour (the raise I asked for). It was a bargain as far as I was concerned. I’d get the same amount of work done and it would cost them less.
They didn’t see it that way. I didn’t game the system by wasting 4 hours/day in the office so I had no real leverage to get the $15/hour for less time … I was already working less time for $7/hour.
The First Step To Being Unemployable: Quit Doing Shit That Disrespects Your Time
I quit as soon as I was there long enough to earn my school credit.
The freedom of being able to go home and play guitar, or read, or hang out with friends, was much more valuable to me than sitting around an office pretending to do work for 3 more hours for an extra $21/day.
If that sounds like you, then you’re probably unemployable as well. Congratulations, you might just be an entrepreneur!
In Tynan’s article he asks the following question to entrepreneurs: “How much money would it take for you to take a job?”
Most of you know that if Mark Cuban offered me an unpaid gig working with him I’d take it. Not to build a CV (resumé). Not to make money. But to learn from a unique entrepreneurial mind. So my answer is, no amount of money would do it, but if the right person asked me to work with them, I’d take a job. (There are currently 2 people who fit into this “right person” criteria. It’s important to decide on your criteria before you succumb to other temptations, like a higher paying job or “career path.”)
What Is Freedom Worth?
Is it worth 40 years of your life?
If it worth dreading waking up every morning?
Is it worth looking forward to weekends instead of enjoying every day?
Sure, once you’re retired you’ll be free, but at what cost?
Would you be willing to make less as an entrepreneur to have more freedom?
If you’ve found your “enough” point the answer is probably yes.
Most entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with would much rather earn less on their own than have to go into work and make more money. Entrepreneurialism isn’t just about money. It’s about working passionately for the simple fact that you’re passionate about the work. Some weeks I work far more than 40 hours. Some weeks I work less than 5. The freedom to choose is worth more than any dollar sign.
Which leads me to the same question Tynan asked. If you’re an entrepreneur, what would it take for you to get a job? Money? A specific employer? A title? Nothing?
You Don’t Need A Job, You Need Guts
My friend Ash (who I’ve linked to many times before) just released a great book called You Don’t Need A Job, You Need Guts (<– click there). Full disclosure: I bought it during presale and Ash refunded me. The point is, it’s worth the small cost and if you’re unsure about your track in life you’ll be happy you read Ash’s book.