Yesterday, I was walking around in the afternoon doing some errands. I called my friend, who runs his own company in Chicago. As we were catching up, he suddenly goes, “Yeah, I’ll have ham — no, not ham — smoked turkey. And lots of mustard please.” It took me a second to realize he was ordering Subway, then I started making fun of him. Actually both of us. I said, “Do you realize what kind of degenerates we must sound like? We’re both walking around, you ordering Subway, me checking out lamp stores, at 1:30pm on a Monday.”
And yet, that is one of my favorite parts of being an entrepreneur. I value freedom and flexibility over almost everything else, so the simple act of being able to walk around in the middle of the day makes me LOVE what I’m doing.
Many other news sources are starting to write about the increasing move to entrepreneurial work (especially in this economy), pointing out the good and the bad. From a recent New York Times article:
“SITTING in their cubicles, rolling their eyes over the latest bureaucratic slowdown or marveling at the near-incompetence of higher-ups, some employees are thinking: If only I were my own boss, I wouldn’t have these problems.
No, they wouldn’t. They’d have a host of different problems. Still, some people make the leap to self-employment and find it was worth the risk.
How can a salaried employee with some savings tell if the idea of becoming self-employed is a viable option and not just an escape fantasy? And how can a recently laid-off employee with some severance pay determine whether this is the right time to pursue her dream of being an entrepreneur?
At one of her consulting clients, Ms. Pryce-Jones once talked to a high-level employee who was complaining bitterly about having to work 40 hours a week. “He thought that if he went freelance he would magically become happy,” she said.
She asked him, “How many hours a week do you think you’d have to work if you were freelance?” The man put the number at about 35. She told him he needed to double that number, at a minimum.”
I’m thrilled that the NYT and other media have started acknowledging that Americans can take their income into their own hands and start earning more.
In fact, my own proprietary data confirms what the NYT author notes: The #1 reason people decide to earn more is not because they want to fly to Vegas for the weekend, or because they want to pay off debt. It’s because they want have the option of eventually quitting their job and working on something they love.
BUT…there are a few things I want to note:
- The NYT article confounds “being an entrepreneur” with “earning money on the side.” The term “entrepreneur” is loaded and often makes people feel uncomfortable, conjuring up images of having employees, massive payroll, and a complicated setup. Guess what? I know 1-man entrepreneurs who make more than 20-person companies. You don’t have to describe yourself as an entrepreneur, but you can think entrepreneurially.
- It’s sexy to write about being an entrepreneur (i.e., dropping everything and going to work for yourself with no life vest). Yet this happens for perhaps less than 1% of the population — and rightfully so. For the vast majority of people, there are better ways to manage risk and earn more than jumping head-first into an unproven idea.
- Again, there’s a more common, long-term, and sensible method of thinking entrepreneurially and earning money on the side. As I teach in my Earn1k course, you employ the Tuner Strategy to execute a series of small, increasing wins. For example, once you earn $500, then $1,000, then $5,000/month, you mitigate risk and you’re far more equipped to make decisions about what you really want to do.
- The vast majority of my students who are earning more money on the side — whether $100/month or $10,000/month — will never quit their jobs. They’ll just earn more on the side, saving/investing/spending it and living a rich life. Nobody says you have to quit your full-time job if you enjoy it.
Bottom line: When you equate “earning money” with “I need to start a company like Google,” that’s ultimately paralyzing. You don’t have to put it all on the line or make a huge life change.
Instead, think of earning money as an opportunity to make a series of small bets in order to rapidly find one that’s profitable. If you want to scale up and go full-time, great! But most people don’t ever need to do that. It’s nice making extra money on the side and giving yourself more opportunities to do the things you love.
On Friday, we have a great Masters of Earning More, my new series that features in-depth case studies on people who are earning more money. Stay tuned.
And, as always, you can get extremely comprehensive material (videos, case studies, worksheets, and more) from my free Earn1k preview course.