When I was young, I always held the belief I would work for myself. Anything less would be a failure. I looked at people who worked for corporations and thought to myself, “what the fuck kind of way is that to live?” True story. I remember talking to my friends about the future — after we graduated college and were forced into the real world — and many of them said they were happy to progress in whatever it was they were doing. I thought they were lunatics. How could you possibly want to work for someone? Is that not slavery?
That was a long time ago and I’ve had many jobs since then. Some great. Most shit. I’ve also dabbled in a few small ventures with varying degrees of success and A LOT of failures. It’s safe to say I won’t be selling consulting services on entrepreneurship anytime soon. It’s also safe to say I never really approached anything intelligently. By that, I mean conducting a lot of market research and enlisting the services of someone that’s done it before me. Ironically, one of the less shit jobs I had was in Market Research.
Fortunately, we’re not here to talk about my fuck ups. We’re here to discuss your potential fuck-ups should you decide to claim the esteemed identity of “entrepreneur.”
There seems to be a trend amongst young people today, especially digital nomads, where everybody wants – or feels the need – to become an entrepreneur. An accolade often bestowed upon themselves long before a dime is made from their chosen venture.
I would bet my left nut this trend is perpetuated through social media and driven by the human need for significance. If Maslow was to make a career hierarchy, the “entrepreneur” title would sit right at the top looking down on CEO’s, Managing Directors and all other peasants below them.
Funnily, it’s far more difficult to become an appointed CEO (emphasis on appointed), managing director, director etc. than it is to become an entrepreneur. Fuck, anyone can become an entrepreneur. It’s harder to find gainful employment. Period. Most people on Tinder are entrepreneurs. The challenge is making a success of it.
Martin Luther King had a dream. You have a dream. We all have dreams. The king is dead, and racism still rages on.
What are you on about Nicky?
I’m glad you asked. If you have this crazy desire to create something, I’d be the first person to tell you to go for it — assuming I liked you — because the vast majority of people close to you will shit on your ambitions if they perceive them to be too grand, or worse, if they fear they will experience a serving of envy should you succeed. But — and it’s a bigger BUTT than Beyonce’s — if you are only attracted to the results, the title, the accolades, the money etc. and you’re blinded by the process, the stress, the sweat and the tears? The reality. I’m simply suggesting you think long and hard about it…
You don’t have to be a fucking entrepreneur.
Depression, anxiety and suicide numbers are all skyrocketing, especially amongst millennials and the iGeneration. These figures are even more terrifying for entrepreneurs. One study suggests entrepreneurs are four times more likely to suffer depression than everyone else—and it appears everyone else is fucked so that statistic alone should at least warrant consideration. Is this something you’re willing to die for? Because a lot of those successful motherfuckers will tell you they are! Metaphorically speaking of course.
I think what I’m trying to say is—you can’t half-ass this shit. Sure—many people can, will, and do. But that’s not the reality. It’s the exception. You can half-ass pretty much any other job on the planet and still make a living but if you’re going to take on full responsibility for your well-being and potentially the well-being of others, you’ll find yourself slowly suffocating if you’re not prepared to give it everything you’ve got.
What do you value more—lifestyle or wealth? Either is fine. You have the right to value or go after whatever you want. Most digital nomads value lifestyle over money which is contradictory to the start-up life. We could talk about values all day but knowing yours is a good place to start when you’re working on your grand plan. I’m not suggesting for a second chaining yourself to a desk and working a job that makes you miserable for the rest of your life. That’s nuts.
I would suggest you exercise caution when being sold on the pursuit of your passion or purpose. That passion and purpose stuff is bollox when it comes to reasons for setting up your own enterprise. It’s all fluff so you can speak enthusiastically about what you do unbeknownst to the fact that most people couldn’t care less about your passion or purpose. Can your product and service help them? That’s what they care about. Can you communicate that effectively to them? And can you get it to market? You need to care about it all.
It’s kind of a crazy notion that we believe strangers when they tell us it’s easy to follow your passion and turn it into a business. Of course, we want to believe it. But creating a successful business is really fucking hard. Why do you think 90% or something fails? Everybody would have their own business if it was easy. The internet is your greatest ally, yet it makes the world your competitor.
The digital nomad dream is one of freedom doing that which you love is it not?
If I were to let you in on a little secret, I’d tell you that being an entrepreneur is not a pre-requisite for this reality. You just have to be able to work online. And there is so much opportunity for that. So, if you’re thinking about this and you’re enrolling in courses to find your purpose and reading every book under the sun that tells you all you have to do is put it out there in the Universe for it to come true, then maybe you want to stop that and consider becoming a specialist in something you enjoy.
If you enjoy it, you can become an expert in it. You can get paid quite a lot of money for it too if you’re willing to apply yourself and you’ll have far more freedom as a result. Then when you know you are really good at something, you can shoot for the moon without having to bet your life on it, necessarily. There is no timeline on this stuff. If you’re talking time, the only time that matters is yours, and that you’re ready.
And if you’re ready now and everything inside you is agonizing to give it a go, then fucking give it a go. I wish you all the luck in the world!