If you paid me fifty times what I make now to work at a regular job, I wouldn't do it.
Over the past few weeks I've informally asked some of my other entrepreneur friends how much they'd have to be paid to work a normal job in their industry. None of them quoted any reasonable figure. Some of them didn't want to answer the question because it was so uncomfortable to think about.
When Justin Frankel, creator of Winamp, quit AOL, he was offered a job by Microsoft. They asked what he needed to work there, and he responded with a written offer. In his list of necessities were things like a private jet, the ability to work remotely 100% of the time, and all boat rental fees to be reimbursed. It was a joke, but he sent it to them anyway. That's how abhorrent the idea of a real job was to him.
If you have a job, you might think that the grass is always greener. But you're wrong. No one on this side of the fence thinks the other side is greener. With a quick Google search, I could find you tens of thousands of blogs where people talk about how much they hate their jobs and how much they'd love to start their own business. I dare you to find entrepreneurs, even poor ones, who wish they had their old jobs back.
That's not to say, of course, that all jobs are bad. I know a good handful of people who have jobs they love and have no desire to be entrepreneurs. This post isn't for them-- they're happy with what they're doing already.
This post is for people who have that drive for freedom, that goal of being independent, who are wondering whether it's worth it or not.
Not because you'll make more money. You may or you may not. Not because it's less work. It's probably more. It's worth it because you have something so valuable that most of the world can't even conceive what it might be like to have: freedom.
Freedom trumps everything. If I wasn't constantly faced with people whose jobs prevent them from having freedom, I probably wouldn't appreciate what an exhilarating and amazing a thing it is to have. It would be like trees, so natural and ordinary that they don't get a second thought, despite their magnificence.
I would never get a job again. There's no better way to completely decimate your freedom, which I rank as life's crown jewel. If you offered me a billion dollars to be in an office, I'd take it. And then I'd quit after earning a month's salary so that I could have my freedom back.
If you have a job that you don't like, I hope you think about it. Because if it's not a stepping stone to something better, or feeding children that would otherwise go hungry, you're making a mistake. You may not even realize the mistake you're making if you've never tasted real freedom.
Q: If you're an entrepreneur, what would it take for you to get a regular job instead?
ToFind.Me is better now! Rough geolocating and a much better coordinate scheme. I'll write a full post on it later this week, probably. This is my favorite restaurant in Tokyo, which I can't find online in any way: http://ToFind.Me/+M95RS3B39. It's called Alaska. Check it out...
Heading to China this Thursday, then SF, then LA a few days later, then Austin, then Boston... crazy schedule for the holidays.
I buzzed my head with the shortest guard on the buzzer today. I look like I'm terminally ill, but man is it convenient.
My internet company has allowed me to live a lifestyle that would never be possible with a traditional 9-5. That said, the only jobs I'd consider are jobs that would be interesting or enjoyable, or allow me to do something I wouldn't normally be able to do.
For example, I'd consider jobs such as:
- Driving an ambulance
- Flying a plane
- Being a spy/secret agent
- SWAT Team
- Drug Cartel
- President of the USA
- Professional Athlete
- Movie Star
What would it take me to do a 9-5 desk job such as accounting? Probably $1,000,000 a year. Even then, I don't know how long I'd last...
Love it. Great story about the winamp dude. It really whips the llama's ass is starting to make more sense now. Good shit!
I'm not sure how entrepreneur = freedom. Sure, I agree that many people are stuck in jobs that they don't like, and yes, I agree that those people are not free. But claiming that everybody else that is doing what they love, but not working for themselves, aren't free? That's a stretch. A job can be considered a business, with yourself selling your services to one (and only one) customer, the employer. There are plenty of entrepreneurs that are trapped by their own companies. Freedom is a state of mind, not something that's dictated by how you choose to earn a living.
"I dare you to find entrepreneurs, even poor ones, who wish they had their old jobs back" -
Tynan, this is silly. There are lots of people who gave the entrepreneurial thing a shot and decided they were better suited for a regular job. Many people find when they're hustling 24/7 to put food on the table that they actually have LESS freedom.
Both have their advantages, but to say no one ever tries entrepreneurship and wants to go back is silly.
Totally with it. It's kind of lonely being largely non-compliant with societal norms and common logical thinking. But, like you said man, freedom trumps everything. Love this post bro.
am a young guy willing to start life on my own with a lot of new ideas,am studying chemistry now but i think entrepreneur is the choice, i think am home
I'm struggling at a 9-5 desk job right now. I love the place and people that I work with as well as the sense of community that I feel but absolutely hate working at a desk in front of a computer ALL DAY LONG. It is preventing me from really getting out there to market my side business. So I will quite in a few months and hope that I don't sink.
i left the workforce in dec 01 and went off to make handmade soap for a living.
people thought i was crazy.
and yet, every day i decide when i'll work and for how long.
i create whatever i want, and i work with wonderful raw materials.
i have the freedom to travel for 25% of the year.
my husband works with me and we have a great time together.
i've learned how to run a company and how to run a productive workshop.
i have absolutely gorgeous customers, many of whom have become friends.
we live in a beautiful part of the world and we have no debt.
there isn't enough money printed to entice either of us back into regular jobs.
@Markus: I did a short review of the Smartwool Vibrams over on my blog.
@Kevin Diaz: I'd have to agree with your answer.
Complete breakdown on my part. To make a long story short: neglected profitable muses for stupid reasons, got scared, and flinched. Took 5 days to hate life, crush creativity, and realize I was in the wrong place.
To avoid bringing an Uzi to work, I quit. I readjusted. Spent several weeks smashing my head into walls (figuratively, of course...) until I built a sustainable income being a professional badass.
A bunch of people e-mailed me about the Drop Out and Grow Rich article I posted yesterday. A friend of mine pointed out a few things, most importantly that I failed to give the college grad interest on his money. Fixing that (and making him pay interest if he was negative, but only after the first 4 years of college) put him very close to the high school grad with private school money. Never charging him interest for being negative got him slightly above that same person.
Then it was pointed out that the difference in earnings wasn't 900k as the college-mongers claimed. It was more like 1.3mil. I had no good data on salary increases, so I assumed the inflation rate. I guess it stands to reason that after a while job experience means more than the degree, so the gap gets smaller.
If I fudged the grad's income to equal a 900k lifetime earnings difference, the Dropout with Private School money is again the winner, but is still followed closely by the grad. If I fudge the dropout's starting income (to $29,692) to get the 900k difference, the grad still beats the dropout with public level money, but only by 300k. Also, the dropout would be beating him until age 58.
Daniel Odio gives tips and tricks for entrepreneurs!
Click to listen to "Episode 65: Interview Part 1" and click to listen to "Episode 66: Interview Part 2"
Jim Hopkinson, Wired.com's Marketing Guy and creator ofThe Hopkinson Report, recently interviewed me for his Hopkinson Report podcast. Here's a Tweet of Jim's about the Podcast, and another one about my social media hardware bag and another on my blog posting about how to hire people effectively.
Here is a transcript of the Podcasts