The case for entrepreneurship can be a compelling one.
Let’s preface with the fact that after three years I still dig my day job. And I realize I’m fortunate in that respect. The vast majority of people I know who spend 1/3 of their waking life in a cubicle ultimately live for the weekend.
But enjoying what I do and believing in the mission doesn’t shake that ever present itch I sometimes feel for the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Maybe that’s the reason I consult with really cool organizations and have had a side-hustle for as long as I’ve been a working professional.
Entrepreneurship is scary though, right?
Especially for someone who is so risk averse and frugal that he asks for extra napkins at fast food restaurants so that he can save on paper towels at his apartment.
This post isn’t a preamble to my own foray into entrepreneurship. No, it’s merely a reminder to myself (and maybe to you) that fear and uncertainty in our lives don’t have to be crippling.
My generation, Millennials job hop often. Sometimes that’s our fault because we’re entitled brats who think we deserve roles and promotions that we’re simply not ready for yet. More often it’s the organization’s fault for not incentivizing us correctly.
In any event, chances are you’ve switched jobs at some point in your career, or at the very least interviewed somewhere else. Just thinking about switching insurance, getting used to a new commute, acclimating yourself to a new culture and learning a bunch of new things is scary as hell.
And that’s why people stay. It’s why they get complacent. And it’s why, though we may never known it, we’re robbed from the value those people could’ve provided the world had they overcome their fear and complacency.
The time to look for a new job is when you don’t need one. The time to switch jobs is before it feels comfortable. Go. Switch. Challenge yourself; get yourself a raise and a promotion. You owe it to your career and your skills. – Seth Godin
Let’s reiterate before that quote misleads you… I’m not advocating you leave/quit a job you’re passionate about — where you’re making a difference and where your voice is heard.
What I AM saying is that if you are an unhappy cog in a corporate cubicle machine, with a crappy commute, unfulfilling projects, no voice, and no ability to grow then please, please, please do not let the fear of uncertainty cripple you into conforming into what society expects of you.
IF that describes your current situation, I encourage you to consider entrepreneurship.
1.) Lack of Bureaucracy
This may seem like a small one, but if you’ve ever worked in a big organization you understand how elusive it can be. There’s nothing worse than miles of red tape, countless bad meetings, and a rigid work day to stifle your ability to get work done. Every organization has some level of hierarchy, but most startups operate with a relatively flat structure that enables you to make things happen quickly. “That amount of time is a luxury we don’t have,” one startup co-founder recently told me.
2.) A Fresh Start
For some people this can mean re-branding yourself somewhere else. Maybe your manager still thinks of you as the kid she hired 5 years ago. But chances are you’ve learned, grown, and changed even though her expectations of what you can do have not.
For others, the fresh start is more about the blank slate and the remote possibility that you’ll hear, “But this is the way we’ve always done it.” In the early stages of startups and entrepreneurship, you’ll have the ability to help shape how things get done. That level of ownership is empowering.
3.) Invaluable Experience
Often times in big organizations you have a “specialty.” In my world (of marketing), you might have a PR expert, a branding specialist, a photographer, a copywriter, a strategist and someone else that executes their strategy. Typically, in the early states of entrepreneurship one person does all of those jobs and more.
Whether you eventually want to go out on your own or not, that breadth of experience, while simultaneously getting to watch your founders navigate the trials of a startup, will prepare you for starting your own thing or triumphantly returning to the corporate world with new skills under your belt.
4.) One Team, One Mission
Whether you’re a founding member with equity or not, chances are the success of the company depends, at least to some extent, on the work that you contribute. When you’re a team of 6, 8, or even 20, your contributions likely carry a lot more weight than when you’re 1 of 25,000. Having that skin in the game and knowing your colleagues all feel the same way is likely one of the most powerful motivators you’ll ever encounter.
Here two other could resources on the benefits/reasons you should consider a startup:
- 14 Benefits of Working for a Startup from my peers in the Young Entrepreneur Council
- 8 Reasons to Choose a Startup Over a Corporate Job from Humanity.TV co-founder Kerri Sheldon
Brené Brown, whom I love, said in a recent interview with Jonathan Fields (and I’m paraphrasing here): “What are you missing out on? It’s so easy to make a life/career out of sitting in the bleachers. You don’t want thttp://www.jonathanfields.com/o be at the end of your life asking yourself, ‘What would’ve happened had I shown up?‘”
So there you have it. That’s the my case for entrepreneurship. Are you an entrepreneur? Would you ever consider taking that leap?