Ask new and aspiring entrepreneurs what draws them to the quest to start their own businesses and you’ll often hear “freedom” in reply. Control over when you work, who you serve, how you decide and what you create.
Ask established business owners what the best thing about the way they earn their living is and freedom rarely every tops the list. Because, they’ve been in it long enough for the illusion to drop away and reality to set it.
Artists who create art for art’s sake devoid of any need for others to exchange money for what they create may well have freedom, provided they have other ways to earn a living or what they create just happens to tap into an existing need, zeitgeist or delight on a level others value enough to pay for.
Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, can and should create art on every level, from culture-building to customer service and product development. But the moment you ask for money in exchange for what you create, you lose a piece of freedom.
Because the market, your customer, decides whether what you’ve created is valuable enough for you to keep doing more of it. Not you. Them. They are your boss. Always have been. Always will be.
The real difference between doing it yourself or working for “the man” is not that you have the freedom to now call all the shots. You don’t. It’s that you get to remove the layers of people, institutions and processes that interfere with your ability to communicate with and more directly serve the one person who’ll always have ultimate control over your freedom. The customer.
Put another way, it’s about whether you get to work directly with the person who holds the reigns or serve under tens, hundreds or thousands who hold their own sets of intervening reigns, each with their own agendas.
There is huge benefit to removing all those layers and speaking directly to the people you serve. But, always remember, the moment you rely on other peoples’ willingness to exchange money for what you create in order to live well in the world, that’s the moment freedom cedes.
That’s not a bad thing. But it’s a thing. One most aspiring and new entrepreneurs struggle mightily with.
True entrepreneurs are driven to serve as much as they are called to lead. Click to tweet
If you want to be an entrepreneur, the sooner you own that, the better.
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