Which one of these things is not like the other?
Trick question…they’re all the same. They make for great TV specials, but they seem eternally elusive in real life. Especially that first one, because as long as you’re working for someone else, you’ll never have the control you want.
Does that mean everyone should run out and become entrepreneurs? Meh, probably not. Control comes with responsibility and, depending how you bring your idea to life, varying amounts of risk.
But, here’s the thing. I’ve been asked a bunch of times, lately, how smart it is to walk away from the “safe option” of working for someone else to start your own business or even begin to build some kind of independent career or leveragable reputation on the side in this economy.
Safe…SAFE? I want to scream, “Are you out of your mind?!”
Since when is the safe option handing over the keys to your career to someone else and hoping that, in challenging times, they’ll make the tough decisions in “your” best interest, rather than in “their” best interest?
Safety, in this context, is largely an outgrowth of control.
In times of relative prosperity, many people don’t care so much about control (well, I do, but many people don’t). Because, as long as there’s enough to go around, the people who you surrender the fate of your career to don’t have to decide between them and you or the company and you. There’s enough to go around for everyone.
But, in tough financial times, like right now…
Those same people DO have make tough choices. And, there’s a pretty good chance that “what’s best for YOU” is the not their driving motivation.
- I want to be the one who determines what I do or don’t do, whether I have a job or not and what my relative value is.
- I want to be the one to monitor the world, analyze my options and take action to respond or adapt the direction of my career, my company and my future.
- I want to be the one who chooses who I surround myself with, why, in what context and when, and…
- I want to be the one to balance short term risk with long-term vision and opportunity.
I want to be in control…even in this economy…ESPECIALLY in this economy.
And, somehow, the world perceives that as the “riskier” path?
Yes, things are challenging. And, I understand there is always risk in building your own path, starting your own biz in any economy. But, you know what, we’ll all get through it. Things will get better.
In fact, in a recent Microsoft/Elance survey, nearly 90% of small business owners said they’d still rather work for themselves. And, 60% said they expect 2009 to be as good as, if not better, than 2008. Like Seth Godin shares, “It makes it so much easier to win when so many other people are dropping out.”
Plus, it’s no secret that, without fail, those who are willing to find opportunities, invest and take chances in challenging markets are very often those who end up on top when we emerge from the carnage. Right now…
- You can acquire massive amounts of knowledge in the blink of an eye.
- You can test and research ideas online for free or very little money.
- You can establish yourself as the go-to person in your area of passion and begin to build a following, a community.
- You can build a business plan based on the proven demand of your community, rather than best-guess assumptions, then…
- Give people what they want, when they want it, in the way they want it, at the price they can afford.
This is the new entrepreneurship…
Post downfall reinvention start-up style. Fast, low risk, low capital, amassing knowledge, growing conversations and turning those conversations into passion-driven solutions you already know people are hungry for.
This is Career Renegading at it’s best...
And, yes, I get that if you need to put food on the table and pay your rent, that’s priority number one. You may need to keep working for someone else or find a new job working for someone else. But, if it’s something that affords you little control and empties you out on a daily basis…that’s not a career…it’s a band-aid. And, long-term, it’s not really the “safe” option.
Once you’ve got your basic survival needs taken care of, if you’re not in control, if you’re not doing something you love…you’ve gotta wonder if, maybe, it’s time to start building or searching for that next great adventure on the side until it’s big enough to step into.
Ask these two critical questions that will likely determine what your livelihood and life look life once this period is behind us:
- Who do you trust to create your career, income and future? And…
- Beyond a paycheck, what do you really want from the way you earn your living?
When it comes to deciding what I should or shouldn’t be working at for the rest of my life, how secure I want to feel and what I’m worth on any given day…I trust me! I want the control, the freedom and the opportunity to do what I love, make a great living and change peoples’ lives.
So, I’m going to take the “safe” option...and keep signing my own paycheck.
What about you? As always, I’m just thinking out loud here.
What’d I miss? What would you like to add?
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