This is a guest post from Dan Andrews of the Tropical MBA and the Lifestyle Business Podcast. Through the last year Dan has taught me a lot about being an entrepreneur, and more importantly has become a good friend. So listen to what he has to say, or else…
I talk to a lot people who are considering starting a business from square one.
A typical situation: you have a good job, a great family, friends– most of whom aren’t entrepreneurs. You’re totally sold on the idea of starting a lifestyle business. I mean, why not!?
You read Sean’s blog. You’re smart. You’re pumped! Booyah!
You’ve got some rare free time on a Saturday morning. You’ve got your white board, a few tips on keyword research, and some hot SEO tips. You’re ready to go.
Somebody calls. You get discouraged. You pack up shop and look forward to the next weekend day you can free up. Next time, you think, you’ll get somewhere.
It’s common for people who feel they are at square one to hope for a watershed moment. I know from first hand experience. The Tropical MBA was in part modeled after the job ads I wished I would have seen on Craigslist during many wistful late nights on the web searching for the perfect job.
“Watershed moment” dreams follow the overnight success model. One moment can change everything. Perhaps in the form of an innovative product idea that pops in to your head! You buy an online course that delivers you a business in a box. You win the lottery. A representative from the record company randomly comes to your band’s best performance. You finally complete a great work or art that catapults you out of obscurity. You meet the the right investor at a party.
The problem with this thinking is simple: it doesn’t work.
Unfortunately for folks with a good job, who don’t have a deep internal desire to run a business – you are what you do regularly. If you want to be an entrepreneur, and you aren’t working for entrepreneurs on a daily basis, you’re behind the ball.
My first corporate gig was the kind that sounds good on paper– Fortune 500 company, killer offices, nice perks, and a really cool product line. Of course, the damn thing drove me crazy. Nobody seemed to be achieving, or even attempting to obtain heading the kind of freedom I’d imagined.
My best friend saw my misery and actually started submitting my resume to potential employers behind my back. I didn’t know it at the time, but what I needed was to be around a small entrepreneurial group of people that valued my desire to make an impact on the businesses I worked for.
One of the most effective ways to become an entrepreneur is to work for one. Scoring a job with somebody you want to be like has the potential to be a real watershed moment (followed by years of hard work, of course!).
Editor’s Note: I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life – but always on the side, and I never thought I’d make a living from my ventures. Working with Dan is what started me down that path. He only paid me $800/month starting out – but what he gave me was worth worth many, many multiples more than that. Don’t undervalue the idea of surrounding yourself, and going to work for other entrepreneurs. You can’t put a price on what you’ll learn.
If you don’t have a business idea, and if you don’t have traction– you aren’t alone. I feel that way everyday. Your challenge is to find a way to join a group of people that make it their job to face that situation professionally.
Consider joining us and going to work for an entrepreneur whom you admire. Bonus points if that entrepreneur currently has has less than 10 employees.
If you’re concerned that you’ll make less money, have less prestige, work harder hours, and go a little bit crazy, your worries are probably well placed. All of those things are probably true. Yet, there’s a very good chance, however, you’ll have way more fun. 😀