There’s no scripted way to become an entrepreneur, but there are certainly things you can do to make your journey easier. All the time, you hear people talking about their past, saying, “Boooyyy…if I only knew then what I know now……” Of course, when you’re sitting in their rotted out double-wide while they’re waxing nostalgic, this type of statement doesn’t have much of an effect. However, when it comes from me (as it’s about to), then it oughta mean more – you know, cause at least my double-wide is shiny and new.
Learn from my mistakes
In July of 2005, I walked away from my job without a plan. I had some money saved up, but I had no plan whatsoever and absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. At the time, all I knew is that my situation blew goats, and I had to get out as fast as humanly possible because I was growing more miserable by the day.
Suffice it to say, it would have been really nice to have at least some idea where I was headed. Going from two years of steady income to no cash flow at all was really stressful, however, and I had a knee-jerk reaction to the whole thing. To make matters worse, I bought my first house just a month after quitting my job. Now, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is not the recommended course of action, but then again, I’ve never really cared too much for pragmatic advice of the extremely obvious kind (read: I’m a hardheaded moron sometimes).
Dumb move #1
Worried about my income (or lack thereof), I immediately set up a “temporary” retail business that I thought would provide enough cash each month to make my house payment. In my old job, I was a sales maven, so to speak, and after my experiences there, I figured I could sell just about anything. I mean, if all I had to do to make my house payment was turn over a measley $30K per year, that was gonna be sooo easy. Right?
Expect the unexpected. The road to entrepreneurial freedom is rarely paved, and generally speaking, your tires aren’t ready for the rocky terrain, either. I was utilizing both eBay and an online store to hawk my crappy wares, and at first, it looked as though eBay alone was going to send me hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales annually. That is, until they began policing the categories under which I was listing my top moneymaking items. Within a week of setting up my business, my number one stream of income was completely shut down thanks to eBay’s VeRO system. Ouch baby, very ouch. Time for plan B…
Dammit, I knew I forgot something!
Dumb move #2
If you ask me, buying and selling in large quantities really isn’t much of an intellectual game. It can be, but typically, it’s just a fancy way of shuffling money around. Oh, and did I mention that it’s also a pain in the ass? Unless you have some kind of freakish sadomasochistic desire to handle product, keep paper trails 10 miles long, and worry your ass off about your inventory, this kind of business BLOWS. That’s right – it’s so bad that it blows in uppercase.
I didn’t enjoy what I was doing – I was only there for the money. There’s absolutely no point in being an entrepreneur if you’re not going to be doing something that you really enjoy! Unless you’re just a maniacal bulldog who’s totally ruled by cash, your mind and your body will let you know that you really have no interest in your current path.
Dumb move #3
When you’re putting out more cash than you’re taking in, it’s a real challenge not to worry about money. However, I would argue that it’s essential for finding the quickest path to building a successful, sustainable business.
Of course, I listed this as dumb move #3 because I worried about money, thus wasting valuable time that I could have spent learning about my craft or developing a tool for my business. Although I began pursuing web-related ventures with fervor in October of 2005, it took me until January of 2006 to finally rid myself of the other business distractions that were preventing me from being a full time entrepreneur.
I’ve already said that your terrain was going to be rocky and that your tires weren’t ready for that type of surface…so why on earth would you allow more obstacles to get in your way? If you’re going to traverse the road of an entrepreneur, you need to play it smart by avoiding distractions and obstacles.
A smart move! Take an overview
Taking the points that I’ve outlined above and combining them with what you already know, it should be pretty clear at this point what the most efficient, least-risky, and least-stressful route to entrepreneurial freedom really is. Still not sure?
Go through college the smart way by minimizing your risk and maximizing your learning! Discover an intellectual pursuit that drives you to learn, produce, and achieve; and then use that as the foundation for your journey.
Too old for college? Here’s my advice: take the risk and start your journey anyway. If you can put yourself in a frame of mind where you don’t worry about money (regardless of your circumstances — just don’t worry about it!), then you can pursue your true “career” free of meaningless distraction. Think about it for a second. If you really boil things down, money is nothing more than an absolutely worthless, meaningless, counter-productive distraction. The point of becoming an entrepreneur is to free yourself from the mockery that is a salary, and concerning yourself with money only subjects you to more of this anti-freedom environment.
The sooner you focus your efforts and maximize your learning, the sooner you will be free…which means you’ll finally be able to read blogs all day, guilt-free!