This is the age of believe-in-yourself entrepreneurial ambition. Quit is a dirty word. Day job is blasphemy.
Lifestyle Design or a Global Empire is the ultimate goal. Working for The Man is the ultimate failure.
Except when it isn’t.
Here’s why you should quit and get a real job…
I encounter thousands of business owners and their stories. The Virtual Clarity Couch is the offer I make to entrepreneurs searching the net for answers: Hop on the metaphorical couch, fill out the questionnaire and score some free business psychoanalysis. It’s free clarity for anyone who takes the time to get in touch.
This offer means I hear from some people who, for various reasons, are hurting.
Business isn’t going good. Bills are stacking up. Stress. Anxiety. Pain.
For the average entrepreneur, life is overwhelming.
About ninety five percent of the time, I’ll share strategies for busting stress, tactics for melting anxiety and philosophy for the pain. That’s my job. I’m the Shrink for Entrepreneurs.
Sometimes, I’ll tell people to go get a real job.
Throw tomatoes if you want, but first understand my position.
Having recorded hundreds and hundreds of these Clarity Couch reports, I’ve wrestled several times with this ethical dilemma.
Do I tell a stranger, struggling and in pain as a wannabe entrepreneur, to get a real job? Is it the “best” thing for them?
Is relentlessly insisting on entrepreneurialism a principal that trumps common sense?
One Clarity Couch submission sticks in my mind. For obvious reasons I won’t share any personal information but this is the gist of it:
The entrepreneur is a freelance web worker (the specific industry doesn’t matter). He long ago quit his 9-to-5 job to pursue the location-independent freelance entrepreneur dream.
At the time this person contacted me, his big issue was his friends. He didn’t have any left.
As business failed to take off, this entrepreneur had to cut expenses. The mortgage couldn’t be kept up with. Soon, even rent was too much. He hit the road to be “location independent” – staying with friends while traveling across the continent.
At the time he submitted his Clarity Couch questionnaire, this person had lost those friends. He had been confronted and accused of being a “user”. After months of crashing on couches and borrowing money for essential expenses (food, gas)… people had had enough.
Conversations were had. The entrepreneur, pepped up with believe-in-yourself philosophy, rejected his angry friends. He named them unsupportive. The words “toxic beliefs” were thrown around.
He ended up living in his car, with no one to go to for shelter. Parking outside cafes to get on free wifi.
This entrepreneur asked me what to do next.
When you have nothing, not even a vision… Quit your Business, get a Job
The rags-to-riches dream still happens. Guy Laliberté is probably one of the more famous examples. He went from a penniless street performer to the CEO of Cirque Du Soleil with a net worth of $2.5 billion.
Vision is the difference between Laliberté and the person who contacted me. I won’t go near a discussion about their respective talent because that’s not what this is about.
Laliberté made a big dream happen. The freelancer was aiming to have “enough money to not have to worry about things”. Big difference.
My advice to the freelancer was to seek part time employment. To check the boxes on Maslow’s basic human needs. I told him that alleviating the types of stress he was experiencing, by creating some semblance of security and stability, was the best move for his business.
He needed vision. “Success no matter the cost” is only a viable attitude when you know what success looks like. There’s no point struggling to hustle when you lack a dream.
I told him a job was what his business needed.
If you need to learn a few things… Quit your Business, get a Job
I bootstrapped my budding (read: floundering) psychotherapy practice, in it’s first year, with a regular job.
I worked for the man. In fact, I worked for a NYSE listed, $12billion dollar, global empire – which is far from the groovy and hip lifestyle of a freedom-obsessed business owner.
I took the job because I knew I needed to learn something. I didn’t just want a paycheck. I wanted to go to school.
Working at Premiere Global Inc (really) taught me to sell. As a B2B business development manager, I attended pitch meetings with C level executives all over the country. I got a street education in prospecting, overcame my fear of sales and learned to close.
This education gave me the skills I needed not only to make my practice work, but to pivot into a lucrative corporate consulting career as a self employed business psychology expert.
I learned more in those few months of employment than I’ve learned from every business book I’ve ever read. Combined.
Being proudly unemployable is a joke
If you’re in a place where you life absolutely sucks, because you don’t have enough money and you have no idea where you’re trying to end up… get a job.
If you simply don’t know how to make your business work, you feel like you’ve tried everything and you’re screwing up your life… get a job.
It doesn’t have to mean the end of your business ambition. Choose your job wisely and it might even mean you “get” that thing that you needed to get.
I needed to “get” sales, by doing it. The job gave me the safe place I needed to stretch my sales wings. It allowed me to deconstruct the sales process and apply it to my own business. I’m now a huge advocate for entrepreneurs learning sales on the street, rather than out of a book.
When I told the freelancer to consider a part time job, I advised him to hunt for a position that’d grow his business skill set. I suggested he assist a successful entrepreneur in his industry – watch and learn. I counseled him to transform his vision from “what I want to avoid” to “what I want to create”, with the help of a warm shower and a good meal.
I received a scathing reply. I was evil, a disbeliever, toxic and part of the problem.
The person who contacted me was just one of many. I’ve heard his story many times. I’ve received similar responses.
Real entrepreneurs can work for people
It’s time to destroy this myth that they should not. There are many circumstances where a job can accelerate business success.
In some cases, a business can be entirely quit. So long as the entrepreneurial attitude remains, quitting is just another step in the journey.
Get a job, learn something, dream up a vision. Hit a home run next time.
Being stuck and broke with no way out means your progress has stalled. Not only are you not learning anything, you’re hemorrhaging money because of it.
The only belief you need is that, no matter what happens in life, you’ll always come back to business. That you’ll always be an entrepreneur, even if you’re temporarily undercover – “stealing trade secrets” from The Man. Why not frame a job as a recon mission?
Quit your business if you have to. Just never quit on business, even if you want to.
What do you think? That’s my opinion and I’d love to hear yours, so leave a comment. There are no wrong answers…