Love is just a word. What’s important is the connection the word implies and how far you’re willing to go to hold on to that connection. -The Matrix
Most of the people who want to become entrepreneurs are trained or told to hate their jobs. The idea is that the bigger the hate the faster the transition to be an entrepreneur. Some people who take this dogma end up being inefficient with their jobs and spend every waking hour miserable with their jobs. Since they are just trying to get business ideas from their employer they often disregard the large nuggets of business skills they can pick up at the workplace.
It’s not the big things like kick ass business ideas or capital or building an infrastructure that prevents you from being an entrepreneur it’s the small things that stop your progress. I’m not talking about your fear stopping you. We tackled that already in “How to be Unstoppable.” What I’m trying to say is that the small things like: being on time, keeping small promises, and attention to detail is more important. Sadly, if you hate your job you’ll only be able to build capital, technical skills, gain business ideas and not much else. You still won’t be an entrepreneur.
Like you, I have some times when I’m starting to hate my job and want to rush building my business and at times I feel comfortable about my job and end up forgetting about my business.
My girlfriend said that whenever the president of the company she works for would describe the kind of person he wants to work with, I’m the first person she thinks of. When I asked her why? She said “because you take ownership of what you do and you act and decide as if you own the company and you think of others before yourself.”
At a meeting with my current boss we had a discussion about me fighting tooth and nail to keep my top account from getting turned over to someone else at work. She then said something that sounded like it was taken from Leo Babauta’s uncopyright philosophy. She said “nothing is ever yours; it’s an opportunity while you have it and make the most of it but you have to learn to let things go to move forward.”The conversation felt like it was checkmate for the negotiation and that I’m losing money (I so feel like a mercenary haggling at this point). I then pondered on. If ownership of something causes an employee to work harder on something, what happens now that I’m no longer considering my work anything I own?
So are you trying to say that I should forget my goals and be a corporate slave for the rest of my life?
Of course not! After pondering for a couple of weeks I thought of an answer.Everything you have right now is preparation for the next. Loving your work and being excellent at it will make you love your business and be an excellent entrepreneur.
First, let’s define love. Love is accepting something for what it is and what its not. Your job is a source of income, and a preparation ground because you’ll be using what you picked up in your work as an employee to your work as an entrepreneur. Your job is not the reason why you’ll be financially free but a stepping stone for greater things. What I didn’t realize early on is that as I work on my job for my skills I’m also building a reputation and alliances.
An entrepreneur is an entrepreneur whether you work for yourself or for others. You’re the marketing and sales, customer service and relationship manager, budget and finance director and CEO of whatever you do. An entrepreneur solves problems for a profit or pay. Your reputation and attitude, not just your business skills are transferable. In fact if you look to it as building a reputation of a person who’s excellent with your skills and attention to detail, the business skills will follow.
Here are a few things to think about:
- Will you buy investment advice from someone who's broke?
- Will you buy get a marketing guy who doesn't have good relations with his previous boss or workmates?
- Will you be getting a franchise from somebody who's not a franchise owner?
- Will you buy personal care products from a smoker?
The answer is always no. Although the past is not a prerequisite for your future but its a good indication of future results. The good thing about it is that if you can change your results with what you have right now you can build a future with an excellent track record.
Here are some things I changed that I never thought would Impact my results greatly. You can start with these now and make progress little by little and as you go along mastery of these things can improve you further.
- Think of a solution instead of complaining. – Seriously. Who likes listening to a whining crybaby? You’re smart. Don’t be dead weight. Take up the “Challenge to Never Complain.”
- Sleep and wake up early – This is probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My mentor helped me with this for a few months when we were establishing this habit by putting up the condition, “whoever isn’t at Starbucks by 7am buys coffee for the both of us.” It made me not look at my phone after 9pm and write a to do list to make it to the meeting place early.
- Quit Smoking – Tried anything and everything to do this. I’m glad I did.
- Be neat and presentable – Collin’s advice in personal branding is a slap in the face for people who forget about being neat and presentable. You’re on the same level as CEO’s so you better look like one.
- Started Saving – Makes decision making a lot easier. Did you know that you tend to buy more stuff the less cash you have? I did. You can start by targeting a figure above the average amount in your savings account. Then start going for that level. It’s a fun game to play. I’ll probably write more about this later on.
- Improve little by little instead of half-assed growths in leaps and bounds. – Little change done every day can cause small permanent results that add up. Growth in leaps and bounds usually rely on luck and is often temporary.
- Be a minimalist. – I wanted to be a minimalist because I wanted to worry less, focus more and be organized. Nice move and cheap too.
- Simplify before sharing/discussing anything – A person who doesn't know talks a lot and a person who knows talks little. Even if you know a lot the person you’re talking to probably doesn't know what you’re talking about. Keep things simple for better results. No need for the 10 page proposal if you can tell them I’ll help you out with X if you pay us X. Simple right?
- Learn to say no – We feel bad about saying no a lot because we don’t like hearing a no from others. Will you buy everything every salesperson offers you? You’ll run out of cash if you do so. Some things cost more than cash. Can you say “Time” and ”Attention”?
- Take uninterrupted breaks - you don't learn to respect the time of others unless you respect yours first. Work when you work and really pause when you pause.
- Don't be attached to anything – Learn to say it’s just stuff, money, my job, my account. Screw them. The things you own will end up owning you. My most miserable experiences in my working life is that when I had to run after people who owe me money. Don’t let people owe you money. If you do, don’t expect them to return it. Give them something more important like time perhaps. When people want to borrow money I try to convince them that they don’t need money to do what they intend to use the money for or teach them how to move forward without needing the money.
- Keep your head – Bad decisions are a result of acting when we are emotional. Learn to delay and keep your head.
- Ditch speed for starting early and consistency – Haste makes waste. There’s an advantage if you begin sooner. Sooner means more experience for better decisions and action later on. Most top Olympic athletes and Martial Artist started practicing their craft as early as they learned their craft. That should teach you something. Consistency makes your expectations realistic.
- Ditch multitasking for focus. Your brain can actively do one thing at a time really effectively. If you want to be effective, then learn to single-task. Which match do you think you’d win, one on one or one versus an army?
These are all minimal changes but the results have changed the way I do my work and had greatly improved my results in my side projects. Let me know about your challenges from employee to entrepreneur.