Since the age of 7, my mother repeatedly told me this: “In order to have a good life and earn enough money, you should find a stable job. That means that you should study hard and keep your grades high all the time.” Following this advice, I’ve been a straight-A student for most of my time in school. When I finally conquered all school levels: primary, high school, and I finally obtained this rare item called: The master’s degree – I was ready. I was ready for that high-paying job in one of the biggest companies in my country. Or I thought I was. It didn’t take me long to realize that my diploma won’t actually give me all the stuff my mother promised when I was a 7-year-old child. I felt mislead.
After graduating, I thought that something magical will happen now. After all, I was a certified economist, specialized in sales, and there is constantly a need for people who can sell well. I applied for a couple of jobs and I thought that my phone will go mad from incoming calls. Five applications send. Nothing. Ten. Nothing. Twenty. Still nothing.
When I think about then, I wonder how could I’ve been so stupid to think that having a diploma will make companies kill for me. What was different? Expect my diploma, nothing else. I was still the same guy with pretty much the same capabilities. And what are companies looking for when they hire new employees? Practical skills, experience in the field, fresh blood, which means that they’re looking for people under 30. From the above three, I had only the third one. I was 24 years old back then. Thankfully I had time. But I was running low on patience.
Some countries really do take care of people who have graduated colleague.1 Unfortunately, the country I live in, Bulgaria, doesn’t. Actually, people with “average education” do better than such who have “a high school diploma.”
It sucks big times, I know!
When I realize the hard truth, I felt misled. By my own mother! I know she wasn’t the one to blame. She simply guided me by her own principles. She was a straight-A student and she worked in one of the biggest companies in my hometown, Plovdiv.2
When she was younger, things were simple: go to school, study hard and when you graduate, find a job similar to what teachers thought you in school. Stable, secure job, that will help you support your growing family. Thoughts towards starting your own business were out of the box. It was simply too risky to get yourself involved with something that might eventually fail. I was educated that working for a company is the only possible way to earn money. I was educated by the wrong textbooks. And it’s not only me, most of us were thought the same principles. I had to read Linchpin by Seth Godin to realize this.
Even though it’s the most known way for human beings to earn a buck, it’s surely not the right way if you want to become independent, filthy rich and leave something behind.3
Why a 9 to 5 Job Sucks?
Actually, there are some great companies, especially in the IT sector, for which people are willing to kill to work for. Cozy office, cool perks, high salary, great working environment. Large companies are doing some crazy shit to attract talented people.4 Of course, working for someone, a company or an individual, has its benefits:
- You receive a regular salary.
- Opportunity to grow in the company, thus receive more money.
- Health insurance.
- Fixed working hours.
- Cool colleagues – hopefully.
- A sense of security.
- Additional perks might apply.
I’ve actually coved most of those in this article – Self-employed vs Employed – What to choose? Still, I’m trying to make a different point in this article. Remember the title: Why Starting Your Own Business is Better Than Going to College?
So, let’s return to our initial question: “Why a 9 to 5 job sucks?”
For one main reason: when you quit or die, you have nothing to leave to your children. The main benefit is the knowledge you’ve acquired while working for the company. Other than that, you’re still the same guy who needs money to sustain his living. When that income stream is cut, you’re on the streets, looking for ways to find food. Quitting a job and starting to work for a new company might be an option, however, you’re starting pretty much from scratch. Even though your experience will help, there are a lot of things that you might don’t like about your new position: your boss is a complete jerk, your colleagues are complete hypocrites, the pressure is killing you.
Here are the main five reasons having a 9 to 5 job sucks:
- Please people – You have to please people you don’t really like. This includes your boss, his secretary, colleagues you are bound to work with, irritating clients who most probably need medical treatment. You can’t simply say “fuck you,” at least not in front of them, when you really feel like saying it. You have to smile, act politely, have manners even for people who don’t deserve it.
- Fixed working hours – In most of the cases, having fixed working hours is ok. You know how much time you’re obligated to work and you do it. Of course, that’s not always the case. This lack of flexibility feels really restricting. Especially when you’re young.
- Lack of meaning – The average job lacks real meaning and purpose. If you’re not sending shuttles into the orbit, like SpaceX, or working in a laboratory where people are trying to cure cancer, your most probably sitting on a desk and replying to emails all day long. Boring.5
- Lack of improvement – At some point, you understand that you’re doing the same shit day in, day out. Since a job is 50% of our awake time, when we’re exposed to the same problems, people, obligations repeatedly, we no longer develop. We enter this stagnation cycle. Where everything is the same and we no longer develop and grow.
- Not yours – The main reason your 9 to 5 job sucks is that is not yours. Nothing – in most of the cases – you create during your job will remain yours, except your skills and experience. When you’re old and you have to retire you will have only your pension which probably won’t be enough.
Well, let’s say the company you work for is worth it. You’re happy, the work environment is awesome and you love what you do. If that’s the case, quit reading this and get back to work.
The last problem stays though: you won’t leave anything to your children when you die.
Why starting your own business?
One sentence: Because it’s possible.
It’s never been easier to start something on your own. Something that correspondence with your desires and interests. The internet connects us all and allows us to expose our artwork to the others around the globe.
You want to become a writer, journalist, publish a book? Start a website and write about what you’re fancy. You want to be a filmmaker or a professional trainer? Shoot your videos and upload them on YouTube for others to watch. You’re passionate about tech stuff, clothes, books, bags? Create your own reviews about the things you adore most and earn money from affiliate commissions.
Now, thanks to the new technologies and the internet, you can turn your passion into your main income stream and live the life you’ve always wanted. I’m not saying that is going to be easy. Not at all. It’s actually harder than having a 9 to 5 job. But the pleasure of developing your personal project can’t be compared to anything else. It’s like raising a child: You invest a lot of time and effort over a course of several years without anything in return. If you’ve done your job correctly, your child will grow as a responsible human being, capable of taking care of himself/herself, and hopefully yourself at some point.
The logic is quite the same when starting a business: In the beginning, you will primarily invest: money, efforts, time. After a while, if you’ve done a good job, your business will take care of itself and probably yourself too.
Main Benefits of Starting Your Own Business
- Your own terms – Owning your own business gives you lifestyle flexibility, which can help you raise a family and still have a successful career. You will have the opportunity to work the hours you want. You will be your own boss and you can choose the people to work with: this includes both colleagues and clients.
- Income – Let’s be realistic, you may not become a millionaire by starting your own blog, but there is a chance to earn more money than you could possibly make as an employee over time.
- Meaningful – Opportunity to make an impact. To change the world in a positive direction. It might seem like a joke to you:”Duh, change the world.” However, there a lot of people who are celebrities online. These people have huge audiences and their message is getting heard. As humans, we’re more likely to believe an ordinary guy than a corporate firm throwing commercials at us.
- Long-term – Coca-Cola, Ford, Peugeot, Nikon, are companies founded by people more than 100 years ago and as you know, they are still thriving.6 You have the opportunity to build something long lasting that will outlive you and help generations to come.
- You – Ultimately, your own business will allow you to pursue your desires, your interests. You will spend your time doing what you love not what someone else told you to do. That’s the main benefit of starting your own business. After all, we’re talking about our lives. We should have the option to live the way we want.
There are additional benefits from doing what you love depending on the focused industry. Still, people are not convinced that they should do something on their own and don’t even start:
The two main reasons people don’t start their own business?
Except for the obvious excuses: lack of money, time, “people will laugh at me.” There are two main reasons people around the globe avoid starting their own thing online, or offline, it doesn’t quite matter:
- Don’t know how to start – Several years ago, I didn’t have a clue how to create a website. I thought that it will take me at least a year to setup a single page. Back then, YouTube was just starting and the tutorials that are currently available were missing. It did take me a long time to understand the basics, around two months, but eventually, I figure it out on my own. People use the excuse “I don’t know,” for everything. Only few go beyond that point and transform the lack of knowledge to “I now know.” There are hundreds of free tutorials online that will help you master the subject of your interest. The only price is time and your undivided attention. You simply need to start and you have to really want it.
- It already exists – Before writing book reviews, I wrote reviews about WordPress themes and plugins.7 If you search online, you will see that the net is flooded with such articles. Before starting the site I thought to myself: “Why the hell will someone want to read my reviews?” The last part of the previous sentence is the important one: my reviews. Clearly, my site will be different from the sites of others. If nothing else, the person writing the reviews is different.
The above two are only excuses. If you want to learn how to make videos, you will learn how to make videos. Either by taking a class or by watching tutorials online. It doesn’t matter that there are another 2,456 website owners who blog about makeup. Your story is different from their story. Why don’t share it with the world? What’s the worse that can happen?
When we think about building a business, we imagine huge offices, suites, expensive cars, office equipment, cubicles, team buildings, deadlines, profits, a board of directors, and etc. It doesn’t have to be massive to be good and profitable. You don’t have to create the next Amazon or SpaceX to be successful and feel fulfilled in your life.
1,000 customers can be ok. 100 clients may be enough to cover your expenses and bring joy in what you do. Growth in the business is not always a good thing. This means more people, more clients, more noise, which translate into more stress and loose of direction. Keeping things simple is and focused is better than loosing sign and purpose.
In the end of this post, I will say this: Just start. You will have a lot of questions in the beginning but throughout the way, you will see that things are slowly getting along. The important thing is to start.
- I don’t know how things are in your own country, but these are the facts for the country I live in.
- Even though the company she worked for is internationally known, her salary wasn’t high. It was was a bit above average. Eventually, she quit and started working for a smaller company, but with a much better work environment.
- Ok, I over exaggerated on the filthy rich part.
- You can see the top 20 employees benefit perks for 2017 – LINK.
- Lack of meaning and purpose is one of the top 5 reasons people quit their jobs.
- Coca-Cola was founded on January 29, 1892. Ford on June 16, 1903. Peugeot on April 2, 1896. Nikon on July 25, 1917.
- The site in question is still active. It’s called: narrowem.com. I earned around $1000 in the course of one year. I don’t post any new articles, still, the site gets a pretty good amount of traffic every single day.