Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 9, 2013

Email: So what about entrepreneurship?

Sean,

 
I just read your post about the life advice for that 14 year old. I really do appreciate how you give a real and practical strategy for how to find what you want to do. Believe me, it’s a real breath of fresh air when everyone around me was telling me either “do what you’re passionate about and follow your dreams” or “become a doctor or engineer because that’s what pays more”. Both are on the opposite side of the spectrum and both are pretty bad advice taken alone. 
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Now, I’ve been following your blog since 2009 and recall you encouraging readers on multiple occasions to start a business to gain freedom and control over your life as opposed to exchanging your time for money. I largely do agree with that idea and I have to credit you for kindling my interest in entrepreneurship. But from your recent posts, it sounds like you are moving in the exact opposite direction. You seek to work out on the field in the oil industry where you are likely to work long hours and face many hazards. This is very far from comfortable and you will essentially be living your life one someone else’s terms as opposed to your own. Why move in this direction? This might be an appealing option for a young person starting out but in my later years, I would much rather take things easy.  
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I actually wouldn’t recommend work in the oil field because of the butt kissing and extremely uncomfortable living conditions. However, there are trades.
Nothing has changed. The idea is to escape the rat race. However, entrepreneurship is difficult when the legal structure is in chaos (as it currently is in the United States. This is why big money investors are holding on to their money). You still have to gain agency in order to become an entrepreneur. You need to own your own life.There is a niche of jobs out there that are outside the rat race. “But how can that be, Malstrom? Isn’t the definition of a job to be in the rat race?” No. And entrepreneurship doesn’t mean you exit the rat race. I have friends who manage real-estate, and they still have to tend to them, must constantly visit their properties, and all that takes more time and money. If I gave you a million dollars to do a ‘job’, would that not allow you to leave the rat race? It would!It is no coincidence that most jobs don’t pay much so you can never truly quit. You just keep working, working, working and going around in a circle. You must also pay for a home to sleep in and food to eat. What if someone else paid for your home and your food? What if you banked everything you earned? As the saying goes, it is not how much you earn but how much you keep. I know many engineers who have expensive lifestyles because they have to have big house and big car. This is what commonly happens with office minions.What if you could have a job where the company would pay for your food and board? That would keep all your money to yourself. And what if the pay was extremely high? How about $70 an hour? Add in a little entrepreneurship to this, such as becoming your own company doing these services, and it is not unheard of to obtain $350,000 or more a year. And the best thing I like is what if you wanted a break and just said, “Yeah, I’m going to take a few months off to go play in South America.” This option is not available in your typical office job. Even better, the demand for jobs that do this is big because everyone keeps ‘retiring’. They can afford to retire. Can you say that about the typical jobs?The point is not entrepreneurship, the point is for you to OWN YOUR OWN LIFE. Once you own your own life, you can do whatever you want. You can do more entrepreneurship if you’d like. The choice is yours.

So what keeps people from owning their own life? First off, they get infected with the ‘college bug’ and spend too much time in college majoring in something that will not get them much money if it gets them a job at all. You want to minimize your time at college. You also want to minimize your expense. What is the point of getting stuck with many college loans where you are tens of thousands of dollars in debt? You want college to put you in a better financial position, not worse.

You also want to be on the right side of the computer revolution. You want technology upgrades to demand more of your services, not less. Technical background with logical thinking will make you go far. Look to specialization where you can make a ton of money in a short amount of time.

There is no conflict in getting the correct job and entrepreneurship. Look at Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was a technician at Atari before he started Apple. As a technician at Apple, Steve Jobs was flown around the world to set up PONG machines. Steve Jobs was also placed with the task of cleaning up circuit boards and other extremely technical applications. While the popular image of Steve Jobs is that of ‘visionary’ or ‘artist’ or ‘crazy idea man’, he worked many years as a down-to-earth solid technician. Jobs probably didn’t have the ability and/or desire to be a programmer or engineer like, say, Wozniak, but Jobs GETTING A JOB in a very technical field screams many things.

The most common personality for an entrepreneur is an ENTJ. It is the personality of someone who is rational, who thinks, and likes an ordered universe without spontaneity. The popular image of entrepreneurs is some firebrand ‘free-spirit’ who just goes wherever the wind takes him or her. Entrepreneurs are very down to earth, very thinking, and also very social.

You need a way to make money so you don’t starve to death. Nothing wrong with getting a job. Even Richard Kiyasoki recommends getting a job. What keeps people in the rat race is their spending habits, debt habits, general financial illiteracy, and not having a plan to get out. Here are two real stories. The first was a NFL player who even once played in the Super Bowl. Due to age, he retired from playing football (you can’t do that forever!). He put his money in real estate and businesses all around. The second was an oil worker who ‘retired’ and put his money into assets.

There are many ways to own your own life. If a kid asks me what he should do, I will still say ‘entrepreneurship’ but to also do some schooling so he gets a trade or a niche technical skill. This will give him agency to be marketable all over the world and to have greater control over his future. You don’t want your skills to be stuck in one country (*cough* law *cough*). And the only schooling I think is worth the money is the technical nature.

I am anti-hype and extremely suspicious of where crowds go. When everyone was investing in real estate prior to 2007, I said hell no.  When everyone was investing in computers prior to the Dot Com bust, I said hell no. Every time I do that, it is very controversial because people get extremely offended when you don’t act like they do. For example, I do not invest or an advocate of Bitcoins for that very same reason.

Since this blog has started, the economic macro-factors have only gotten worse and will keep getting worse. However, new jobs are appearing and their demand is high because of the technical nature of those jobs. Getting one of those jobs is not saying ‘don’t be entrepreneur’, it is saying get on the right side of this economic apocalypse. The alternative is you going broke and becoming a slave to the state. I mean no hyperbole when saying that.


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