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From Employee to Entrepreneur

So I have set the context and laid a little groundwork for you as to why I am here and what you can expect going forward, but I would like to turn it over to you and ask you the following question:

Why have you chosen the road of having your own business?

I ask you this because I really want to know. I want to know what drives you. I want to know why you do the things you do. Were you born into a family of entrepreneurs who have always gone out and done their own thing? Did you gain a skill or trade and decide that you could do it better by yourself? Did you lose a job and start working on making your own job? What led you to the crossroads between an employee and being self-employed?

I would venture to guess that it was a combination of a lot of events, of a journey that you found yourself on after life kicked you around a bit and you got back up and struck out for that dream again. When you found yourself at that crossroads where you decided to go for it and build your life and your business for yourself, how did you feel? How many people told you that you would fail and come begging for your old job back, when secretly they were wishing they had the guts to take the same step?

Well I don’t know all the answers, but I want to… please comment or email and let me know where you came from and what brought you here.

I ask this because I have been struck by the cultural and economic shifts that have occurred over the past 300 years or so, specifically in America (interestingly enough, this came to me while I was watching the movie Last of the Mohicans… excellent movie!). More so the dynamics at play for the individual person in these cultural and economic shifts. Forgive the overly simplistic history lesson to follow, but I don’t want to bore you.

Before America, the majority of the world was either in the rich class or the poor class. The rich owned the land and the resources, and the poor worked the land either as serfs or slaves. But America was born and for many, the opportunity to own land and, more importantly, to own the fruit of the land and their labor, became available to anyone who could pay their passage across the Atlantic. And many did… many people came to make a new life for themselves, not for their king, not for the owner of the land, but for themselves.

I would venture to say that for the first time in modern history, any person willing to strike out and make a claim on land and the work that followed could be free. What followed from this was a shaking off of the yoke of England, the forming of a new land, and the conquest of that land one farm at a time… one small business at a time. Each farm was its own business where the farmer had the right to the fruit of his labor and was to live or die based on his own sweat.

Then came the industrial revolution with the factory, production lines, you name it. In contrast to the farm, the factory required a hierarchy of management and workers, the same system that many left behind. Unfortunately for many, the conditions were deplorable both in the factory and in the towns around those factories. Then came unions, labor laws, etc.

I could go further, but I feel that the context up until this point is sufficient to make my point: this country was built on the entrepreneur, the small business owner, the farmer, blacksmith, leather-worker, and others. This country was built on families seeking independence from the system, be it government or employer, and the freedom and responsibility of living or dying by the sweat of their brow.

In stark contrast to those pioneering men and women of our past, I look at our culture and economy today and see dependence on the systems… the systems of government, employment, welfare, taxes, the corporate ladder, material success, debt, etc. I won’t go into further detail here, but will save that for another day and another post.

When you look around you today, is this what you see? As a small business owner in this day and age, I want to know why you have chosen to go against the flow of culture, against the tide of dependence, and have chosen independence and to follow your passion?

I believe the reason for many is simple and profound, and is the same reason the pioneers of this land found themselves longing to go west. The answer is that through removing yourself from dependence on society and the systems, and moving toward independence, we find that we have the freedom of choice. That freedom bears an equal weight of responsibility, but the choice is fundamental to being who we are made to be, and until we have the freedom to choose for ourselves, we feel we are in bondage.

So I ask you again; why have you chosen this road? Why are you self-employed over being an employee? What does it mean to you to be your own boss?

Keep Reaching,

Mark

 

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