Hello and welcome to the very first official post of Business For Unicorns.
Here’s what I’ve been thinking a lot about lately; should everyone strive to be a business owner? I used to think everyone should at least strive to be entrepreneurial, but now I’m not so sure…
The rise of the internet means there are more opportunities than ever for folks to do their own thing. The internet has democratized business in profound ways. If you have a unique and valuable service, particularly if it’s information and content driven, you can parlay that into the creation of a small tribe of customers who can free you from traditional jobs. Theoretically, this frees you up to work on the beach.
And I do think this is great in theory. I’m just not convinced that all humans are wired to desire that kind of freedom. I’d go so far as to say for some folks it may be hell.
Mind you, I AM someone who craves total autonomy. Although I work in a brick-and-mortar business and don’t have the lifestyle freedom of internet entrepreneurs, I still largely get to create my own schedule. This is important to me. Furthermore, I’m self directed as fuck, so give me a free day, and I’ll find a way to fill it full of shit to move the MFF ball forward.
That said, it’s not lost on me that there is significant survivorship bias. Not only are a lot of the business books, websites, and products written by people who successfully did their own thing, but the books, websites, and products are clearly created by highly motivated independent folks who WANT to do their own thing.
For instance, I think lady-business expert Marie Forleo is incredible and puts out great content (if you don’t know her stuff, but aspire to have your own business, definitely check her out). I think a lot of people probably do have their life changed by a product like B School. But I suspect there’s probably a good chunk that try to dive into the world of running their own business (online or otherwise) and struggle. They don’t struggle just because of self doubt or procrastination; in a lot of cases, I’m not sure they truly WANT that level of autonomy.
Business personal development dude Brian Tracy always writes that 3% of people own all the shit. I’m not sure where that number comes from, but the implicit nudge is that if you’re not en route to that 3%, you better get your shit together. Write out some fucking goals, work your ballz off, and get to work.
But is this really the path to happiness for all humans? Does EVERYONE want this on some level, but struggle with fear? Or do some people really prefer to work for someone else who deals with the rewards and stress of calling the shots?
This is something I think a lot about because Michael (my business partner) and I want MFF to be a place conducive to “intrapreneurs”; team members who are interested in and capable of essentially running their own business under the MFF umbrella. I think this option is a must for the most ambitious, highly motivated team members to stick around for the long haul. In the dream world, this allows for the best of both situations; the comfort of a family unit and the resources to offset lacking skill-sets, but the autonomy and earning potential of doing your own thing.
However, I’m not sure how many people are really interested in doing what needs to be done to run their own business. It takes an uncommon drive (and insanity) to do what needs to be done to develop and grow a business. In most cases, it requires doing the crazy ass Gary-Vaynerchuk-style hustle where you’re working one full time job 40-50 hours a week, and THEN burning the midnight oil for months (years??) to get your business going. And I’m just not sure everyone is cut out for this. And frankly, I think that’s totally fine.
So for my part, I plan on continuing to do all I can to stoke those fires and encourage entrepreneurship and create opportunities for the team. But I will also work to make sure MFF is a safe space for current and future team members that want the benefits of a great working environment without having to be completely self-directed.
You know how at the end of blog posts people always ask you to leave a comment? This is not an obligatory call-to-action. I sincerely want to know what you think here. Do you think everyone craves autonomy? Do you prefer working in an organization?
Help me figure this shit out.