Be an Entrepreneur

Recently, I wrote the Law School Admission Test and applied to UBC Law. I’m trying to follow that ‘tried and true’ method of going to school, getting good grades, and then getting a good job with a secure benefits package. I feel like there are a few of us out there with this train of thought.

It’s not certain that I’ll be accepted. Even if I do, it’s just as uncertain that there will be a career opening with that ideal salary and all the benefits of which I dream. While I’ve been waiting for my results, I’ve been avidly reading, watching YouTube videos, and questioning my beliefs.

My eyes were opened after reading a few books by Robert Kiyosaki, an investor, businessman, and author. His advice slapped me square in the face and shattered my beliefs about money. He explains, among many things, that our ideas on achieving money and success lay in a distant age.

As Kiyosaki explains, during the Agrarian Age, when the monarch ruled, there wasn’t the ability to move between social strata that we have now. If you were born a peasant, you stayed a peasant, and your children became peasants.

Eventually, times changed, technology skyrocketed, and the Industrial Age began. In those days, if you were not born into wealth, you could struggle through school to become a physician, attorney, accountant, or engineer and be guaranteed a high salary and good benefits.

It’s from the Industrial Age where this ‘tried and true’ idea of going to school, doing well, and settling into a nice career orginates. However, we are no longer in this era, and many well-trained specialists now must struggle even harder to achieve the success they set out for.

Why? Because so many people have degrees now, and we’re all struggling for the same careers.

Welcome to the Information Age. Instead of having to go to school for 10 years of your life to receive a high-paying income, you’ll likely be paid more than specialists if you make a popular YouTube channel. The cost is, well, your laptop, your camera phone, an idea, and 20 to 30 hours of your time.

The cost of going to school and becoming a specialist? Years of your time, and tens of thousands of dollars.

Now, I’m not advocating that we all drop out of university to try to become YouTube stars. The world still needs specialists, and becoming a physician, attorney, or engineer is still a good choice for many. However, relying solely on becoming an employee of a company and trying to climb the corporate ladder doesn’t make sense anymore.

You’ll probably never own the company that you slave for, and if you’re a specialist, there are only so many hours in a day in which you can service clients. This is why I advocate that, in addition to whatever career path you’re following, you should become an entrepreneur.

Okay, but what is an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is someone who takes the risk of starting or operating a business or businesses. Now this seems like a daunting task, and it can be, if you’re not educated in business and do not have anyone to teach you.

However, once you educate yourself, you’ll realize that building a business is possible. And, with a business, your potential for financial freedom is unlimited.

Look at businesses like Walmart, Amazon, Facebook, The Home Depot, etc. If you think that all the founders of these empires had a fortune to start out with, you’re mistaken. Some of the people behind these companies began as relatively poor university students.

Furthermore, your business doesn’t even have to be complicated. Starbucks, for example, makes a fortune selling us sugary, caffeinated water.

Now, I anticipate some of you are clenching your jaw and shaking your head as you read on. You probably believe that I am encouraging everyone to start a business so that we can all cash in and make a trillion, leaving the poor in the gutter as we drive by in our gold, diamond encrusted Mercedes.

But this is not my point. If you’re planning on starting a business to make millions and be in the spotlight, that’s the wrong attitude and you’ll probably fail because as soon as you make any money, you’ll blow it on a Porsche and a few gold chains.

The reason for starting a business, I believe, is to provide the world with a new or better version of a product or service. And if you do this, wealth will follow. Not only will you become financially free by building a business, you’ll also be creating new jobs and careers.

Building a good business is like setting down a nice, long word in Scrabble. Not only does this rack you up a ton of points, but it makes the game easier and more fun because everyone else now has the opportunity to build off your word.

You, too, can build off others’ success off of your initial long word. This is very similar to creating a good business; not only can you make a lot of money, but new career opportunities arise from your business.

Consider the opposite: one player lays down a medium-sized word and everyone else forms three-letter words off of it. The game drags on and there is less opportunity for substantial growth. If you’ve played any Scrabble in your time, you know games like this absolutely suck.

This is essentially what most of us are doing now: trying to leech off of the same professions, and not really contributing anything new to the same jobs that have been around for millennia.

While there is a lot to learn about creating a business and a high chance of failure, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Remember at one point, you couldn’t walk, but after plenty of trial and error, you eventually got it. Now your mobility is nearly limitless.

So if you’re struggling through school, working hard, and always getting the exact same result, why not change?