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You Don’t Have to Be an Entrepreneur


If you watch Shark Tank, the reality show in which would-be moguls pitch their ideas to celebrity businesspeople, you’ve probably heard Mark Cuban say the following to at least one business owner: “You are not an entrepreneur, you’re a wantrepreneur.” That might sound bad –“wantrepreneur” sounds a lot like “wannabe” — but it’s not that cut and dried. There are creative people who would not make great entrepreneurs, but who have great ideas and much to contribute beyond being a cog in somebody else’s machinery.

(Photo Credit: Disney | ABC Television Group/Flickr)

Consider the following before you quit your day job to focus on your passion:

Do You Know What You're Worth?

1. It’s OK to Have a Hobby

Sometimes the Shark Tank entrepreneurs tell a contestant, “You don’t have a business, you have a hobby,” and decline to support their idea. These contestants often have a cute product that has been selling on the internet or at craft shows, but is not going to become a multibillion-dollar business and the sharks are not going to sink hundreds of thousands of dollars into somebody’s hobby. The product might be a fad, or it doesn’t solve a real problem, or is limited to one-time-only impulse purchases.

This is about scale. If you have a widget that you can market and sell for a profit, and you are having a good time, it’s OK to have a hobby that makes money. You might do well renting a booth at a local farmer’s market, but would be foolish to spend over a thousand dollars renting space at a wholesale gift show. And if you enjoy having a small, money-making hobby, don’t quit the day job. If it ceases to be fun, either stop doing it, sell the small business, or (if you can afford it) hire somebody else to do the work for you.

2. You Don’t Have to be a Millionaire

Different people define success in different ways. If we define success as becoming a millionaire, then most hard-working people are total failures. Think about that.

If success is starting a company that pays your bills so you can quit the day job, then the above scenario of selling at small, outdoor markets may not work for you. The point here is to know what you want. If you want to make jewelry or candles in your free time, and sell them at markets, do that. You may have found a great way to save up for retirement or some other long-term goal. If you want to start a business (possibly selling jewelry or candles) and support yourself doing it, you may be successful. If you want to become an entrepreneurial millionaire, however, you will have to think up and execute a business plan toward that end. 

Know what you want and work toward that. 

3. Benefits of Working for Somebody Else

Some people prefer working for somebody else. With all the fanfare surrounding entrepreneurship, let’s not forget that there are benefits to working for somebody else. (Benefits that entrepreneurs do not enjoy.)

A little security may help you sleep better at night. You know that you have a job to do, you do it, and you get to go home. You also get a regular paycheck. You do not have the stresses that those who start their own businesses have, worrying about the client who still hasn’t paid his bill or the fact that there is no work for next month.

Many white collar employees still enjoy another benefit of employment: paid time off. Entrepreneurs must plan ahead and save for personal vacations as well as emergencies and illness.

Some people greatly prefer employment to entrepreneurship, and that is okay.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you want to start a business, or do you prefer employment? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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Yura Bryant
Yura Bryant

Great detail to point out. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur because it is not for everyone. Some people prefer the thought of security a job brings and don’t want to deal with the pressures of developing and operating a business. I wanted to share:

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.