Do entrepreneurs have an attitude problem?


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Not long ago this post would have been almost impossible to write. I’m a guy, so I am rarely wrong, so admitting that I am not in control of life is a challenge to my manhood. However, I have an opinion which goes against the “entrepreneur attitude” I hold dear.

I must admit to something so horrifying you better stock up on the Baked Beans and bottled water, because:

I have taken an office job in the corporate world.

I know, I apologize for the therapy bills in advance.

After seven years out of the cubicle (office, not toilet … ok both), trading full time, partnering a start-up business and doing the pre-school speaking circuit, I have plugged that spike straight into the back of the temple again. I have returned to the Matrix.

“But Adam, you are so wildly handsome eager to tread your own path, what happened?”

7.2 on the Richter scale happened.

Shaking in my boots

In July 2013 you will remember I announced the big move. We sold everything that wouldn’t fit in a suitcase, and packed the family off to Cebu in the Philippines for an “amazing adventure”.

A new office in paradise, more favorable trading hours, maids, drivers, $2 massages, new friends, endless opportunity, a chance to tan for the first time in my life.

Bohol DestructionDidn’t have time for photo’s, but this is what the building manager sent later.

Then the earthquake.

October 15, 2013. I had just spent 6 months planning, packing and setting up. After all that effort, the new office was opened and fully functional exactly 12 minutes when the ground started shaking.

The quake lasted 34 seconds. 32 of those seconds were under a desk with the ceiling falling down and walls crumbling. I was convinced I was about to die. You can think a lot of 4 letter words in 32 seconds.

Of course, a life-threatening situation is not foreign to me, but no disease compares to the immediacy of an earthquake.

There was no option but to admit defeat. Investment gone, office condemned, and my tail between my legs, we returned to Sydney to regroup and indulge once again in 1st world problems. 220+ others were not so lucky.

Which brings me to the spark for this ramble.

Entrepreneur vs Corporate

My good friend Sonya (@GreenAppleMag) from Green Apple Magazine wrote a piece on the perception of those that have escaped the corporate world of those who remain in it. Sonya felt compelled to be apologetic for still holding a day job while putting herself out there and attending a typical entrepreneur get together.

I worked with Sonya many many moons ago, she was/is damned good at what she does.

She has 4 degrees for goodness sakes, which personally makes me feel a little inadequate (yet another male trait challenged).

She has run half marathons, hosted corporate training events, and ignored my insistence on “trying a triathlon” for over a decade.

Which part of that makes someone like Sonya less” of a “go-getter” than the unshackled entrepreneurial type, who, let’s be honest, don’t mind indulging in the extra-curricular activities during working hours?

It is brilliant being out on your own, ripping up the world with your enormous ambition, stroking our egos with our twitter numbers, our outsourced slave labor, and our “groundbreaking ideas”. But to exclude the corporate of those same attributes is both arrogant and a little insulting.

Does the fact I returned to an office job make me less ambitious than my past 7 years? Does having a stable income and safety for the family mean I have backed out of the challenge of running my own business and trading enterprise?

Here is the definition of Entrepreneur:

“a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.”

By that definition, an entrepreneur wants to start a business, which is successful, which will probably need lots of employees, which will be housed in a …. office.

In other words, they want to be the boss …….. sounds much like the corporates I know. Entrepreneurs just want to drop in from the top instead of climb up from the bottom. Nothing wrong with that, but either way the objective is the same, so what gives the entrepreneur the often accidental sense of smugness?

I theorize it is a risk. An entrepreneur often doesn’t have a safety net, which makes it so exciting and terrifying at the same time. Conquering risk boosts the ego and provides endless opportunity to brag/bore at dinner parties. It is like avoiding tiny little invalidation earthquakes on a daily basis. Perhaps it is that feeling that transposed to that meet up of Sonya’s?

A new direction

Where to now? I could start full-time trading on 5K again, I did it before after all. But that would be testing luck, and the divorce laws, one time too many. I could venture out into new business ideas, build my own products, become a professional hula hoop dancer.

Nope, it was time to listen to the rock solid messages that can only be delivered on shaky ground.

Stability, safety, and appreciation of what the first world provides were the order of the day. Time to get a day job.

This stability will now give me the basis to move on to amazing things in 2014, with a completely new perspective on life. One life threatening experience was a lesson, this one was a size 14 right up the backside.

With a stable income comes the opportunity to test ambition while reducing the risk. 2014 will be more enterprising than ever. I might not even have to sell my first born to do it this time.

I hope you join me on what will be an amazing year. I know it because we can choose for it to be so.

What are your hopes for the year? What is your enterprise? Let us know in the comments, perhaps we can go on it together.

Happy New Year!


Adam Jowett

Full-Time #ECommerce Entrepreneur. Financial markets #trader since 2001. Hobby Writer. Cancer conqueror. The host of The @100Incomes Show. Will hug on command. Blogs without pants.