“What would you do if you weren't afraid?”
After my father passed away when I was very young, my mother – a teacher – dreamed to see me in a steady full-time job. Climbing the corporate ladder was the gold standard. So, when I made it to a managerial position she was thrilled, and I was too – for having made her proud.
For us 9 to 5 folks this dream, the gold standard, trains us to be risk averse. It makes us comfortable in the cycle of steady paychecks – despite marginal yearly wage growth, mortgage payments, and retirement accounts. Saving for a few weeks of vacation, cars, or some other indulgences reinforces our feeling of security, though rarely satisfies our desires. This tentativeness is generally even more pronounced in women, who are conditioned to keep their head down and be grateful for what they have. A risk averse 9 to 5 job further closes women off in a society which already puts them into a box.
Entrepreneurship, however, gives us the freedom to get out of the cycle – to make our own rules. Have you heard a business owner complaining about the glass ceiling? No? Because there isn't one! Entrepreneurship is limited only by the entrepreneur’s vision and drive. Sure, society’s prejudices will still be there; you may need to navigate those challenges, but you’ll have more control on how you do so. Most importantly, as a business owner working alongside other business owners, you make your own rules. In my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve found that integrity is respected, hard work pays off, and your good ideas, well, they’re benefiting the business owner – you.
So, why do smart people choose to make money for others by working for them? Because the liberty of entrepreneurship comes at a price. To get that liberty – setting your own goals, making your own decisions to benefit your own ideas – means giving up the ease provided by the low risk cycle of traditional career paths. Living passionately and giving something your all means getting out of your comfort zone, steady paychecks and all. For me the biggest challenge was being okay with being different, because becoming an entrepreneur really gets you out of the box.
Spencer Johnson’s question points to the core of what stops us – fear. I propose a different way to mitigate that fear: a combination of the liberty of entrepreneurship and the low risk of passive income. Investing in passive real estate is a low-risk business strategy that lets you pivot from the traditional path and into the liberty of spending more time on family, hobbies, or whatever makes your soul sing.