Why you must start a business

Your Choice: Start a Business, or Fail at Personal Freedom

Let’s assume you like money, and living well, and also having time to do what you want to do.

Fair? I think I’ve cast a wide net.

Pretty much everyone wants this. We all want to live the 4 hour workweek, but the mechanics of what he describes in the book are heavily dependent on getting paid for results, not your time.

Which doesn’t fit most “jobs” i.e. typical employer relationships.

For that reason, you have only a few choices as I see it:

  1. Be born wealthy. Statistically speaking, there’s a 99% chance this is not your lot in life.
  2. Work in “Service Asymmetry”, i.e. pro athlete, movie star, very popular musician, in which millions or billions consume your product and thus you get paid very handsomely, can have a very short career and amass wealth quickly. Statistically, most people won’t succeed (or even try) at this. Most pro athletes end up broke anyway due to spending habits.
  3. Rapid asset accumulation, combined with high ROI, relative to your standard of living. If you live super cheap, make $130k/yr, save $70k/yr after taxes, then you could retire after just a few years… this doesn’t work if you make $60k, save $10k/yr – it simply follows the conventional gold watch plan (retire after 35 – 40 yrs of work). Statistically, most people won’t earn this kind of income AND keep their expenses low enough to make this work- $130k/yr is good income, but most people’s lifestyle pretty quickly rises to match as they follow the house / mortgage / kid / car pattern. Your goal here is your passive residual income exceeding your lifestyle expenses (burn rate liftoff – i.e. making $10k/mo/net rental income or investment yield with expenses < $10k/mo)
  4. Build a business and be successful at it. That 2nd one is a kicker, but if you have a day job wherein you get paid for time, this seems to be your only logical choice as I see it. Am I wrong? Comment below. Fortunately, the internet has created as many opportunities as hazards, and turbulent times favor upstarts not incumbents. Easier said than done, I know, but fortunately, new ways of thinking about this can drastically lower your risk and cost to get moving – i.e. the lean startup or pivoting from service to product.
  5. Redefine your employer relationship to get paid for metrics and results, not your time. For some, this will work – sales professionals for example, but for the majority, their job descriptions are probably too complex for their employer to actually accept this. Besides, automation favors the business owner, not you, so over time, they get more results for less of your time, and can then load you up with more tasks – so like it or hate it, the business owner has a financial incentive for you to stay hourly in most cases, then systematically optimize your workflows (while they reap the benefits, not you).

When just a child I loved robots.

I was born in ’75, so the early 80’s was a time of industrial automation, and fears over automaking robotics, bold claims for the future, and Tang. The inevitable future to my 8 year old logic was that some employer would own a fully robotic factory, and get all the money, while paying fewer and fewer employees. The first plant to go fully robotic would enjoy wider profit margins, affording more robots, outspending on R&D + advertising, and ultimately make the best company and dominate the market.

I was an odd kid. But am I wrong?

The market domination would then lead to an arms race, in which most of the humans would get displaced by the most cost-efficient production method, and while price competition would thin margins over time, the damage would already be done to the workforce.

So this is our world, like it or not. The real question becomes then, what side do you want to be on?

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. So I became a robot.

Ok, so that’s a joke for my wife – but I did side with employers and had similar concerns over the classic labor vs. capital power struggle (summed up nicely by friend Max: “What struggle? Capital won.”), which is why I’ve always bootstrapped. The good news: there’s never been a better time to bootstrap and start a business part time on the side, then grow the income to replace your day job – so you truly can live the 4 hour workweek if you choose.

Published by

Roger Vaughn

RogerV is the CEO and founder of SwiftCloud, a social business platform for CRM, marketing, accounting and more. He lives in Los Angeles, and wears many hats - including CEO, father, UI/UX dev, coder, staff coffee delivery man, and whatever else it takes to move the needle.

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