Be the Man, Don’t Work For Him

I originally wanted to wait until the New Year to write this post because I wanted you to have a recent experience to draw from. But this post is bursting out of me and I simply can’t hold off writing about it any longer.

For me, as a business owner, knowing a new year is quickly approaching makes me start thinking about goals and things I want my business to achieve in 2014. I schedule meetings with my employees and business partner to talk about these things and come up with an action plan. Those are things that business owners (as well as managers) do.

You, on the other hand, will be facing the dreaded employee review. You’ll sit in a room with your manager or other corporate official who is hire up than you and run through a list of things that you did not do well this past year. That’s the goal of an employee review. You didn’t know that, you say?

Just think about your last review. Did they spend the entire time talking about what they want you to do next and how wonderful you’ve been at your present position? No, I doubt it. Instead you were probably given a form that your manager filled out highlighting your weaknesses and any goals you didn’t meet since your last employee review. The entire time you are made to feel ashamed and doubt your contribution. Usually you walk away from the meeting feeling lucky you didn’t get fired, your hopes about receiving a good raise entirely wiped from your memory. The entire process is set up to tear you down so you don’t feel worthy of getting a raise or have enough skills to go out and find another job.

It’s so unnecessary to do that, but that’s how ‘the man’ works. They want to keep you in this job, but not pay you what you’re worth.

Doesn’t sound very appealing does it?

A big part of why I left my corporate 9-5 job nearly a decade ago was because of an employee review like the one I described above. I was the top producing marketing manager in my division. I brought in nearly double what anyone else had. Knowing this I went confidently into my employee review. I was prepared to ask for a sizeable raise and I thought I had a good shot of getting it considering my numbers. Instead the president of our company, who I directly reported to, belittled my management skills and implied I didn’t really make all the profit the financial reports said I did. She told me that I should expect a modest raise and that I needed to improve next year. We ended the review in a major disagreement and I turned in my two weeks’ notice the very next day.

And it’s not just me that decided to become the man, instead of work for the man. In 2006, the number of self-employed and freelance workers stood at 42.6 million or about 30% of the workforce. Nearly 8 years later that number is undoubtedly bigger. But by how much we aren’t sure since 2006 was the last time the government counted this growing sector of the American workforce. But researchers predict that by 2020, more than 60 million people will be self-employed, making up over 40% of our country’s workforce. Wow!

Tell me, do you see yourself, in the next several years being one of the estimated 20 million Americans who will switch from being an employee to being an employer?

I hope so.

When I became my own boss I stopped having to get to work by a certain time every day. My alarm clock only goes off at 6:30 a.m. now if I am catching a flight somewhere, most of the time I don’t even use the silly thing.

I am so happy that I don’t have to sit in my cubicle for 9-10 hours a day, waiting until 5 o’clock rolled around so I could go spend a few precious hours doing what I actually wanted to do. Now I am the master of my day. I pick what I want to work on, instead of what someone else tells me to.

I never worry about asking myself for time off or telling myself that I need to leave early to get to a dentist’s appointment.

I never have to analyze my boss’ back handed comments to see if he or she was complimenting me or disparaging me. I never have to plaster a fake smile on my face and wish my boss “Good Morning” in hopes of making him or her like me more.

In short I am free. Free of ‘the man.’ And I am so much happier…and richer.

I attribute my success from employee to employer to four things.

One: Being pissed off. Some people call this motivation and boy did I have a lot of it when the president of the company I worked for tried to tear me down after bringing in over $20 million of revenue, the most of any division in my company. When she offered me a paltry raise I got pissed. I decided that night I didn’t want to work for her or anyone else ever again. Never again did I want to be manipulated or put down. From then I’ve been making money, the best part is now I get to keep a whole lot more of it for myself instead of lining someone else’s pockets, especially people’s pockets who are idiots.

Two: Starting in a niche, instead of trying to be everything to everyone. When I started my first online business I focused my efforts on one topic, how to make money online. I didn’t teach people how to make money in general; I talked about one specific way to do it. Not only did this help my customers, but it also helped me as a new business owner-I didn’t feel like I was spreading myself out too much or trying to cover too much ground. It was only once I felt relatively accomplished in that niche that I expanded my teachings into other wealth building areas like real estate and stocks and finances.

Three: I didn’t quit my day job. Ok, well I technically did, but I picked up other jobs to support myself until my online business started making money. When I quit my corporate job I still needed to make money for my family, I wasn’t a rich kid with a trust fund to fall back on. I was able to pick up several consulting gigs that saw me through for the first year until my income from my online business exceeded what I had been making at my old job. Part of the appeal of starting an online business was that I could still keep a day job and work on my new business part-time till it took off.

Four: Find the cure. We are a society obsessed with quick fixes for our problems. Overweight? Get surgery instead of going on a diet and join a gym. Can’t sleep? Take a pill instead of taking the TV, tablets and smartphones out of the room. In short, we are always on the look-out for a shortcut. The problem with that is these shortcuts rarely sustain us and the original problem always comes back, sometimes even worse than it was before. If you want to stand out as someone who can fix people’s problems in the long-run you have to give them quality solutions, not just band-aids. Offer products that actually cure the problem your customers have. People keep coming back to me because they really do make money with my programs. I have countless testimonials from customers who are thriving with their very own online businesses, despite everyone’s view that this is a sleazy industry to be in.

There are many reasons why people get fed up with working for ‘the man’ and go out on their own. Considering that the internet has made the barrier to entry into starting your own business virtually non-existent, the prospect of making money online is virtually guaranteed!

Regards,

Mark Patricks

     
     
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