Doing What Scares You

When you stop and look around, you might find that most successful people are the ones that took a chance, went against what others thought or advised, and made a move others wouldn’t dare to make. In other words, they likely failed a lot to find real success.

Successful people get to where they are because when there’s more risk, there’s more reward.

“People are conditionally averse to taking chance because we are taught early that failure is a bad thing.”

In school, if you fail, you get punished and shamed.

Outside of school, failure is what makes people and businesses grow.

Failure is otherwise known as learning in the modern-day world.

Do you think if the Wright Brothers stopped after their first failure, we would be where we are today with air travel?

As I grow older, I realize that I have played most of my life way too safe and haven’t taken enough chances.

I joined a band and played on stages in front of thousands of people, but those were far and few in between.

Failing more is what makes you successful

I believe that the more failures you have, the more likely you are to find success. Taking a chance keeps most people from ever seeing success, and it takes work, mental strength, and support from a solid set of peers to bust through the typical rat race. Most people are driven by fear and are otherwise too lazy to set themselves ahead.

Success means different things to many people, and it mostly means the freedom to do what I want, where I want, and with who I wish at any given time. Getting to that goal often means becoming financially free, so I’m on my journey to get there.

With success, there’s always a risk. I’ve been thinking more about why being an employee is riskier than trying t start a business or invest. Below are some points as to why I believe this.

Why being an employee is often riskier than entrepreneurship

When I think about fear and success being an employee is often top of mind. There are a lot of benefits to being an employee, including company-sponsored insurance, salary, other advantages, 401k plans, and more.

On the surface, this seems like a jackpot deal, but when you take a step back, you see that it’s all too limiting if you want to be different than your colleagues.

You can’t earn more than what your salary dictates.

Unless your role is commission-based, you can’t earn more than your pre-determined salary cap, which automatically puts you at a disadvantage to entrepreneurs who can make as much or little as they want in a given year.

If you wanted to earn more, you would need to hustle on the side and otherwise work “harder” to get ahead. I’ve done this as long as I can remember and realize it’s actually making me spin in my tracks. When your outputs determine your work inputs, you quickly max out. In other words, you can’t scale if you work in a time-based role.

Taxes are the worst for employees

If you are an employee, you get taxed that hardest. The wealthiest people make their money passively or through “non-ordinary income.” This means they use the tax code to their advantage to owe less and sometimes no taxes. Most people target the wealthy for this reason, but in reality, they are just using the system to their advantage by making the economy richer by supplying housing, jobs, and more to the market. The government wants these things to happen, so those types of actions mean less owed in taxes.

Ordinary employees are mostly “consuming” and not growing the economy, so they get taxed the hardest. If you’re middle-class, work an average 9-5, and don’t invest in anything like real estate or creating new businesses chances are uncle sam will reach the farthest in your pockets.

Little control

When you work for someone, you release all control in the direction the company or organization heads. You may think you have a voice, but only the shareholders can call the shots when it comes down to the wire. Some people don’t want this control, and that’s fine, but right away, you can see how limiting it can be.

I’m the type of person who likes to build fast and change things as I go. Some environments I’ve worked in are not so scrappy. Time, money, and willpower have been wasted building products and services nobody wants that could have been validated in weeks rather than months.

Many companies offer some form of 401k/retirement plan, and some even match your tax-free contributions. The problem with 401ks is that they mainly benefit the fund, not the investor. You may earn year over year, but you lose control over everything and are always at the mercy of the market. You could be approaching retirement with your accounts looking fabulous when they suddenly take a nose dive, and you lose over half your life savings. How is this supposed to be safe?

401ks exist because companies can no longer pay for any pension plan. This band-aid attempt to provide something similar leaves many people high and dry without enough funds to retire, which is the whole point.

You could lose your job at the drop of a hat

Being an entrepreneur puts you in the driver’s seat. You get to decide if you go to work today or not. As an employee, you might show up to work to find you no longer have a place there. With worsening economic conditions on the horizon, I see this being the case for many soon. Sadly, most will have to resort to trying to find another deadbeat employee-based role and get back on the cycle.

There’s not all downside

Being an employee has some perks. The perception of a stable income is excellent, although I know it could all stop tomorrow. Insurance is ultimately the tipping point for me, and trying to afford that on my own, plus the typical household expenses, puts you in the red fast. For now, I accept this and carry on while building my entrepreneurship ventures on the side.

As a product designer, I enjoy what I do and work on complex and rewarding projects that pique my interest. I don’t think I could say I’ve worked with many people and businesses if I tried to do that alone.

I’m an employee today. I have been for the past decade or so. I’m okay with this fact, and if I lost my job would probably try to scale my side businesses full-time. It would mean changes in “comfort” but I can see much more success on the horizon; being an entrepreneur than working at a job, I’ll likely get too old to perform before long. New tech, professionals, and other specialists will probably come in to do a better job than many of us can do.

I’ll continue taking more chances, investing in learning, and growing my side businesses. Before long, hopefully, they can prosper enough to see success and grant me that freedom I’ve been longing for.

Onward and upward.