The previous generation in America made up slogans like “putting in a hard day’s work” and “a day’s work for a day’s pay”. I believe in those principles. But, I think they were created in either an agricultural environment or the tail end of the Industrial Revolution.
One of the greatest assets that sets apart the United States from other countries is entrepreneurialism. Because of this, not only can the everyday person realize his dreams, he can work to achieve them. Getting into business is not a new concept, but does conflict with your parents and grandparents beliefs on how you should earn a living.
In general, we all like the idea of being financial independent, having residual income, managing over others, and being our own boss. But, was it just meant to be a dream? Or can we make it a reality?
Somewhere, sometime in life, you will be offered a business opportunity…and most likely…at that point…will reject it! Why?
The Hourly Wage Earner
The ultimate goal of the hourly wage earner…is to accrue hours worked. You are only as good as your last paycheck and unless you are truly in some specialized, skilled trade are not earning the type of money to truly live a rewarding lifestyle — or meeting the criteria for a salary-level position.
Wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who coined the phrase: “time is money?” Hourly workers begin to see the world in terms of time management, realizing that the more their time is committed to the benefit of the company, the higher their financial output.
Unfortunately, this also means less time for family, for leisure, and for continuing education & training. It also increases your propensity to health problems and injuries.
The Salaried Employee
The salaried employee soon takes up the concept of “working smarter, not harder”. Ultimately, this equates to how little time can I spend at work yet still minimally meet my position’s requirements?
It’s a completely different mindset of the hourly employee with very little personal accountability for time. Salaried employees often come in late, take long lunches, or expend a lot of their day on personal interests. Yet, be the first to scold and chastise an hourly employee if he/she makes the same infraction. Hypocritical, isn’t it?
One complaint that many salaried employees share is the feeling of being “owned” by the company. A company that may have little regard for creating boundaries of when personal time is allowed to begin.
Most individuals come with a mindset of fitting into one of these two categories…and there is nothing wrong with that. Many individuals in this group make a great income in the fields of technology, education, health care, science, accounting, etc.
But, for those not in a professional capacity, living paycheck to paycheck is a stark reality. It’s been estimated that almost 77% percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck — with this number increasing based on the rising costs of health.
There’s going to come a time when you begin to wonder if there is anything you can do about this — knowing that if you keep the same approach, you will garner the same results.
Another category of employee we have not discussed are those who receive compensation from commission.
A Career In Sales
If there is a need for something to be sold, then there is often a salesperson to sell it. These people take on many different forms: From the car salesman, to the young lady selling makeup and perfume behind the counter, to the older gentleman wanting to sell you your next house.
This section hits home for me because I structured my own small business (LLC) around being paid 100% solely off of commissions. Can you imagine running a business with two Fortune 200 clients (AFLAC & Comcast) that is derived solely on sales ability? I’d have to crazy, wouldn’t I?
Eventually, you may get tired of businesses outsourcing their operations, or small fluctuations in the economy causing downsizing and layoffs. I did. As soon as I got comfortable making an attractive salary, I’d receive some type of bad news about the company’s direction..followed by a thank you and a big severance package for my troubles.
I’m supposed to be telling you that my business is online. And the internet is taking regular people and turning them into millionaires. You don’t still believe that…do you? But, I do supplement my income with the few hundreds of dollars I make online every month. But, to call that a business? Err…umm…no.
One thing I discovered that the more I do online AWAY from blogging, the more revenue I generate. Sorry if that disappoints a few of the “blogging faithful” reading this.
The Business Owner
The business owner is the best friend of the our American economy. He has the vision and the fortitude to put his ideas to work and perform a vital task…creating jobs. (When was the last time you personally offered someone a job?)
To me, a business owner is the type of driven, motivated person who is not required to be told what to do at every point of the day and has a strong work ethic. In addition, this person does not mind being a source of information and guidance for others — an added responsibility.
For most of my life, I supplemented my daytime job with passive income ideas and called it a business. When things got too intense and it caused a conflict with my day job, I foolishly reduced the size and scope of what i was doing to accommodate my career. Looking back, I am not sure as to why. I think a lot of it is why we are programmed to trust our employer.
But, those days are over.
The Harsh Reality
Some companies market the perception you are creating your own business with them and allow you the freedom to potentially earn a high income as a sales professional or independent contractor. Yet, many would rather run to the safety and security of being a W-2 employee. If I couldn’t run my own small business, I’d rather at least be a 1099′d contractor.
Unfortunately, if you were given a chance to run a business, you would most likely fail. People much smarter than you or I have “gone done in flames”.
But, until you realize that many of the higher-wage earners are salespeople, small business owners, and independent contractors you are doomed to live a life on the edge of bankruptcy and homelessness. One thing this recession has shown us is that many of the higher-paying, upper-middle-income level jobs disappeared…and most likely for good! Millions of unemployed people realized they had been working in industries that had been on the decline and not able to transition to the needs of new, upstart, small businesses. This will take too much continuing education and retraining.
How are you going to overcome that? You’re going to have to look at alternative ways to become comfortable financially…and it’s sure not going to come from writing blog articles or punching a time clock.