The Plight of the Wantrepreneur

I’ve done a lot of thinking lately about my online business, and where it fits into the context of the rest of my life.

People often stress out about not having enough opportunity, but I’ve found that sometimes having too much opportunity can be just as overwhelming.  Time is forever a limiting factor, and it’s this limitation that creates wantrepreneurs instead of entrepreneurs.

As I reflect on my past 3+ years working online, I thought it would be interesting to write it all out in a blog post.  Warning: This post is a lot of rambling, but I promise to keep it fairly brief and concise. :)

A lot has changed since I started this blog more than three years ago.  I started with nothing more than a desire to quit my day job after having just read The 4-Hour Workweek, with many ideas running through my head.

Working a “9 to 5 job” left a bad taste in my mouth – it was restrictive, and I lacked the ability to work independently, held back by the shackles of a biweekly paycheck and a job that demanded a lot of time and energy.  So, I started this blog with the hopes that I would document my journey from being a traditional “9 to 5″ worker, to someone who could make a living online and have more flexibility in life.  Spoiler alert: This hasn’t happened yet.

I started my career at one of the largest public accounting firms in the world, and after 3 years of burning myself out (routinely working 60-90 hour weeks), the last thing I ever thought was that I actually wanted to be a CPA. The truth is, I like being a CPA – I like solving problems for businesses through my accounting and tax knowledge.

All it took was a little time away from the profession (I spent a year as an executive recruiter) to realize that.  And so, I got my accounting career back on track and now face a new challenge ahead – starting a new job this week as a CPA at a private company (instead of working in public accounting).

With all of that said, the entrepreneurial fire inside of me continues to burn, but I continue to inadvertently put the fire out.  How can you fully act as an entrepreneur when you’re focused on your career working for someone else?  I know it’s doable, but I think most people find themselves as wantrepreneurs.

I’ve tasted success on my own – if you’ve read my income reports, you’ve seen that there were times when I consistently earned $1,500-2,000/month.  But I admit that I didn’t work hard enough, and that level of income dropped quickly as certain successful projects died out.

Sadly, I still don’t work hard enough today.  As much as I’d like to drop everything and really work to build up my own business, I enjoy the way everything is right now.  My career, my family, and my leisure time – it’s all more than enough for me.

So how do you let out that entrepreneurial fire that burns from within?  Some people are forced into it – they get fired or laid off from their job, or perhaps they have a financial crisis that pushes them to greater heights.  Other people thrust themselves into it by taking great risks.  And then there are some who can do it “on the side”, while they work around other obligations in life.

I guess the moral of this rambling post is that if you really want something to happen, you have to jump on every opportunity.  Results tend to happen exponentially – in other words, putting in 20 hours of work will probably yield more than twice the result of only putting in 10 hours.  Simply wanting it isn’t enough – you have to aggressively go after it.  You have to need it.  And I’m unhappy about the fact that I don’t need it.

This is the plight of the wantrepreneur.  I’m sure many of you feel the same way about your own lives – feel free to leave a comment below.

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20 Responses to “The Plight of the Wantrepreneur”

  1. I too am going through the same issues as you Eric. I tasted the pleasure of earning a few hundred dollars per month until Google crushed most of my sites.

    I still earn money online now from starting again with what I’ve learned from my mistakes.

    I know my journey will be different this time and I will be earning more than before very soon.

    The reason I am certain of this is that I have a mentor this time to show me the way and hold me accountable every month for my actions.

    This guy has sold over $5 million online and is helping me to get to the stage of working online full time with his clear direction and action steps.

    Maybe you need to take a step back and get someone like this to move forward in your business.
    Mark McKnight recently posted… Simple Traffic Solutions: Will They Work For You? – Review

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    That’s a great idea, Mark. Having a mentor or someone to hold you accountable can make a HUGE difference.

    I used to view this blog that way – because I post an income report monthly, I always felt that I had my general audience to hold me accountable. After all, I don’t like reporting a lack of progress or a decline in income.

    Unfortunately, now that I’ve been blogging here for a few years, that feeling of accountability has somewhat weakened, and probably doesn’t have the same effect on me as it once did.

    [Reply]

  2. Wow, this really explains well what a lot of online entrepreneurs go thru. The hardest part is making that decision to go all in. As you said, unless you are forced into it that is a huge risk to take. Something that I have put more focus on recently is setting goals, targets , and deadlines. While its not the same as being forced all the way in it does make me stay on a clear path to grow my online business (even though its not at the pace I would like). I have set clear goals and deadlines both short and long term. This will hopefully give me the push I need to continue to grow. I wish you well Eric, and hope to continue watching you grow your online business.
    William recently posted… Make Money With Kindle Books – The Year of Kindle Publishing

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, William. Best of luck to you too.

    [Reply]

  3. This has been my story for years! For me I spend 8 hours a day in front of the computer screen at work, get home and the last thing I want to do is sit in front of another computer screen for 5 minutes let alone to get any work done. I know I’ll be getting a paycheck every two weeks, whether I touch my computer at home or not. And I get lazy. I JUST told myself I HAVE to make my business my full time thing within the next year. So I actually went and hired a virtual assistant. I figure the extra expense plus having someone focusing 40 hours of their time per week to my business should get me to where I want to be.
    Cindy recently posted… 6 Ways to Avoid Wasting Your Online Business’ Budget

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Cindy. Hiring a VA sounds like a great idea as long as you can set aside the time to explain to him/her the tasks to complete.

    I wish you well on your business, and hopefully having the VA will be the extra step you need to make it a great success.

    [Reply]

  4. Hey Eric. Struck a cord here with this as the vast majority of people would feel exactly the same way. As much as we all curse our jobs and having to work for a boss, life is actually not THAT bad when you have a job and steady income. It’s tough to get going sometimes working on online projects after a full day of work but I suppose what separates those that have freedom and those that settle for the 9 to 5 (not that it’s a bad thing) is dedication.

    The trick is being consistent with the “side-business” even when it is a chore.

    “In the absence of motivation, I rely on my dedication”. Not sure where that quote originated from but it’s something I rely on.
    Greg recently posted… Home Based Business Marketing: Internet Marketing Tips

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Great quote, Greg. I agree, consistency is key – definitely something I need to get back to!

    [Reply]

  5. Answer: burn the bridge! Ya gotta do it man.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Danny – hopefully one day I will. :)

    [Reply]

  6. Thanks for this intimate insight into your thoughts, Eric. And…don’t worry about rambling….I’m probably the king of ramblers, so I can definitely relate….

    It’s seriously cliche, especially online, but determining factors between success and failure hinges on a few things, to include “taking action”. Yes, we all want to have a plan and direction….but, each day when I roll out of bed, I really try to do at least something. Anything. Unless you are doing something really stupid that could land you in legal hot-water, generally taking action doesn’t have incredible downside associated with it. What do you have to loose?
    Howie @ WarriorNurse recently posted… 1,001 Free eBooks that You Must Read to Succeed (at Just About Anything!) (eBooks #1 to #10) — Part #1

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Howie – I like the idea of the doing something each day, however small it may be. You’re right – there isn’t much to lose.

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  7. I’m glad you are happy but time is going to go by and you will find yourself still in your job without much accomplished. Work now and reap the rewards later. Rennet your 5 year About Me page? Well those 5 years are getting closer and when you look back it won’t be too pleasant.
    Dionne recently posted… 3 Ways to Making Money From Your Blog/Website

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    You’ve got a point there, Dionne. I guess the big thing I struggle with is that I actually enjoy my job – and by advancing in my job, I am accomplishing something.

    At any rate, I know you are right – if I want to be entrepreneur, I need to start doing something about it.

    [Reply]

  8. The perfect, descriptive term “wantrepreneurs”. I finally took the talent I had that kept me working for someone else, making them money, and went it alone. I took me years and a disastrous economy that resulted in me being laid off before I finally went 100% on my own. And then only because I was left with no alternative. Maybe if I was I’d have avoided stepping out of my comfort zone and that paycheck I was never happy with but could count on. Now I regret not doing so sooner. I make more money than I did as a wage earner, can write off almost everything as a business expense, and work when I want. Of course when a costly mistake is made, it’s all my fault. But then I don’t repeat mistakes I literally had to pay for. Great post!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Yann – you’re a perfect example of someone who was basically forced into entrepreneurship, and found success. I wish you all the best.

    [Reply]

  9. You are very right here Eric. It is so easy to get distracted by shiny objects out there. Some of the successful entrepreneurs have stressed focusing on one thing until success and also picking three things to do every day that will move your business forward.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Brandon. There is something to be said about actually focusing hard on one thing until it’s successful. The tricky part is, when do you cut your losses and call a project a failure? Some people are better at determining that than others. Of course, you can avoid all of that by just being successful. ;)

    [Reply]

  10. This is exactly happening to me too! I’m an Engineer by trade, and internet marketer at night.

    I always dream of living a dot com lifestyle, but I’m enjoying my life as 1/2 employee, 1/2 self employee status.

    I get the best of both worlds, having financial security. I had ups and downs from my online businesses, and glad I still have a full time job. However, I still dream of doing my business full time.

    I’m with you, so don’t worry. Let’s be 50-50 together.
    Smart Children recently posted… Handling Children In School

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Sounds like you’re pretty happy with the 50/50 balance – I like that. Right now I’m definitely more like 90/10 or 95/5, so hopefully I can get myself closer to that 50/50 point.

    [Reply]

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