Thursday, July 12, 2018

"A happier working life through entrepreneurship"/ "Big company or small"

Jan. 20, 2018 "A happier working life through entrepreneurship": Today I found this article by Brian Scudamore in the Globe and Mail:

Founder and CEO of O2E Brands, which includes home-service companies including 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

I fell into entrepreneurship as a way to pay for college. I needed money – fast – and junk removal was as good an idea as any. At first, it was a means to an end. Then I fell in love with what entrepreneurship gave me: purpose and control over my future.

I realized at a young age that I'd never be satisfied working for someone else. Even in school, I had a hard time being told what to do and where to be for eight hours a day.

I don't derive my sense of purpose from climbing ladders or following the status quo. I'm happiest and most energized when I'm leading a team toward out-of-the-box goals.

Every entrepreneur has their own story and reason for starting a business. Maybe it was a lifelong dream. Maybe they wanted to escape a dead-end job with limited opportunity. Maybe they were sick of working their lives away for someone else. 

Whatever the reason, entrepreneurship can give you a happier ending. Here are three entrepreneurs I know and admire who are proving it.

Own your future by owning a business

When Robert Herjavec came to Canada with his parents in 1970, they had nothing but a single suitcase. He waited tables and delivered newspapers growing up, barely scraping by in a foreign economy. 

He could have easily become one of millions of immigrants condemned to a life of poverty – but instead, he took control of his future by talking his way into a role at a tech company. He turned that experience into a business of his own and now, he's worth more than $200-million.

But he didn't do it for the money. Entrepreneurship for Mr. Herjavec was more than simply starting a business; it was an opportunity to rewrite his future. 

I felt the same way when I started out: I wanted to create a life I (and my family) could be proud of. It was never about making money (although that's a nice side effect of passion and focus) – it was about seizing opportunity and doing something meaningful with my time and energy.

You don't need a degree to start a business

Ryan Holmes wasn't always the founder of a billion-dollar tech company. He used to wash windows to make money, pinching his pennies to one day start his own business. After high school, he followed the status quo and enrolled in a business program – but from day one, he knew it wasn't right for him. 

He eventually dropped out to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship, and that's when he created Hootsuite.

A lot of people still believe you need a degree to be successful. But that's old hat; many of today's most successful people are dropouts (myself included). 

Entrepreneurship takes vision, passion and an unwavering commitment to goals. These are traits you either have or you don't; you can't find them in any textbook.

The sky's your limit

Kim Rood used to be an unhappy corporate cog, stuck in a job he wasn't passionate about. Then he got laid off. Naturally, he started interviewing for similar roles, but then it hit him: The definition of crazy is doing something over and over and expecting a different result.

 Instead, he decided to take a chance on himself; now, he runs one of the most successful franchises in our WOW 1 DAY PAINTING system.

When you start a business, you're fully accountable for your (and your employees') life. It can be terrifying at times, but it's a good fear. I had that feeling when I first started out and it drove me to be a better entrepreneur.

Life's too short to spend it doing something that doesn't inspire you to achieve big things. But the only person holding you back is you. If you've ever thought of starting a business, it's up to you to change the narrative.

"Big company or small- where do you fit?": Today I found this article by Aaron Harowitz and Zack Silverman in the Globe and Mail:

Co-founders of Walter Craft Caesar, Canada's first all-natural craft Caesar company.

We started our careers as a designer and lawyer, respectively, and, over our working lives, we have spent time at both big and small companies.

Four years ago, when we launched a craft Caesar company, it was just the two of us. Thankfully we've grown and our team is now 10 strong. Through the process of building our team, we've confirmed what our own work history taught us. That is, working for a small company is definitely not the right fit for everybody.

Think a small company might be the right fit for you? Here are some things to consider.

Generally, can you be a generalist?

Small companies, by their very nature, typically require all team members to wear a number of hats, often working on tasks and projects outside their area of expertise or comfort level. For some, this type of challenge represents an exciting opportunity. It's a chance to grow, learn new skills and keep each day different from the last.

For others, it is a totally … terrifying … potentially … paralyzing … idea.

When we are hiring, we look for people with a varied skill set that are comfortable just "figuring stuff out" – often with little or no direction. We would happily give more direction if we could, but quite frankly, we often don't know the answer. As our business grows and shifts, so do the challenges and tasks before us. 

Accordingly, we need people on our team who are self-starters who can dig in, ask smart questions, seek advice where needed and own the work.

Fair warning: at many small companies – ours included – everyone, regardless of title, gets the opportunity to broaden their skill set with tasks such as IT trouble-shooter, floor-mopper, coffee-fetcher, IKEA furniture-assembler, travel agent, etc.

For some people, this all sounds great. For others, not so much.

Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads

Small companies, especially growth-focused entrepreneurial startups, have varying degrees of structure. To the extent that there is a road map, it's constantly being redrawn. For small companies to compete, we need to stay nimble and we do so by constantly testing, assessing and pivoting. Accordingly, we need people who can shift focus, change course and adapt.

Do you crave structure? Do you need a well-defined road map detailing how to get from A to B to C? Do you need to know what you're going to be doing tomorrow, next week, next month? Totally reasonable. 

There are plenty of great jobs where you'd be a perfect fit. But likely that job's not at a small company.

Let's avoid trying to jam a square peg into a round hole

Every small company has at least one thing in common – size. Fewer people means any one person will have a bigger and more immediate impact on corporate culture at a small company than at a large one. It's really just a numbers game. Walk into a room of 250 people, few people notice. Walk into a room with five people, everyone will notice.

Corporate culture is important – especially so at a small company, given that there are fewer people who likely spend huge amounts of time together, often in close quarters.

If you have the luxury to get to choose who you work with (be that joining a new team, or adding to your existing one), we think it makes sense to choose people you like and respect. We certainly have.

Money, it's a gas

For all employment decisions, salary is a factor.

So, let's be clear. If maximizing your salary is the top item on your priority list, a small company may not be the right fit. As a general rule, small companies can't afford to pay as much as larger more-established ones, to say nothing of benefits programs.

Everybody has bills to pay. But ask yourself this: is money the only form of "compensation" you need to be happy? Perhaps you value work-life balance or a flexible work schedule? 

Or maybe it's having an active role in a small team or a sense of autonomy and responsibility that is a key motivator? Find the right fit with a small company and you may find the right overall "compensation package" that meets your needs.

Are we having a good time yet?

In the immortal words of Bob Marley, "Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?"

For many of us, a job needs to be more than just a clock-in/clock-out paycheque. 

Think about how much of your life you spend at work. If you're like most Canadians, it's probably a fair bit. So, at the risk of sounding like a total clich̩, think about where you fit Рhopefully it's with people you like doing something you enjoy.

1 comment:

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