I Have Good News And Bad News: You ARE An Entrepreneur

August 20th, 2008

Growing up, my dream had always been to work up a corporate ladder and become a senior executive, perhaps a big-company CEO.  Even while I was in college I had this as my goal, thinking I’d take the expatriote route and go overseas for a number of years.

Of course, life happened, and my well-thought-out career path to that corner office took a number of detours.  The last major detour was when I got laid off in 2006, and then started my own company (the same year).

I thought that my company would JUST provide web software for people interested in career management, relationship management, job hunters, and possibly work with HR and recruiters.  Within a year I was writing a book, and even speaking.

I wanted to be careful to not spread myself too thin, but as my own boss, I loved the ability to figure out which new opportunities would be complementary to JibberJobber’s goals, and which would be distractions.  It was fun to figure out what my company could do, become, offer.  I was a real entrepreneur!

You know what’s great about that?  I remember in my last role, the CEO/founder of Varsity looked at me and said “YOU ARE NOT AN ENTREPRENEUR!”  He made it very clear that I didn’t have what it took, like he did.  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

I’m an entrepreneur.  I love it.  It’s not easy, but it’s empowering… it’s exciting, it’s liberating, and I love it!

The same way I make decisions about my company, you make decisions about your career path.  In fact, owning my business right now is simply a step in my career path. No matter what you are doing right now, whether you are CEO of a big company, unemployed, happy or unhappy… YOU make decisions about your career path.

Do you stay?  What do you learn right now?  What will your year (or quarter) look like?  Are there partnerships you are in that don’t make sense, and others you need to work harder on?  Is your income diversified enough (to minimize risk)?

Whatever you choose to do as CEO of Me, Inc., please do it ON PURPOSE.  Don’t shirk your duties as CEO!

This post is sponsored by Career Solvers, a JibberJobber career partner.  Career Solvers provides resume writing and career coaching services.  Contact them today for a free resume review, and to see how they can help you with your career management needs.
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11 Responses to “I Have Good News And Bad News: You ARE An Entrepreneur”

  1. Ah the newly unemployable. I am glad you took the chance and I hope I know you when we are ‘old’ so I hear you reflect on your career.

    You know, you provide a good argument for those who think career planning is not time well spent. I think the best part of a plan is to know why it did not go as planned – because it wont. Managing change and experience creates leaders. Grand exposure opens eyes. I think as long as core values based personal mission and vision is realized, the career and personal plans will be good decisions even when they take a hard left.

  2. Scot Herrick says:

    I’m reminded of something I just read on Copyblogger about on-line success — but it applies to all of us.

    1. Take action. Even small actions can lead to big goals.
    2. Have a plan. The plan can change, but you need a baseline of some sort to do evaluations.
    3. Put YOU into all of it.

    You can’t do that in a publicly owned corporation. It’s tough. But, when you keep on going with your own business and see where it takes you, things start to happen. You build on that.

    Nice going, Jason! You learned to follow the goal wherever it takes you, not the process that forces you into something that might not work.

  3. Gordon says:

    Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.
    Viktor E. Frankl

    Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
    Viktor E. Frankl

    Great blog….have a great weekend….

    Slainte
    Gordon

  4. thom singer says:

    I love the fact that some pompous entrepreneur once told you you were not an entrepreneur. Screw him. I think you are doing great. I hope you send him the link to this post (or that some mutual friend does).

    My wife used to work for a large company. She moved departments into a sales role. On her last day in the old department (where she had done VERY well in her job), her soon to be former boss told her “you are making a mistake. You do not have what it takes to succeed in sales” —- Over the next four years she was the top local salesperson three times, and was on the short list for “sales person of the year” for the whole national company.

    Who is someone to say what another person is or is not cut out to do. Success in business comes from inside your core. Everyone reading this should go for their dream.

  5. [...] I wrote I Have Good News And Bad News: You ARE An Entrepreneur, and asked the [...]

  6. A dream deferred is like a raisin in the sun … not my line; but, surely my sentiment and experience.

    To tell the tale of my life’s journey would take a bit of time and space here; and, it’s not really necessary nor to the point of this post.

    What is the point of this post is that what, often, seems as a set back, change of career, a total 180 shift in expectations and “goals” can almost always be made into that “get lemons, make lemonade” cliche.

    If I hadn’t been escorted to the door that day, if that contract had been renewed, if … if … if … However, my point (again) is that, while most of us have goals, desires and what we think is going to be our life’s work, what comes later today or tomorrow or sometime later down the road is, quite often, totally unexpected or only slightedly intuited. And, the question, then, becomes … what are you going to do … now?!

    What (I suggest) you should not do is: be afraid, have as your first reply “No” to new ideas, what may appear to be unusual suggestions or in any other way(s) that limits, blocks or in any manner curtails your exploring or putting to your very best “use” of this opportunity that you’ve been given (asked for or not) to make new decisions, new choices and explore new possibilities that, hitherto, you “put aside” because they were too “impractical”, “too fanciful”, or that you felt you couldn’t have taken on at an earlier time in your life.

    In other words, THIS might be the time to do that thing that you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to do.

    Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not a Pollyanna — these can also be exceedingly difficult times, as well. However, follow your heart’s desire, bring to bear all your resources – both within yourself and from very trusted friends and family; and, then, with your best attentions and well-considered criteria … go! Even if you “fail” — you didn’t truly fail because you tried, learned a bit more about yourself – and, that’s always good — every day.

    Buona fortuna!

    Cheers!

  7. Joe Miller says:

    Great post, Jason. The same thing happens in the legal profession. Your law school professors look at you and pretend to know who would and wouldn’t make great, creative lawyers. Riiiiiiiiiiight.

  8. Tom York says:

    Jason,

    Yesterday, I went to buy milk. To my surprise, the supermarket is closing within the next 4 weeks. It is the second supermarket within a 5 mile radius, that I know of, that is closing. Like in your blog, I heard numerous employees who had just been notified this week saying, “What am I going to do?” The reality is that no one – in any industry – is exempt, even in the best of times. Right now, we all know that we are not in the best of times.

    We need to ensure that Me, Inc. becomes as diversified as some of the major corporations.

    Strange, go back a few decades and the focus was on cultural diversity, go back one or two and thye focus was on stock investment diversity, take a look now, and it is personal income diversity. Maybe we need to see the common trend – after all, all diversity means is to approach life with an open mind.

    Good observations.

    Tom

    P.S. Would you like to sell cards for my new catering business?

  9. If you feel like you’re an entrepreneur and you are self-employed then you are one. Self-declaration is all the permission we need in this noble profession. Not too many have the guts to put it all on the line and boldly create commerce where others would rather hide in the slavery of employment. Let freedom ring – declare your intention to be self-employed before they let you go!

  10. [...] really sparked this frame of mind was Jason Alba’s post about entrepreneurship. I thought it was thoughtful and it made me take a step back. Jason is a textbook case of how an [...]

  11. [...] really sparked this frame of mind was Jason Alba’s post about entrepreneurship. I thought it was thoughtful and it made me take a step back. Jason is a textbook case of how an [...]

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