Entrepreneurs are -- on some level -- just like any other individual in terms of employment: They need an income, a level of security to ensure they can provide for themselves and/or their families, and work that won't put them to sleep. But they're an unusually passionate group of people whose work is born of something deeper. They enjoy the challenge of building a business, the independence it affords, and the excitement of knowing the business will sink or float based on their efforts.
I was reminded of this sentiment when I read today's Careers Q&A at WSJ's Startup Journal. Reporter Perri Capell responded to a question regarding one entrepreneur's search for a job after having owned a company for the past seven years. The entrepreneur can't find a job, and reporter Capell's first speculation is perhaps the entrepreneur isn't cut out to work for others. (Besides this point, the reporter offers some tips for finding a job after being a business owner: Look for positions at smaller companies seeking someone to help start a spin off; use networking; update your resume emphasizing your business ownership achievements; and return to your original skill set.)
However, when this entrepreneur does find that elusive job, will working for someone else be fulfilling enough? Inc. Editor-at-Large Bo Burlingham responded to one entrepreneur-turned-employee in this 2001 Inc. Query. Burlingham's first comment was that Inc. hadn't heard from too many entrepreneurs seeking to become employees after having experienced business ownership. And Norm Brodsky noted in the same response that entrepreneurs are generally too headstrong to be long-term employees, but could work with a small company looking for an experienced entrepreneur, or become a contractor. Norm's closing remark, "If that doesn't work out, start a business."
Becoming an employee obviously is possible for entrepreneurs. But even the entrepreneurs-turned-employees I know harbor secret yearnings to become owners again. One such entrepreneur who is happy (he says employment works for him because his parent company is across the country) can't seem to shake the entrepreneurial itch. Despite his amenable arrangement, he already has plans for his next business in the works.
I suspect he'll never be able to shake that entrepreneurial passion. Could you?
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