Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur over working a 9-to-5 job at some major company? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
In 2015, I made $200,000 in my headhunting job at the age of 27.
In January of 2016, after I came back from vacation, I handed in my resignation and quit. Here are a few reasons why I willingly and happily chose to leave my high-paying job to become an entrepreneur:
1. I could afford to. I worked my butt off my entire career as a headhunter, making great money from the outset, but I knew that this was all a facade. To truly succeed in life, making enough isn't enough. Saving, but more importantly, leveraging savings into investments is the best strategy to have your money work for you. Thus, I invested heavily into real estate, plowing all of my savings into properties.
I didn't go out and buy a Porsche, although I could afford to with all that cash. I didn't go out and start renting a beautiful apartment on 5th Avenue, although I could afford to pay for the whole year upfront. I rejected the things I could afford for the life I want, which is a life of sustainable wealth (not the temporary high life), with no reliance on an employer. Now, I have multiple investment properties working for me, so I don't need to worry about income. Yes, things are tight for a bit before all my tenants are set up, and there are risks with real estate, but it works! My margins are locked in, and my passive income gives me the freedom to reject a 9-to-5 role. Sure, the market could crash, I could find a terrible tenant, and I could lose all my money. In that case, I can pick up a 9-to-5 job any day and start making the money I used to, because sales prowess doesn't go away and it's not replaceable by technology.
2. I want ultimate freedom to use my time as I please while I'm young, not tied to a working construct that is constraining my other desires and pursuits. I'm not okay with stressing out about how to get from the gym to work on time so that I don't get yelled at for being late. I never got yelled at in college for being late, and I don't want to be a grown person being scared of others reprimanding me. I don't want to meticulously count and portion my vacation days, and worry about corporate objectives being met if I take an extra day or two off.
And I'll be damned if someone else tells me I have to suck up to so-and-so to further my career and play office politics. I believe in Results-Oriented-Work (ROW), and I couldn't care less about looking busy or being all chummy with the man at the top (and yes, it's usually a man at the top). I don't want to feel like I need to stay late to prove that I'm working hard. I also can't be bothered to start studying football and sport statistics in an effort to build rapport. No thanks. I'm old enough to work on my own pace and schedule.
3. I don't like to take orders from other people when they're not as accomplished as I'm gunning to be, and are thus unable to contribute to the learning I'm interested in pursuing. After learning everything I needed from headhunting, I didn't need their training anymore because there was nothing they could tell me that I didn't know already. Especially since I was actually building our business hands-on, I knew much more than the management did, yet here I was, giving away 60% of my commission earnings to a business that was no longer providing anything to me besides monthly payroll service, administrative support, and office space to work in.
I realized that the student had become the master. In my business of headhunting, I don't need a corporate entity to survive or a brand to operate under. Headhunters break away all the time from their original employers. In fact, the most successful headhunters often take the leap to start their own firms. I had the financial wherewithal and the client relationships that if I wanted to, I could take a year off and wait out my non-compete clause and then go right back into the business, this time keeping 100% of my earnings.
I'm thankful for my life now. Although I'm not yet making as much as I did as a headhunter, I can honestly say that how much you make truly doesn't matter as long as you're able to eat and acquire basic living quarters. It's about what you do, how you do it, and how passionate you are about it that really counts!
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