Sometimes it takes a lemon to spark a dream.

No More Paint by Numbers

Are you wondering whether you should start your own business, podcast or write your own book? Well, if you are wondering, then you should. Here’s why.

A nagging voice

When I was working in my corporate job, I felt restless. There was a nagging little voice constantly bugging me, telling me to do something else. I never knew what that “something else” was, however. I thought it might be looking for another corporate job, which I did. When I arrived at my new job, the voice was still there. So obviously, changing corporate venues was not it.

The safe route isn’t always satisfying

I never thought of myself as a risk-taker, which is what I believe entrepreneurship requires. That’s why I went to law school, so that I could find a secure, well-paying job for the rest of my life. Law has indeed been very good to me, but it hasn’t fulfilled me. My creative side was not being fed. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to be master of your own destiny and fully satisfy your creative urges if you work in a “job.” Even if you are the CEO of a corporation, especially one that you did not start, you are not fully free to express yourself and your ideas. You still have to report to a board of directors and fulfill a preplanned mission and vision for the corporation.

Entrepreneurship can offer endless options

Creativity in “jobs” vs. entrepreneurship is like painting on a canvas: with a job, the outline of what you will paint is already drawn for you. As a corporate leader, maybe you have the option to choose the type of paint you use (acrylic, oil, water, etc.) and perhaps you can even choose the colors. But the outline of the painting is already drawn for you and your corporate charter requires you to stay in those lines. The lower you are on the corporate ladder, the less freedom you have to choose the colors or type of paint (your painting is really like paint-by-numbers).

Entrepreneurship gives you a blank canvas. You can paint anything you want, in whatever color or type of paint you want. If you want to paint a realistic picture, you can. If you want to aim for something more art deco, you can. Better yet, you can even invent a new style of painting. Bringing your ideas to life in entrepreneurship, just like on a canvas, is thrilling and satisfying.

Entrepreneurship has trade-offs, but they are worth making

I’m here to tell you that entrepreneurship isn’t all roses and rainbows. Just like a job, you have worries. As an entrepreneur, you worry about income, clients, and whether anyone will like your creation as much as you do. Convincing them is all on you, and that’s a huge burden. But if you love what you do and are passionate about it, persuading your market to appreciate your creation, whether it’s a product or service, isn’t as hard as it sounds. It just becomes an essential part of what you do every day.

With a job, it’s easy to get stuck in a zone. You get up every day, go to work, do your job, and go home. If you work in a professional world or at an executive level, you may have a bit more freedom as to when and how you work, but your performance expectations are set by some external authority, whether it is a board, supervisors or management committee. The problem is, at a moment’s notice, you could lose your job. You could be laid off because of financial pressure, or fired because the external authority doesn’t like you anymore. The point is, with a job, your destiny is not fully within your control. You are at the mercy of others continuing to like and appreciate the work you do. And to be appreciated, you must perform within the lines they’ve drawn for you.

I can’t explain the freedom you feel when you take that step to become an entrepreneur until you actually do it for yourself. But once you do, I am certain your creative juices will flow like a water from a broken dam. It’s exhilarating and liberating. When I finally took that step, that nagging little voice that annoyed me for so many years disappeared.

Take that step. Your canvas is waiting.

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