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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

5 Reasons Why I Quit My Own Business to Work for Someone Else

Here’s why quitting your business can be the best decision you can make in difficult times.

Brandon Turner

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Two years ago I quit my own business to work for someone else, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

I was 26 years old when I “retired” from a terrible desk job at a local bank and set out to become self-employed. As with most modern entrepreneurs, I had read The 4-Hour Workweek and was convinced I could create a lifestyle business on my own that could pay my bills while I enjoyed a life of freedom.

Related: Are You An Entrepreneur Or a ‘Wantrepreneur?’

Between my rental properties and my growing real estate investing blog, I had built up enough semi-passive cash flow to pay the bills. I was financially free.

Only … it wasn’t free.

Within a year I quit the real estate investing blog and jumped back into a day job as vice president of growth at BiggerPockets.com, and although it was agonising to make, it was perhaps the best decision I’ve ever made.

Paid education

When I look back at the year I spent trying to build my own online business, I laugh.

I had no idea what I was doing.

Sure, I got the basics: Start a blog, build an email list, monetise that list. But I knew nothing, Jon Snow.

When I joined BiggerPockets.com, a niche-dominating startup in the real estate education space, my knowledge on growing a company grew at an astonishing rate.

In fact, to this day I probably spend 50 percent of my time just learning and testing new ideas, and I get paid for every minute of it.

Yes, I could have figured this stuff out on my own, but it would have been a much slower process, and I would have paid dearly to learn it. I would have had to focus on trying to do 50 different tasks at once rather than learning the things that are going to benefit me the most.

I don’t have to deal with bookkeeping. I don’t have to deal with hiring and firing. I just to focus on growth, both personal and business.

Accountabilitybusiness-disagreement_accountability

While working under a boss, I am held accountable for making progress.

I am paid to drive the company forward (and incentivised well for doing so), and as such, I am not tempted to simply relax and “take the day off” as I did during my self-employment time. Instead, I am able to produce incredible results.

People often ask me how BiggerPockets is able to accomplish so much with so few people in the company (I was the very first employee, and we are now up to around 10).

The answer is simple: Accountability. Sure, we all hate having a boss. But having a leader consistently drive you to be the best you can be is not a liability – it’s an incredible asset.

Play a bigger game

Deciding to take a job again was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. The internal argument that finally won me over, however, was this: I could play a much bigger game.

When I was growing my own business, I could work for days to create some incredible new lead magnet to attract more subscribers, but in the end, the results were hard to see. After all, if I’m converting 10 percent of my readers into email subscribers and I’m able to move that needle to a 15 percent  conversion rate, it’s not all that impressive to the bottom line when I have only a few hundred unique visitors.

Related: 4 Trends Entrepreneurs Should See in 2015

However, by jumping on board a larger company, I’m able to leverage myself into a much larger sandbox and have a lot more fun with the results.

A conversion increase of a few percentage points could result in thousands of dollars (or hundreds of thousands) in new revenue. The results of a split test could be seen in days rather than weeks. Writing a blog post can help tens of thousands of people, rather than just a few.

To emphasise this point, in the past year I’ve published a book, spoken at Google, maintained one of the most popular business podcasts on iTunes, and am having serious conversations about creating a television show about my life.

I simply couldn’t play that game on my own – at least not this quickly.

Meaningful relationshipsbusiness-relationship

Let’s be honest: Being self employed can be lonely at the start.

Working in my pajamas at the kitchen table seems like the ideal life for those stuck in a cubicle, but it’s not the answer I was seeking.

By working with a company, I am able to build meaningful relationships that help both personally and professionally. I am able to learn from an incredible serial entrepreneur (my boss, Joshua Dorkin) who bootstrapped a real estate forum into a 250,000-member niche social network. I am able to brainstorm new ideas with my coworkers for hours and work together to achieve something great. I am able to sit down with major influencers in the business world as equals, not as a super fan.

The relationships I’m building today will extend much farther than just my current job.

They’ll positively impact my life forever.

More disposable income

Finally, it would be a lie not to mention one of the greatest reasons for having this job: stable income.

But not in the way you might think.

Buying stuff is nice, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t get you any closer to financial freedom. Wealth is built over time collecting assets such as real estate, stocks or businesses.

By working a day job, I am able to substantially increase the amount of income, but at the same time keep my expenses constant at “pre-job” levels.

Translation: I have a lot more disposable income.

While most of the world would simply buy a larger house, a nicer car and better wardrobe, I’ve been sinking this cash into several other more productive avenues, including more real estate investments, paying off debt and going on some relaxing vacations.

Simply put: I’m leveraging this job to create even greater wealth in my future.

I’m a lifelong entrepreneur, and that will never change.

However, just because I’m an entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean the highest and best use of my time right now is building my own business.

During this period of my life I am gaining an incredible volume of knowledge from incredibly intelligent people. I’m moving the needle forward in a business that’s helping millions of people. I’m increasing my net worth and designing a lifestyle that allows for both work and play.

And I’m having a blast while doing it.

Related: 7 Unexpected Signs You Might Be an Entrepreneur

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Brandon Turner is a real estate entrepreneur and the VP of Growth at BiggerPockets.com, one of the web’s largest real estate investing community. He is also the author of The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down and several other books. Buying his first home at the age of 21, Turner quickly grew his real estate portfolio to over 40 units using a variety of creative finance methods. He and his wife Heather live in Grays Harbor, Wash.

Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

Build Solid Back-Room Basics For Business Success

What do South African entrepreneurs really know about what goes on behind the scenes building of businesses?

Marc Wachsberger

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South Africa has a vibrant start-up culture with great ideas starting out with a bang, but closing down with a whimper because entrepreneurs picture the glory at the destination, but not the nitty gritty of the journey to get there.

Be smart about scale

When I started out, I literally did everything myself. I negotiated and signed leases, I arranged the furnishing for our apartments and managed the interior décor process. When guests started using our apartments, I signed them in at reception, and then carried their bags.

At that stage, there was no money in my business to pay for attorneys, interior designers and decorators and there certainly wasn’t enough money for porters.

However, when we got to 70 apartments, it didn’t make sense for me to be a porter any longer, so I hired someone to do that job, explaining clearly what I expected of him. Before I did that, though, I spent time designing incentives for him so that he would be more affordable for me, and so that he could earn as much money as possible.

Related: Training Is A Two-Way Trick

Know your talents – and your limitations

There are certain things I’m really good at, but I know without a doubt that sales isn’t one of them – and without sales, you don’t have a business. I couldn’t afford a top-flight salesperson, but I knew that I could attract the right talent with the right business model. I set some high targets for Pamela Niemand, but offered her one third of the business if she met them. We both won: she earned a share in a successful, trend-setting business, and my trend-setting business became successful!

Use your skills – but know when to hand over

My background in corporate finance meant that I had all the accounting skills I needed when we first started out, but I knew that the time would come when I would need someone focused on that side of the business full time. Doing it all myself first meant that I could brief my first full-time accountant clearly and with a deep understanding of what would be required – and that I could help that person find and fix any challenges based on my experience.

In summary, my simple advice to anyone starting out would be to bootstrap your business yourself without investors or staff for as long as you can, but don’t over-extend yourself. Know when to delegate tasks away so that you can focus on what you’re really good at – but don’t do it before you have a solid understanding of what’s required. Know what you’ll never be able to do, and bring in that resource from the beginning – but do it based on performance-based incentives, so that your fledgling business doesn’t lose out if your early hires don’t perform.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

The Myth About The Relationship Between Entrepreneurs And Taking Risks

This is the true relationship between entrepreneurs and the apparent illusion of risk.

Lisa Illingworth

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“I can’t be an entrepreneur or start a business. I don’t have the appetite for risk.” This line is spoken regularly to brave few that leave the perceived safety of a job, take the plunge and venture into the unknown world of being an entrepreneur. However, there is a gross misunderstanding in the appetite for risk that entrepreneurs are believed to have innately inside of them.

The little-known truth is that the majority of entrepreneurs don’t like taking risks and according to Luca Rigotti and Mathew Ryan in their paper that explores a model for quantifying risk and its translation into enterprising action, the results were very interesting.

Risk is explained by these theorists as taking action where the outcomes are unpredictable as well the factors leading to that outcome are unknown. One of the theorists in this area, Saraswati, who coined the term “tolerance for ambiguity” has a more accurate description of what the outside world deems taking a risk.

In simple terms, entrepreneurs don’t go head-first into the shark infested water because they like the idea of danger and potentially being eaten alive; or the thrill of being able to say that they survived whilst others perished in a pool of maimed flesh. They carefully calculate that the sharks have been fed recently, some of the sharks are ragged tooth sharks that whilst looking like they are set to devour a human being, are actually incapable of opening their jaws wide enough to bite. For those sharks that still have space or who smell blood and can’t resist the urge to kill, the entrepreneur has a cage set up that he can retreat into quickly and a knife with which to protect himself.

Related: 5 Infamous Risks Every Entrepreneur Must Face

Tolerance for ambiguity is the careful evaluation of what is known at the moment where a decision must be made and an open-mindedness for what is not known. This, coupled with the agility to change course when new information is presented, has earned the label of high risk appetite. The appetite is not for the risk, but it is the ability to move down a path, when all the information is not known.

I likened it to a person moving around in the dark holding a candle. The candle casts a light that illuminates a limited parameter around the person holding the candle. What is beyond the light that the candle casts, is unknown and potentially a risk. But as the person moves forward, the light reveals what was unknown and in the shadows. As the light reveals new information and new challenges added to what they have already learnt, the person can make better informed decisions. The tolerance is in not knowing what lies in the shadows yet to be illuminated by the candle and then the confidence in his or her own ability to act on what new information is discovered.

None of this behaviour is risky or irresponsible. There is careful consideration for what is known and a tolerance for what is unknown. And once there is more information available, a calculated next step is taken and more information is assimilated into what is now known. This is the true relationship between entrepreneurs and the apparent illusion of risk.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

7 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs To Adopt Today

Want to know what skills can help you build confidence and your business? Here are seven…

Nicholas Bell

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For some people, becoming an entrepreneur is as easy as stepping off a bus. They have a big idea, they bring it to life, they hire employees and the next thing they are in a building smothered in branding and living the business dream. For others, the idea and the passion are there but they are unsure as to how they can make these into a sustainable reality. Entrepreneurial spirit isn’t like instant coffee – you don’t add ideas and suddenly get all the skills you need to thrive.

Want to know what skills can help you build confidence and your business? Here are seven…

1. Believable vision

Make sure that your vision is believable and achievable. It has to live in the realms of possibility, not as a blue-sky idea that looks good on paper but wouldn’t work in reality. You need to be able to live this vision so make it realistic and achievable. This will not only keep you on track, but your employees as well.

2. Be inclusive

You need to ensure that every person who works with you feels as if they are part of your vision and understand it. They need to relate to where the business is going and how it plans to get there. Many leaders don’t understand why employees are not engaged with their business and it’s because many of them don’t actually understand what the business does.

Related: 4 Ways To Improve Your Budgeting Skills

3. Communication is critical

If you don’t have fantastic communication skills, then now is the time to hone them. When it comes to building employee morale, commitment and engagement, nothing works as effectively as constant communication. The same applies to client relationships. You need to repeat the vision and ethos of the company at every opportunity and you need to be part of the team that does this communication.

4. Be visible and transparent

You are communicating, now you need to make that communication genuine by being both open and clear. People respond incredibly well to transparency. They feel as if they are part of something that recognises their value and contribution and it fosters a more inclusive company culture. Often toxic cultures come about thanks to a lack of communication and visibility. People know when things are being kept secret and react negatively to it, regardless of whether they’re an employee, a customer or a manager.

5. Be practical

You aren’t going to build an empire in a fortnight so focus on a realistic and practical business strategy that has clear benchmarks and even clearer goals. Communicate these with the company and keep everybody on the same page. Practical and achievable means long-term success.

Related: Crucial Skills You Need To Be An Entrepreneur

6. Build opportunities

As people become immersed in your company and part of its growth they will also need opportunities to grow. You need to tie their careers to the business and create opportunities for them.

7. Be human

It takes people to build a culture, a company and a future. It’s essential that you are human in your interactions and your treatment of others. The impact that a down to earth and authentic attitude can have on a company is extraordinary.

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