Growing up as an Asian female in Malaysia, I was constantly told that I should study hard, get a job, save my money, get married, have kids and retire and live happily ever after … and of course, have kids who will then repeat the cycle and they will look after me forever and ever. That was the “dream” life that we are all supposed to aim for. In other words … Get a life. Just Get a Job! Not just any job – get a “safe” job that will employ me for my whole my working life.
Does that REALLY sound like something you can do today and be wildly successful – even if you wanted it? Or will you just manage, get to retirement, then, have to downsize because you can’t afford the mortgage on your state pension (assuming you do get a pension). In the process, watch your boss become rich making money off your efforts. Companies are computerising and downsizing. Some “safe” jobs no longer exist because of the pace and improvement in technology. There is no such thing as a safe job today. Employers are looking to place incoming employees on fixed term rather than permanent contracts so that it is easier to sack you. According to FreshBooks, a cloud-based accounting company that has conducted a study on self-employment for two years, the number of Americans working for themselves looks to triple—to 42 million people—by 2020. The old “job for life” no longer exist.
So, would you rather control your own destiny and write your own life story or subject yourself to the whims and fancies of the boss? The oxymoron in all this is that your employer is looking for employees who have an entrepreneurial mindset. They are looking for those who are drawn to opportunities, innovation and value creation. If you have all those qualities, why not do it for yourself?
If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.
The reality is that most do not start because of well-meaning non-risk taking family and friends who, at the first sign of a temporary failure, remind you that it “wouldn’t work”. We have all these lovely people in our lives. It is said that the richest place in this world is the graveyard because most people take their gifts, talents, goals and aspirations with them. What are you doing right now? And what is it that you really really want to do? Are they the same? If not, why not? And when are you going to work towards it? If all going into business did was to give you the house of your dreams, would it be worth it?
It has been 20 years since Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad, Poor Dad was first published. It is a book that is STILL one of the better ones around on personal finance and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you. His second book, Cashflow Quadrant, was written for those who are ready to move beyond job security and enter the world of financial freedom. It’s for those who want to make significant changes in their lives and take control of their financial future. Both books are well worth reading. However, I did find that although both books were great catalysts for igniting my passion for business, it did not give me any detailed how-to.
Today we’re in the digital age. The industrial age is over and is now being replaced by the information age. This is leading to some major opportunities for everyone to start their own business. Unlike the Industrial Age when starting a business cost an arm and a leg, the technology today means the barriers to starting a business has lowered considerably. The only question is will you take the opportunity? Starting a business has never been more simple than it is today.
Have you ever looked around and realised that the world you live in has successful people who are NO SMARTER than you?? What is the possibility of making it big for you? How many times have you had an idea and done nothing about it? Then one day you read about that someone who had the same idea you had, she made it into a company. Now she’s really really successful. That could have been you!
I had an idea once for a charity organisation to raise money. I suggested that they start a night market selling food just like they do in Asia! At that time, there was nothing like that around. I did the research, gave the information to the charity and they hummed and they ahh’d and they did nothing. Presumably, they considered it too risky. Because I had already passed the idea to them, I couldn’t do anything about it myself. Guess what started springing up? Night markets started springing up doing exactly that and they are doing very well indeed.
We have a choice what legacy we will leave behind, and we must be intentional to leave the legacy we want … Most people don’t lead their life, they accept their life.