Thoughts on Entrepreneurism

Buildings in SeattleLast week, I had a great coffee chat at Green Bean on 24th and Burnside with two bloggers who I hadn’t yet met in person who were enthusiastic about entrepreneurism.  There are now many communities springing up online that discusses ways to start businesses, self-development, and fulfilling personal goals and dreams (in current cultural lingo, not corporate or “self-help” lingo).  I thought it was interesting that these were real people, not just voices online from podcasts and blogs.  When putting yourself out there, it’s important to surround your self with positive influences who believe in what you’re doing, whether online or offline.

From many recent discussions, it seems many of my friends around my age are thinking similarly.  The 30s is when you feel more independent, aware of who are, and want to take ownership of your life, and go after your dreams, not someone else’s.

And in fact the entrepreneur will often end up having to work many more hours for a while, slaving away and doing everything he can to meet needs of the public, who are now his boss.  But it’s still his own dream.  There’s more motivation to be the best person he can.  To dress better, be confident, take action, not in a way he’s forced to, but in the manner best suited to himself and his consumers.

Often when people think business, they think corporate, like what we see on “The Office”.  Too often business schools don’t prepare students for entrepreneurism.  So much of the new ideas fly in the face of established business models.  It’s taking a risk.  But when you think about the economy around us, really is it such a risk?  When companies crumble and jobs are lost is it really “safe” to stay in business models that aren’t working?

Two guys talking by a bike rack by the Seattle Shirt Company.This is where faith comes in.  Are we putting our faith in man or in God?  These aren’t just vague spiritual concepts. In the conceptual age, menial type jobs are slowly being replaced by computer or outsourced.  What took years of schooling for Americans can be replaced by the same college graduate in another country for far less.  So it’s not just bluecollar jobs, it’s programmers, accountants, even lawyers.  It’s not just because corporations are so greedy, it’s because they are doing everything they possibly can to stay afloat.

I’m not saying to fear, I’m saying I think we need to open our eyes to what’s going on and take action. And by taking action I don’t mean holding a sign and yelling about how “downtrodden” you are.  If you want breakthrough, victim mentality is not the answer.  Yeah, you’re so poor with your blackberries and namebrand clothes and nonfat soy latte crap.  That half-sandwich from the deli that you were too picky to finish and threw away?  The kid in Mexico looking through the dumpster would’ve been glad to have it.  Don’t even get me started on this…

There are people today who are working the system and succeeding.  But it takes a certain frame of mind to think outside the box.  We’re not under the world’s economy, when we depend on God for our provision.  I was talking to someone at church the other day about how as businesses fail, God will give us creative ideas for products.

In worship music, people are talking of hearing that heavenly sound that God is giving to musicians and singers.  This also applies to business.  It’s all over the Bible.  Jesus told the fishermen to throw their nets on the other side of the boat in faith.  The result was more fish than their nets could possibly hold.

Proverbs takes on new meaning from this perspective.  In those days people formed or produced their own goods, then brought them to the marketplace.  There were servants, but companies were on a small scale.  Perhaps in the internet age, we’ll return to that model.

I can’t stand prosperity teaching.  Abundance is Scriptural, it’s not about fancy houses and cars and material possessions, though those might or might not come.  If frivolous spending is our idea of prosperity, it’s no wonder it falls apart.  It’s when we focus on God and excelling our craft and being good stewards, that we can let Him provide and decide how much we really need.

And so here we are in uncharted territory.  Let the conversation continue.


Category: Dreams and Goals, Faith | Tags: , , , |

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