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Somebody Else's Dream
Breaking Down a Hustle Culture Phrase
Lately, I’ve been thinking about that phrase “Don’t spend your time making somebody else rich, go work for yourself” or its variation “Don’t spend your time making somebody else’s dream come true when you could work on your own.” While noble and a fixture in the hustle culture lexicon I do have 2 issues with it. One; it assumes that “working on somebody else’s dream” has absolutely no value to you, and that you are wasting time by bothering with it. In some instances this very well may be true. But a lot of times we need to be somewhere learning important skills before we can step out on our own. We need to build up our experience and expertise, and we usually do that by working for somebody else “building their dream.” And sometimes it’s not so much expertise we need to build up but we just need to keep the funds flowing. That paycheck you get from “making somebody else rich” keeps the lights on and the family fed.
And that brings me to point two; this statement assumes that once you step out on your own that your ideas and your work will automatically bring in the money. Well, what if you wanna be a professional hula-hooper? What are you doing at this dead-end job? Get out there and show the world you can hula hoop! Okay, that’s a bit of an extreme example, but it’s not far off. Not every dream worth pursuing is profitable. Hell, even the occupations that you may think would bring in a nice revenue stream don’t, or it takes a really, really long time before they do, if they ever do. There’s a difference between making your dreams happen and actually having your dream pay the bills. The phrase above makes it seem like it’s inevitable, you just need a push in the right direction, but it doesn’t take into account if you have any business sense, and so it’s easy to be misguided by the saying.
I am not a pro hula-hooper, but a writer/artist creator guy. If you like my consider a paid or free subscription!
While optimistic, it’s a bit naive to look at successful small business owners and think that if they can do it then you can do it too. What we tend to see are individuals “making their dream happen”, thinking how great it is to be your own boss and make your own hours. We don’t see the 24/7 grind, the constant meetings, follow-ups, the chasing down of invoices, paying taxes and employees, getting up early on weekends, etc. In other words, all the unsightly business stuff. Because ultimately that’s what you are doing when you set out to make your dream a reality that pays the bills, you’re setting up a business. So, hopefully you think to yourself, am I a business person? Can I stomach the day-to-day dealings of what it takes to run my own business? Sure, I can hula-hoop with the best that ever was, but can I hop on the phone and book a tour hula-hooping? Can I sell my special skills as branded books and videos? Can I hawk my wares and tickets to my shows year after year to create a sustainable living? Can I hire a person or team to handle all the business stuff for me? Did any of those ideas even occur to you, or do you just wanna get out there and hula-hoop? And that’s the difference between a person who can make a living off of their passion, and a person with a passion.
When we see successful small business owners, I think we’re witnessing one of two things: they’re so passionate about what they do they’re able to muddle through the day-to-day business dealings to keep it up. Or two; they also have a passion for running a business. I really believe we see a lot of the second one out there; all these successful small biz owners may have found that they have a knack for running a business. Even if they don’t handle the business side themselves, it takes a certain level of fortitude to delegate a team to handle all of that.
Running a business is hard work. Perhaps even harder than working at that bullshit job you hate. You don’t get any real time off; you have to be on call 24/7 should anything arise, whether a problem or opportunity; the long hours you put in may not be reflected in the revenue you make, and of course, if you don’t work you probably won’t get paid (unlike that coworker who’s always sneaking Tik Tok at their desk and still collects a check every other Friday). If the first thing you think of when you think about owning a business is how you can make your own hours or how you’d love to declare yourself CEO and take 3-hour power lunches, then perhaps you are not a business person. And that’s okay. Not all of us are up to stomaching the business side of things; the invoicing, the payroll, rent for the building, promotions, drop shipping of merchandise, yadda yadda yadda.
What the above phrase doesn’t tell you is that not all passions or dreams need to be monetized. Imagine taking this very thing you love, this passion that centers you, de-stresses you, focuses your energy into something positive…and turning it into a full-time job.
Eff all of that mess, at the end of my shift I’m just gonna grab my hula-hoop* and go to the park.
*and no, I don’t hula-hoop, so stop offering to pay me for shows or classes.