Another Pivot

career-change-blogIts been weeks since I last wrote. So much has transpired that this proper update is due. I will start by saying my sabbatical is finished. My commitments to learn Chinese, develop a big data community, volunteer for Open Data Hong Kong, write, and ponder my next move met with mixed success. As evidenced by the lack of activity on this blog, my writing commitment to writing flagged towards the end. But the other projects generally went well.

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Worker BeeI really want to try my hand at running my own company.  Perhaps a dozen times in the last 20 years I have realized an idea that could drive a successful business.  In the past few months of this sabbatical almost half as many ideas presented themselves in discussions with friends or alone on my patio with a beer in my hand.  But I have not (yet) brought these ideas to fruition.  I am stranded on the wrong side of a chasm between people that work for someone else and people that are self-employed.  I am a worker bee.

Thinking about starting a business I have had time to reflect on the relative merits of business ownership versus corporate employment.  On this subject my friend Stuart recommended to me Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quandrant at my sabbatical’s start.  Kiyosaki’s book separates income earners into four quadrants: those that work for someone else, those that own and run a business, those that own a business someone else runs for them, and those that invest.  These last two he recommends for high return with minimum effort.  But success in them requires some experience business fundamentals.  That experience usually comes from running the business.

People want to run a business because of the perceived freedom.  And most people would agree that being your own boss could provide a type of freedom that working for a large company never will.  However, Kiyosaki points out that the specific goal should be financial freedom.  Indeed, people that own and run a business are just as likely as employees to be a slave to long hours an short deadlines.  So, before charging into a business to develop myself personally and professionally, it is worth considering the relative merits of being a large company’s employee versus a small business owner.

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