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Wait, Am I An "Unemployable"? A Founder's Problem

(Source: http://blogs.transparent.com/english/files/2013/10/odd_one_out.jpg)
Recently, I was described by an entrepreneur as “unemployable”. Hmm, well, since I was talking about potentially joining/ helping his startup, this could go a couple ways, but none sounded very assuring.

He quickly drew the comparison of him and me. Can’t be that bad, right, if he’s comparing the two of us?

But then again, I knew what he was referring to when he used the term. I just hadn’t heard the term before. Since Body Boss, I kept contemplating the role I wanted to pursue, and where/ how could I best help a company if I were to join vs. founding another startup of my own.

One of the challenges of true entrepreneurs – those looking to hop back on the startup grind even after failure – is finding that Next Move… finding the next home. Michael Tavani, co-founder of ScoutMob and now launching a design-focused incubator (simplistically) called Switchyards inATL, said it best: “Founders gotta found.”

The idea is that some entrepreneurs can be the idea guy, or can be the guy who really wants to start companies. It’s risky to hire these type of people because at any moment, they can strike some idea and run off to try to build it. I get that. I mean, that happens to me every other day it seems. Building Body Boss, I kept my spreadsheet of new ideas, and I never really pursued any. But when I was working as a consultant before for someone else or even with another startup, yeah, I get the urge to build something great… something that I can really own and say, “I built that… I founded that”.

Of course, that comes with a price.

The price… or maybe the question is whether I can be a valuable contributor and committed to another cause. Can I be a team player, too? Can I be proud of helping to build someone else’s company? Fair questions, and I believe I can be all of the above.

No job is permanent, and with that, there are opportunities to learn and grow in just about any position. And of course, like I said last week, there is a “mortality” of being an entrepreneur and that coincides with my ability to keep my life sustainable amid that savings account. Building companies with little to no income can definitely be hard, so biting the bullet to be employable is perhaps a necessary step.

Hiring these “unemployables” can be hugely rewarding. Not just for their ability to think outside the box, but in general, they can keep a company continually building, continually inspiring others for greater. Just take a gander at Bloomberg Businessweek’s article “Need Innovation? Hire an Entrepreneur”.

To the entrepreneur’s point at the beginning of this post about the risk inherent to the unemployables, the hardest part is holding onto these entrepreneurs. They seek challenges and ways to continually promote their dynamism. For me, I know I work best when I really own several processes, not just one. I love doing just about anything and everything outside hardcore programming and okay, maybe some of that accounting/ finance, too.


Being unemployable isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could be a great thing to know, and a way to challenge yourself to be employable, Yes, even if that means taking some time off your dreams in hopes of taking a couple years of more incubation and learning to then eventually reach those dreams. 

What are your thoughts on your employability? How do you fancy yourself to be team member? How can founding entrepreneurs fit into other startups after failure, and be kept motivated to continue as part of the new endeavor?

Comments

  1. Another good post Daryl. It allows you to continue learn and do things that you didn't necessarily found. And because as entrepreneur you want to build, you are still able to help build a company in maybe an area you were not at first familiar with. So what this may do is inspire even better ideas for you to eventually found whenever you are ready. Athletes can't take too much time off, their skills can diminish and may miss new techniques. And entrepreneurs have to continue in the game too which you could you equate this to pick up games in the offseason.

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