big business

Changing the big business mindset

Work is something we have to do, regardless if it’s our life passion, or if it’s bridging the gap to our dream job. There is so much pressure from external forces, mainly societal expectations, that are creeping into our mainstream mindset. These expectations take the form of owning a business being the ultimate goal someone should aim for, and not to aim for this means to live a life of mediocrity, one without success. I talked about this a few weeks ago (Read here). But remember, a dream job is still a job. Money has to come in from somewhere to pay to bills.

But for those who do start their own business, there are untold pros and cons that only by starting a business you could ever discover. The risk you assume pays off in the satisfaction and monetary gain if you are successful or in any way making a decent living from working for yourself or starting a business. You call the shots. The thrill of being your own boss, you take the highs and the lows. When things go bad it can be unfortunate, but when things go good, and you feel your business building momentum, bringing in more customers, more inquiries, more exposure. Having something you can be proud of is one of the best feelings you can attain.

In the post a few weeks ago, I talked about this entrepreneurial pressure, and how it’s forced down our throats (newsfeeds). It can lead to a feeling of self-doubt, “Why haven’t I done that?”, “How has this 22-year old made €50 million from an app? why can’t that be me?” First of all, these are niche cases. How many people in the world do you think are in the same position? Not every 2nd person sitting next to you in your office is making millions from an app they created. And also, the media has a way of sensationalising batch cases, picking the most successful stories and running with them. They’re interesting, generate ad revenue for that media company and the people reading about them want to know how to get to that position, it’s a motivating factor.

But before you springboard to a new business, you will need to work for another business in order to pay bills, live your life, and then save up towards your business. A process that can take a number of years to achieve. Maybe you work for a small company, you’re paid averagely, you enjoy the work, you get to be your own person and make decisions that matter, you’re constantly learning, but you don’t get bonuses and it’s long hours. Or maybe you work for a big business, you’re not paid your worth, you don’t enjoy it, but you’re bonuses are incredible and you get the opportunity to take classes and courses to better your skill and benefit the company? What’s important when you’re starting a business is that you are always learning at any given opportunity. Put yourself in situations where you will be held responsible.

Find your motivating factor and live by it as close as possible.

Big business vs. your business

Rarely can a big business foster everyone’s best interests. There are too many people with varying roles with each their own varying needs and requirements. The business does the best for you, but in its grand gesture, is, in fact, a feeble effort. This is when the theory of average comes into play. When you play the game of ‘average’, no one wins. When something is created for everyone, it’s actually created for no one.

When you work for yourself, be it photography, videography, 3D modelling, animation, you are well versed in taking action and being intuitive about your work and what needs to be done to finish something, get it through deadline, start a new project, get new resources, tools, equipment, and all the things necessary for you to do your work. The point being; you know your problems. You know what’s needed to fix them and you know you can simply buy them to solve the problem. No one else in that business knows your problems, perhaps maybe your co-workers in your department, and even then they have different processes and needs than you. What about the software tools? “I use ‘x’ at home because it speeds up my workflow”.

There is always someone to go through, no matter what position you’re in, always an IT guy, always a budget guy, always a HR guy. Akin to pre-school, you will always need permission for everything. You will always be locked out of something, not knowing what’s going on in the larger scale. Things you don’t need to know. Besides, it’s not your role or responsibility to know. Not everyone can act like the business owner, even when you have your own business outside of this ‘big business’.

Be prepared to be locked out of crucial features. To request access to simple things, things that shouldn’t be an issue, but are. You need to build up a level of trust before you’re given the keys. A rapport takes years upon years to build up in a big business. Where are you willing to invest your time and effort? What do you really want to do in life, where do your priorities lie? Not to say that you don’t focus on the work at hand and do a great job when you are in your day job.

Of course there are considerations to think about when working for a big business vs. your own;

  • Commuting
  • Children
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Working hours
  • Boundaries
  • Getting paid
  • Income
  • Taxes
  • Benefits / Pensions
  • Risk / Autonomy
  • Holidays
  • Security

The list can go on, and each is worth a blog post in their own right. So think about where you want to be in 10 years, and how you are going to play the long-game mindset when working in your day job.

Big business isn’t against you. It’s simply set in its own ways.

How to break mediocre

The very best organisations seek to hire better than they are, to raise their ability and performance. It’s a risk in aiming to raise the average because businesses worry that it won’t be challenging for that new recruit or partner. That may cause frustration, then to underperform, lose money, and lead them to be lured away to a better business that challenges them and fosters their needs better that they ever could, because they realise the value in employing exceptionally skilled artists/designers/videographers (and even accountants/bankers/customer service execs).

If you work for a big business, be aware of these potential landfalls and becoming stuck and demotivated to continue pursuing your dream. Putting your passion aside in the evening because you have all this paperwork to fill out. Don’t let ‘big business mindset’ (a mindset that squeezes every last drop out of what it takes hold of) deflate your passion for what you truly want to do in your life. There is always one more pixel to push, one more spreadsheet to file, another account to document.

There is always more work to be done, make sure it’s the work you want to do.

Unfortunately, mediocrity is out of your hands. It’s something you can’t control unless you raise the average, challenge the business to do better for itself, implement new ideas, new strategies to training and growing its workforce’s skills. Besides, you run your own small business outside of your day job where you overlap the 2. A lot of the time ‘big business’ can do with a reality check from the hustle of a small business mindset. It’s up to you to challenge these views, challenge your co-workers and the department manager. Maintain a balance, keep and healthy mindset, be optimistic about change and helping others to change, but crucially, understand when your efforts fall on frugal ideals.

Find a day job that stops at the door in the evening, physically and mentally.

Realise when it’s time to ‘cut the cord’ on your efforts, and focus on your own passion and dream.