This post is dedicated to @HHComics. We had some very engaging conversations over the weekend over the last post I made. You should check the twitter feed and follow @HHComics. I really enjoy the work he does with the libraries and classroom on educating the public to comics.
In this post I wanted to address his comments and engage this conversation further–because people really are important and I don’t want to be misunderstood. You can also check out his comments on the previous post.
Here is one twitter comment:
@discipledeep Some work for others so they have the chance to fulfill a dream. There are two sides to the coin.
Let’s look at the two sides of the Coin to see if you will be being an entrepreneur, shall we?
BEING AN EMPLOYEE
A person working at a big company can get a regular salary. You want to work for a good company because they are more secure and the more money they make the better salary they can afford to pay you, and hopefully one day you may even get a raise. (I put this under pro because most people think of it as a pro. I think this really is a “con” which I’ll get to later. For the sake of argument I’ll try to fluff this up.)
You get the chance to learn or develop a trade or skill. More often than not you already have to have a skill before the employer will hire you, however, if you are determined there are other ways in. I was employed at a coloring house for 3 years, and I didn’t even know what a Lasso Tool in Photoshop was. They taught me everything I needed to know. I learned a trade and got better at it, so I can now take this coloring talent with me wherever I go, and I can use this talent for the end of time if I so desire. You would be surprised how good you can get at your craft when you can work on it for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 2 years. This is one of the things that makes the Kubert School so valuable. Anywhere else you are rarely in a classroom/production setting for 9 months having to produce artwork every single day. It trains you to consistently pump out artwork.
You get to share your talent with the employer. The employer shares his/her talent of making the job, and organizing the job with you. The business owner takes all the risk, so you can comfortably perform your creative duties and create. Marketers can market. Business owners can create the jobs. Everyone does their job, and we bring entertainment to the masses. The system is set up for you so you don’t have to worry about it. All you have to do is work and doing your good work. This sounds like a nice plan–and many creators do this whether in-house or free-lance.
Benefits. Some employers like to offer you health insurance, 401k, dental plans and a heap of other bonuses to say thank you for working for them. This tends to add to the “security” factor.
You are paid at what level of the company can afford to pay you. When the company can’t afford you anymore, they will have to lay you off, or have to cut your salary.
You are reliant on your employer to do their job, make the business decisions, and bring in the money so they can pay you. If they don’t, all your “security” from that job goes up in smoke. The security of an company especially in this day and age is an illusion. Anyone remember CrossGen? At the coloring house I worked for, we would get laid off every Christmas until new books came in in February.
You have to go to work. If you don’t work, you are fired. Many companies have a lot of deadlines you have to meet and you have to do whatever it takes to pull these deadlines off because some other part of the process broke down. When you don’t spend 40 hours a week behind a computer or a drawing table, the work doesn’t get done. You don’t get paid. You can’t keep your house, or get your weekly fruit slushy fix.
You may not be able to work in different areas you’d like to try. Someone may have a position that you want. You may not even get into the company you want.
You can get fired on a whim. If someone doesn’t like what you’ve done, or you are not a “good fit”, you can go find something else. A lot of creatively talented freelancers aren’t used anymore because the company went a different direction. The company has that right.
You have to follow proceedures of the company. No matter how old or innovative they are, if you are not up-to-date on your software with the company, they may not use you. If you have too new of software, that the company hasn’t upgraded to, they may not use you. Many policies are created to ensure the well being of the company and everyone who works there. Some you may not agree with and sometimes the proceedures actually limit innovation.
It is difficult to create your own products. The company has a direct market they are trying to hit. They are going to fund the products they want or what they think their customers want. Even if you come up with your own idea. The company ends up having the rights to it–unless you can negotiate a very good contract. Those cases are few and far between. (The pro side of this would be that it does keep you from creating products that probably don’t have a market.)
Summary of Being an Employee: I’m sure there are more pros and cons. but this is a good start for discussion. To sum up, the heads side of the Coin: This would be ideal if you wanted to exchange your FREEDOM for a paycheck to pay for your habits. You will never make more money than the employer. That is the way it is set up. The likelihood of your products matching the company you are working for is nill. The security they offer is an illusion. The positive side is you have given your life for the company or your boss and there really is no greater gift you could give anyone.
LET’S FLIP THE COIN
BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR
No income ceiling. You can make as much money as people are willing to give you. You can disburse it however you want to. No INCOME cap.
Time freedom. You can hire someone to run your company and you can go spend the day with your kids or vacation in Hawaii if you have a successful business.
Create your own products. You can make whatever it is you feel the market wants. You can put out your own products or publish other’s products at a profit for you.
You get to make the rules. You want to close on Sunday like Chik-Fil-A? You can. If you want to declare Friday as polka-dot shirt day, you can! If you can dream it, you can make it happen.
Responsibility falls on your shoulders. Your employees are counting on you. This is a lot of responsibility to know their future is in your hands. If your company goes out of business, so do all your employees that you’ve hired.
Failure is an option. You take the risks. It might never be sunny. You have a lot to lose if your investment goes south. If people suddenly don’t like what you have to offer.
You pay a lot of expenses. There is a lot of overhead for computers, shipping rates, electricity, water, phones, storage space, rent. If you’ve given all the benefits to employees, that comes out of your pocket. Plus not only do you pay your business taxes, but you also pay part of the taxes for just having employees.
Summary of Being An Entrepreneur: I’m sure there are more pros and cons. but this is a good start for discussion. To sum up, the tails side of the Coin: This would be ideal if you wanted to exchange your INVESTMENTS for a lottery ticket in hopes of winning it big someday. You may or may not make it make it in the business world, but at least you gave it shot. You tried. Maybe you’ll be successful, and you did your best not to fail. That is the way it is set up. This is the American Dream. We tried. We failed. We learned. One day we will make it.
Here is what I want you to take from this whole discussion. If you get caught in a This-or-That scenario, more than likely it is neither This-nor-That. Neither of these options makes any sense, do they? Stop admiring the Coin. I want you to invest that Coin in where it is going to make the most benefit to you–INVESTING IN YOURSELF or INVESTING IN SOMEONE ELSE.
When you invest your TIME, RESOURCES, and MONEY into LIFE, you always get back HUGE DIVIDENDS that last a lifetime. Let’s face it. We all want money. We all need money. In today’s era, we simply have to look outside the box for how we will be able to generate that money. In today’s era, we need to allow employees to be entrepreneurs. It saves the employer money. It unleases the creativity of the employee. (This is especially true in the creative arena. There is still debate in the production arena. Personally, I’d like to see the terms employer, employee and freelancer eradicated from the English language.)
Every creator has to be a marketer and they already are. When an employer hires someone, it is because that potential employee marketed themself on their resume. This is nothing new. Creators have always had to market themselves. Freelancers more so. They market themselves every time they apply for a job. The person that markets themself the best, will get the job. Whatever skill you possess, you should look at yourself as your own company. You are You, INC. Then no matter where you go, you will always bring with you your talents abilities, and investments you’ve made into your life.
So, since you are already marketing yourself, let’s take it to the next level. Publish yourself — then market yourself some more. Why do you want publishers to publish your work? So an audience with a raving fan base would love the publisher? No. You want the audience to love you, and you think the publisher can provide that feeling for you. Not only that, but the profits the book makes is dependent on the overhead of the publisher. Plus, the publisher has to take their cut. (I don’t like that terminology. It sounds so violent. Ahem.) You want to pay the publisher for their work because they have helped you out to “get published.”
IMAGINE: What if you could automate the job of a publisher? Then you wouldn’t need to pay anyone, you could do it yourself and it wouldn’t be that hard. What if you could–at the stoke of a button– send your product out to hundreds of thousands of people waiting to buy your product.
This is the only reason why you go with a publisher isn’t it? Because you think they can sell more copies than you can. Well, you’d be wrong. And it comes at a great price. Being an entrepreneur allows you to have freedom. Untapped income potential and the flexibility to take back your life.