Monday, November 12, 2007

Business vs. employment

It'll be a busy week for Eugene this week as he's making day trips to a few places for work. Yes, DAY trips. So he left before the sun came up this morning to catch the first flight to Kuching and will be back on the last flight tonight.

In the middle of the week, it's probably Penang followed by Miri....

As an employee, your time is dictated by your employer. I experienced that too countless times in the 14 years I had worked in the corporate arena. As much as how some visionary employers try to provide flexi hours, nice work stations, staff lounge areas, even free or subsidised food and entertainment, etc, you still have deadlines, targets, quotas, KPIs to meet. And at the end, you often feel that despite all the effort and maybe even stellar performance, your rewards do not commensurate with the sacrifices you have made.

But what's sadder is the time, opportunities and special moments you had lost and missed in your personal and family life because you had to work.

I don't want to go in-depth to discuss this issue but in my simple mind, I think it's better to be a business owner. You still have targets, deadlines, KPIs to meet but they are yours to set and the rewards you reap are yours to keep, totally all of it.

Why didn't I learn this when I was young and wondering what to do when I grow up? I was only taught to gain as much knowledge as possible to get a good paper qualification, to get a good job (with an employer,)a good salary and finally to get what is defined as a 'good' life. Is life good when you have to work 12 hours a day, get stuck in traffic jams two to three hours a day, be away from your loved ones for at least that amount of time if you don't travel overseas for work, and at the end of the month have enough to pay all your bills and probably save a little for your children's future and rainy days? We tend to settle for just that and accept our lot. And I'm not even talking about the materialistic aspects of life.

So what is a good business to own if you lack capital, if you are an 'ordinary' person? And if you wish to be master of your time and money? Even some business people or professionals are slaves to their business as they have to put in all their time personally themselves all their lives to make it successful. A doctor who starts his own practice has to open his clinic and be there. Otherwise, no patients = no income; unless you've made it and can employ a team of doctors to work for you!

A good business is one where you don't need huge capital and yet get good returns from all the blood, sweat and tears you put in, and eventually over time, it can run on its own and give you freedom. It means still getting paid when you have stopped working and having all the time in the world to spend with your loved ones and pursue your personal interests. Doesn't that sound good? I know of one. Do you know of any?

p.s. Didn't Thomas Alva Edison say "Genious is one per cent inspiration, 99 per cent perspiration"?

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