millennial boss

Be Your Own Boss: The Reality

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“Be your own boss.” Ah, that phrase is too often casually thrown around. To many people, that sure sounds like living the dream; having a whole lot of fun doing what you love without having to answer to anyone else is surely a goal we should all be striving to achieve, right? Wrong. Not if we’re not wired for the daily grind that ensues or we don't possess the necessary work ethic to survive the invariable challenges, especially in the startup phase of our business. The reality for most self-employed people who consider themselves their own boss is far from the utopian perception those four words appear to convey. As of matter of fact, most people who go that route end up failing and inevitably settle for finding a new boss.

Starting a company of your own is arguably one of the most difficult things you can do. It is daunting and once you do become your own so-called boss, the actual experience can be maddening. The reality is, the moment you choose to forfeit employment for entrepreneurship, you immediately go from comfort to discomfort, security to insecurity, and certainty to uncertainty. Your pay is no longer guaranteed as you are neither salaried nor hourly, paid bi-monthly or monthly. On the contrary, you work round the clock, are always open for business, and always stressed about your business. Even if you have seed funding or a business loan to start, you are still likely to face myriad challenges along the journey. Moreover, the risks are magnified when they are all yours to bear, and the sleepless nights begin since profits and losses are yours and only yours to contend with. 

In this work environment, you can no longer afford to go through the motions, to stretch every minute of that 30-minute or hour-long lunch break, to watch the clock tick until 5 pm so you can go home. No, as your own boss, you are always in motion, you don’t know what a lunch break is, your time literally becomes your money, and you never truly get to go home. Regardless of the nature of your business, it goes without saying that you will need to acquire (paying) customers or clients to stay afloat, generate revenues, capture your ROI per the timeline set in your business plan, and enter a profitable phase, let alone growth phase. Just how much work do you think that takes for one man or woman? Eight hours a day? Please...

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Let’s be clear, the merits of being your own boss are well documented and its reward is a fulfilling lifestyle worth pursuing. However, if you attempt to become an entrepreneur while holding on to an employee mindset, you will fail, almost immediately. With such an ordinary work ethic, you are unlikely to attain the independence or the time and financial freedom often associated with being your own boss. One of the most popular definitions of entrepreneurship I hear thrown around today is, “Entrepreneurship is doing what others are unwilling to do for a while so that you can afford to live how others can’t for the rest of your life.” 

Well, there’s no time like the present; if you do aspire to be able to live how others can’t tomorrow, you’d better be able to work like others don’t today, and every day until that tomorrow dawns. And even when that day comes when you can finally afford to live and work freely and independently of any boss because your business is growing and thriving and you’ve achieved your financial goals, the grind doesn’t stop because the uncertainties in the marketplace persist as does your competition. As a matter of fact, it is then you will need even more mettle and a near-obsessive work ethic because the only thing harder than becoming successful is staying successful. Godspeed. 

Yours truly,

Kenny, Chief Wordsmith

Musings of a Misunderstood Millennial

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Every time I hear people state so emphatically, "Millennials are such a lazy and entitled bunch," I literally pause and play back my academic and professional career to date in my head--from studying hard in high school to earn a much-needed partial scholarship to the University of Houston because I knew my fellow immigrant parents couldn't pay for my college education; to running for SGA President while in undergrad and struggling to balance those immense responsibilities of governing as a student and keeping my GPA from declining; to pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc while pursuing the former endeavor; to fulfilling 1,700 hours of community service in DC public schools as a tutor, mentor and role model for inner city schoolchildren immediately after graduation; to working an entry-level job for two years all the while pursuing network marketing business opportunities part-time to earn extra income and help fulfill my family's dreams of attaining that elusive American Dream; to publishing multiple books in pursuit of that same goal; to daring to travel to the ends of the earth to pursue a global MBA and develop myself professionally and personally--and honestly, I'm insulted and offended by the hasty generalization and presumptuous condescension of that insinuation about my generation.

My point is not to bare my resume on social media because I know many of my peers who've also achieved much in their own right and some who've achieved even much more than me in their relatively young tenure on earth while facing and overcoming adversity. My point is to iterate that everyone--regardless of their generation--experiences their fair share of hardships while navigating varying economic conditions and societal and cultural realities. So, it's grossly unfair to be labeled one way or another, or for your intelligence, capabilities, successes, and contributions to the world to be disparaged, belittled or disrespected simply because people hold you only to the standard of their own (generational) frame of reference.

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Ultimately, it takes a sincere attempt to understand the realities that shape frames of reference that differ from our own for us to cease and desist from fanning the flames of divisiveness with such prevalent myopic rhetoric as, "Millennials are (insert popular negative stereotype)." And that's precisely what I'd encourage members of the generations that have preceded us to do. In the same vein, as we millennials evolve, so, too will we have to challenge ourselves to acknowledge, understand and come to respect the different frame of reference the next generation will possess as they come of age so to speak. Remember, to be old is not necessarily to be wise, just as to be young is not necessarily to be dumb. 

In conclusion, Enrich My Brand is a digital marketing agency founded by a millennial, largely run by millennials, and with millennials as our primary target audience. We take great pride in this brand positioning because we recognize the sheer size, rapid growth rate, and increasing purchasing power of this demographic. We also recognize that while (relatively) young, our place in society and the opportunity before us to have a significant immediate impact on the world around us are legitimate. In my personal view, now more than ever, it is incumbent on millennials to step up like the generations before us and usher in a new wave of creativity and innovation so as to foster further societal growth and development in global business, entrepreneurship, leadership, and public policy. Godspeed, my friends.

Yours truly,

Kenny, Chief Wordsmith