When I was young, I dreamed of having a job that would provide me with financial abundance. But my siblings laughed at my idea, saying that I needed to have a specific dream job first before thinking about wealth. But my dream was simple: I wanted to have an abundance of money. It wasn’t about a particular career or industry; it was about the freedom and opportunities that financial abundance could provide. For me, financial abundance was the ultimate job, the pinnacle of success. If you grew up in an environment where owning a car was considered a luxury, you might not care about what it takes to get a car. All you would want is to have a car, and that would be your dream.
When I started emerging fuller into life, I realised, of course, that wealth building can be achieved in two ways: through entrepreneurship and working full-time or other means. As a boy who simply wanted to buy a car and attain financial freedom and wealth, it became a crisis when I had to think of what to do to create this wealth and whether or not I should be an entrepreneur or pursue a career. I have read several opinions arguing for or against the two concepts. Some believe that entrepreneurship is the only way to attain a particular kind of financial freedom while others believe that the years it takes for an entrepreneur to grow equal the same years one builds their career.
Here is what I think
One of the most significant advantages of full-time employment is the perceived stability it provides. Traditional jobs typically come with a fixed salary, benefits, and a clear career progression path. Employees can rely on a steady income stream, health insurance, and retirement benefits, which offer a sense of financial security. Moreover, the stability of a full-time job can provide a safety net during economic downturns and assure workers that they have a consistent source of income regardless of market fluctuations. (Until you get laid off.)
However, the stability of full-time employment is timed and predicted. Salaries are paid once every month and that might make the pace of financial growth slow. For instance, if you secure an entry-level job, it’d require years of smart and hard work to attain the highest level in the industry. But a hack that has worked over the years, I believe, is that if you are smart enough in an industry, it might not take that long to get to the top, especially when you understand how to move around in an office job.
On the other hand, entrepreneurship is what I’d say is synonymous with risk-taking. Starting a business requires a significant investment of time, energy, capital, and zero success guarantee. Most entrepreneurs are quick to mention successful business owners but neglect millions of people who launched but failed just as fast as they launched.
However, the potential rewards can be immense. Successful entrepreneurs can create substantial wealth through the growth of their ventures. The ability to scale a business and tap into various revenue streams offers a level of financial upside rarely achievable through conventional employment. Currently, one of the most popular pieces of advice is to have multiple sources of income and you can enjoy that kind of flexibility when you are an entrepreneur. A full-time worker, before thinking of where else to source money, would first think of how to be successful in the office. If your business idea is brilliant and matches market and audience value, then you have an upper edge of becoming more wealthy than a full-time worker.
But it doesn’t take away the fact that entrepreneurs face uncertainties such as market fluctuations, competition, and the need to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. This dynamic environment can be financially rewarding for those who succeed but poses a threat to those unable to weather the storm. There is no particular balance.
Wealth and fulfilment
I think the pursuit of wealth is determined by our level of fulfilment. For instance, although it has changed, owning a luxurious car defined wealth to me. I used to believe that once I could safely drive a very fine and luxurious car, I have become wealthy. And some people have attained this through either their full-time or entrepreneurship.
It is not solely about monetary gain; it also involves personal fulfilment and lifestyle choices. Full-time employment may provide a sense of stability and routine, allowing people to achieve a work-life balance. For those who prioritise job security and a predictable daily routine, traditional employment may be the preferred choice. But entrepreneurship often demands a higher level of commitment and dedication. Entrepreneurs may find themselves working long hours, facing stress, and taking on multiple roles within their businesses. The lifestyle associated with entrepreneurship can be challenging, yet for those who thrive on autonomy and the excitement of building something from the ground up, the potential rewards extend beyond financial gain.
Employing Layi Wasabi‘s logic, entrepreneurs don’t only work to create money, they also create value working. If you build a company and employ people, in the immediate environment, you’re very valuable to your employees. This is not absolute to entrepreneurs alone because full-time workers also work to create values but it doesn’t take away the fact that they are dismissible.
I believe there is no definite answer to whether entrepreneurship or full-time jobs guarantee wealth. There’s no one-size-fits-all. Both paths offer distinct advantages and challenges, and the choice ultimately depends on individual priorities and aspirations.
But there is something glorious about life: you have the time to test the waters and see what works for you. You can work full-time for a year or two to earn capital and start a business. If the business fails, I hope not, then you’d have your career to turn back to. Life, they say, is full of trial and error. I found this quote from Jackson Brown Jr. summarising the discourse: “The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for someone else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual.”
As for me, I have decided to satisfyingly create my wealth through my 9-5 for now. I don’t know what the future holds but the wealth must be built, in any legal way possible.