5 Dangers Young Entrepreneurs With A Job Should Avoid

The following guest post is from Chris Parsons. Chris has been a perennial achiever of traditional expectations his whole life, until he decided that just wasn’t enough. At the age of 25 he started on his entrepreneurial journey, which he blogs about at Small Biz Big Dreams.

Frugal Dad recently had a guest post by MD on Why Young Entrepreneurs Should Hold Down a Job After College. This is the route that I took and so today I’m here to warn you of the dangers of this approach.

I have known that I wanted to be an Entrepreneur since my Freshman year of college, but I always saw myself getting a “real job” for a while first (because that’s what people expected, I suppose). And so after graduating I took a job with a Fortune 1,000 company in my home town.

Little by little, my Entrepreneurial spirit was worn down while working in Corporate America. When I visualized my future, I could see myself climbing the corporate latter to success. I no longer visualized myself starting my own company. After three years of this, I remembered what I had once known, and my passion for Entrepreneurship was re-ignited. What caused this change in me? Was it boredom? Frustration?

I am not sure exactly why I came back around to my small business dreams. I think it was the realization that I wanted more out of life. Whatever it was, it hit me hard. Within three months, I launched a blog, bought an e-commerce site, and helped my wife launch a business.

Whether you take a “real job” after college is a personal decision, but if you do decide to go that route, there are certain dangers that you should guard against.

Five Dangers Young Entrepreneurs with a Job should Avoid:

1. Believing that your performance on the job has any effect on your ability as an Entrepreneur.

Whether you thrive or fail, how you perform at your job is mostly irrelevant to your ability to run a business. I personally thrived, which made me think I may be better suited for the Corporate World. Others fail, which can either destroy confidence or “force the hand”. Some believe that if they can’t excel in the corporate world, they can’t cut it as Entrepreneurs, and others to believe that because they didn’t succeed that they should be Entrepreneurs.

Ultimately, whether you succeed or fail are based on a host of factors unique to the job. Consider the specifics: Did you hold yourself accountable? How did you do with managing others? Were you able to handle the administrative issues? These are the skills that will affect your ability to succeed as an Entrepreneur.

2. Forgetting what is most important (i.e. saving for starting a business).

One of the primary reasons that you took a J-O-B in the first place was to make money, right? So that you could afford to start that business you always wanted to, right? So then why did you move into a nice apartment and get a nice new car? Having a decent paying job can allow you to save up substantial cash for buying or starting a business, but only if you save it. Always keep your eye on the prize!

3. Letting your job drain all of your energy.

If you come home every evening miserable and exhausted, you won’t spend time working on that side project – whether it be a blog, freelancing, whatever. If you spend all of your free time trying to get ahead in the Corporate World, then you aren’t getting ahead with starting a business.

4. Contentment.

“The work isn’t that hard; the hours are reasonable; the pay is decent; Oh and don’t forget about the benefits! It is great to have affordable health insurance!” These are all things that I’ve said to defend my contentment with a 9-5 job. There’s a difference between being content and being satisfied. Being content is a justification for not achieving more.

5. Social Influence by your new Co-Workers.

Most people will never start a business – especially not ones deeply ingrained into the Corporate World. These new co-workers of yours will probably not understand why you save so much of your money or why you are busy working on side businesses in the evenings and weekends. They will want you to come out for drinks with them after work. They will want you to buy dump trucks full of whatever stuff their kids’ school is making them sell. It won’t be intentional, but they will try and derail your goals.

Be vigilant!


  1. Nail & Brett, glad you guys enjoyed the post. It sounds like you guys were in a bit of a different position than me. I actually enjoy my job, and it doesn’t take all of my energy. But, that almost makes it harder for me because it’s so easy to be content with it.

  2. Guys, I just realized that I have been using the word “contentment” to be a bad thing, but being content isn’t the problem – being satisfied is. If you follow the link to the difference between satisfaction and contention I explain it further there.

  3. Even though I was not of the *younger* set, I did get deeply entrenched in corporate America after having been an entrepreneur for years. It sucked the life out of me within 2 years. I finally came to my senses and stepped away from it.
    Young people look at the great paycheck and the stability (well, that USED to be a factor!) and don’t realize that they will probably grow to hate the things they love about their career eventually. Don’t forget your end goal, your focus!
    A break from our regularly scheduled programming…

  4. I had my first business at 7 y.o. and dozens of businesses in the last 35 years and I agree with you completely. When you’re an entrepreneur, you aren’t from the cookie cutter mold as other employees, you’re often not really even cut out to be an employee. Loved the post, wish I could have read this when I was 19. THANKS !

  5. Great points. You are so right about how people get so institutionalized within their work environment and can only envision being successful within that single, static environment when indeed, one of the most important forms of economic diversification is being able to earn income from different places, not depending on solely being successful within one job.

  6. JOB means ….Just Over Broke. When you have a JOB your not in control. That’s why I quit mine and started my own business. If you have the discipline to be a good employee then you can work for yourself.

  7. So, so true – hit the nail on the head with #4! I just walked away from a well-paying job where I was entirely too comfortable and bored out of my mind.

  8. Hey Chris, just wanted to say that this is an excellent counter-point to my original piece. As I mentioned there’s two sides and I wanted to present a different out look.

    The idea that one can lose track of entrepreneurial goals and feel drained are actually a harsh reality. I’m seeing a few of my friends fall into this trap. It seems like they’re in a walking daze now. Their visions of starting a business are extremely clouded with the stress of driving an hour to work in the snow.

  9. MD, glad you enjoyed the counter-point. I had really enjoyed your article, but I wanted to make sure that some of these dangers got pointed out to people so that they could see the whole picture.

    Ultimately I think it comes down to money… If you are in a situation where you have to start making money immediately, get a job. Otherwise, I’d generally recommend trying to start a business first because it’s so easy to fall into the trap that some of your friends are in.

  10. I still want to start my own business, but I currently can’t really do a whole lot until I have other financial stuff taken cared off, which I have made great strides at. This does mean I been having to do what ever it takes to get past those issues and move on. That’s just one reason why I have the goal, 25% of “Actual Gross Earned Income” must go to countable savings. Hopefully, within the next 10 years, I will have these financial stuff taken cared off. However, I do need the help of the wife once that last child is in full time school, so as she can also work during the day. If that happens, then we can speed that process up a lot. Of course, that won’t happen for another 1.5 years. If she does go back to work and work full time after that, then we can see about cutting it down to maybe within the next 4 years to get into a much better position.