Entrepreneur Versus NonEntrepreneur

Entrepreneur Versus NonEntrepreneur


Recently, I was out with a bunch of old friends having a feed, reminiscing and talking about old times. Then the accusation and great conflict came up, that I was a workaholic who would never retire.

It was said with some intent on the basis that there’s something wrong with the way I live my life. Anyway, as I approach very quickly the ripe old age of 61, those comments caused me to reflect on my take on all of this.

You see what I was actually confronted with was the non-entrepreneurial civilian bias that most entrepreneurs will need to deal with at some point of time.

The accusation is you’re a workaholic and you pay a price in choosing to be one. Entrepreneurs are also accused of being wide-eyed risk takers that have lost their mind.

I would argue, business is risky but there’s no need to be fool hardy. After all, like anything in life, there’s no straight line to success in business either. There will be ups and downs.

That said, I always consider the best case scenario and the worst case scenario. Wise counsel I believe.

Another accusation is the price of entrepreneurial success is too high a price to pay. I agree. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. That said, other non-entrepreneurial employees pay a price too.

Like working for a boss or crowd they hate, doing a job they hate year in year out and often complaining about it but doing little or nothing about it. Being told what to do and when to do it and being hauled over the coals if you get it wrong.

Heck sometimes, the boss is the tosser. Either way, the employee pays a price just as the entrepreneur does.

Sure the entrepreneur can’t go home on time when there is a deadline. When my wife was dying of ovarian cancer, I didn’t get compassionate leave. Employees do or can.

Bottom-line, my clients really don’t care if I’m terminal and nor should they. What they should care about is the results I’m being paid to deliver.

Sure I know what you’re thinking. I could afford the enormous costs of my wife’s alternative treatments and that was because I was a successful entrepreneur.

In the business sense, I like to call it “blurring the line”. You see, it’s not work for me. Work and play is the same thing. Richard Branson said “I don’t think of work as work or play as play. It’s all living.” And I agree with him.

Truth be told, I think entrepreneurs are saner and happier than their critics. However, the entrepreneur must be thick skinned towards the criticism they are bound to get from non-entrepreneurs.

All the Best,

If you would like to have my blog emailed to you directly, then simply fill in your details below and hit "Submit"

Have something interesting to say? Click on the button below and tell us what you think...

  1. I think some people look down on entrepreneurs but the world couldn’t survive without them. I mean we can’t all be employees, someone has to be an employer. The thought of governments being the only employer is a bit scary. I think the Baby Boomers were the greatest generation of entrepreneurs ever. I’m worried that later generations don’t have that same spirit.

  2. Spot on Mal… You do need thick skin if you’re an entrepreneur. Sometimes it seems the whole world is against you… it’s as if they are hoping you fail so that you can go join them in the ‘normal’ world.

    It certainly has been and will probably continue to be a roller coaster ride. This life isn’t for everyone but if you can make it work, it’s worth it!

  3. Hi Mal, I understand exactly what you are saying.Live everyday for your life purpose, Entrepreneurs are different and a cut way above the non doers- It take balls and critisism to achieve greatness in a chosen field. Go for it, keep living the life of your dreams. The critics all have the same oportunity but first fail in their minds where entrepreneurs sees the same oportunities and breaks through their limiting beliefs.

  4. In 2009 I set up a new building company to incorporate my son into a business together. He turned 30 yesterday and the week before I turned 67. I still go out on the tools with him and do lots of paper work, but I could not find words to describe the fun and enjoyment I have in working with him, in fact its a privilege. Any one who knows the building game, the hardships, the hassles etc, but the joys of actually creating something out of bits of materials may not unstand the very point of living a useful life. How could I after over 30 years of earning my own living work for a boss?

  5. Mr Branson likely works over a 3 hour lunch in a Michelin restaurant devising strategies to decrease staff costs and increase productivity. If he were assembling iPads 16 hours a day he may more easily discern the difference between work and play and he might jump out of the factory windows to the waiting nets below.

  6. Hi Mal,

    I think the difference is an entrepreneur chooses how to live their life with passion. Whether it’s classed as work or play it’s what you enjoy doing! People who have never experienced this and live their life how they feel they “have to” clearly have no idea of an entrepreneurs lifestyle and choices. Call it how they like but clearly you live your life with passion and that is something we all want! Unfortunately there will always be someone out there who feels the need to bring a more successful person down to their level. To me it means they either don’t understand or are envious! Human nature perhaps.


  8. Nicely said Mal,

    Finally someone who says it with smarts. I shall bookmark this post for the next round of attack from a “well-meaning” non-entrepreneurial acquaintance.

    For me through, the worst critics are not friends or people who think you’re involved into something weird; it’s the family members who accuse you of being part of some multi-level cult (no kidding). I’m still laughing – although with one eye crying about the sheer ignorance of trying to understand what I do to live according to my rules.

  9. Couldn’t agree more Mal. Often there is a hint of one of the 7 deadly sins involved too(envy)? Unless you are retired on a good independent income, almost everyone is at the beck and call of someone. It is the entrepreneur though who decides who that someone is, unlike the employee.

  10. About three years ago you did some sort of closing down I’m now going to retire, its our last chance to buy or attend etc , email to your data base , hmmmm doesn’t quite concur with this email ?

  11. Hello Mal Emery, how are you going? 🙂 Everything you said is so true!! 😀 I read recently that entrepreneurs would rather be educated than entertained, and the non entrepreneurs would rather be entertained than educated. The non entrepreneurs say that we waste our time studying and working, and then they go and waste their time drinking, partying and watching fiction movies about people bashing each other for fun. They say we worry about silly things like making money to help poor people, and then they spend their time wondering what Kim Kardashian will wear to the logies. They say we are being too risky for starting a business, and then they worry that they will lose their job because having a job is riskier than anything!. They shout if we spend a hundred bucks on a book, then they spend $300 on a dress for a night out. They say we spend too much on our education, to which we can reply which the old classic “if you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance”. I don’t understand it! They say men are from venus and women are from mars, I’d say it’s the same with entrepreneurs vs non entrepreneurs!

  12. Hi All,

    Thank you all for your great comments and support.

    To answer Stephen, things change don’t they? There was a time before my wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer that retirement was on the cards and seen to be approaching.

    After my wife passed, I got the fire back in my belly to continue on. The main reason for that was Ian Marsh became my partner and ran the company which allowed me to do only the things I wanted to do and that’s the way it is to this day.

    So in a sense, I did retire from doing the aspects of business, that I’ve done all my life, that I no longer wish to do.

    All that said, complete retirement from doing anything is not something that appeals to me.

    Hope this clarifies everything.

    All the Best,

  13. I had an opportunity about 35 years ago to get involved with you Mal, in the Mail Order business. For various reasons I lacked enough of what it takes to do it then, and even today I am still sitting on my hands. I am burned out with my current job, but successfully moving sideways into a retirement stream of my own making.

    Anyway – I want to say that what you are saying resonates well with me – if you love what you do, retirement has arrived early! You will just continue to do what you love – and the cliche “your vocation is your vacation” will be true.

    In time I might market what I do, but seriously need to believe that more money could be made from it by sharing. I am not a bubbly socialite, who can convince thousands that what I do is what they need.

    Yet what I have learned to do to ditch my old j-o-b could be done by anyone.

    What I am saying is that even though one can be successful, one need not become an entrepreneur.

    I remain a long-time admirer of yours, but not because of your entrepreneurialism. It is because of your integrity. I will never forget how your intervention saved me $5,000 a few years ago. The story needs to be told, and mentioning it here is just one small way to again say thank you.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *