Can You Be an Entrepreneur and Have a Career?

by | Jan 6, 2015 | 0 comments

Last year brought a lot of changes for us.  One of the most significant was Tom leaving his day job, which he had worked at for nearly 8 years.

People are often surprised when they find out that Tom still has a day job, often saying something along the lines of “But I thought you guys were entrepreneurs, why was Tom working a job and now taking another job?”  This blog will dive in and explain, as well as hopefully giving others some ideas for themselves, even if they are still working a job but have dreams beyond that.

Earlier in the year Tom shared 2 posts –

My Goal After College – “Retire” Within 15 Years

and

 Halfway There – How Am I Doing on Retiring?

retiring-young-update

 

These 2 posts explain one of our goals, which is to retire from working for someone else by the time we are both 36.  The first post explains the goal, while the second is a progress report when we passed the halfway point.  In yet another post, this one for the real estate investing website BiggerPockets, Tom explained 8 Reasons Why Having A Day Job And Investing In Real Estate Is Awesome!  This has been one of the cornerstones of our early retirement strategy.  Instead of putting all our eggs in one basket, both quitting our jobs and going full force into our businesses, we have decided to take a little bit of a slow and steady approach.  This approach has lead to myself first “retiring”, staying home to focus on the businesses, as well as to be able to raise our 2 year old daughter Elena.  This also means that Tom will continue to work a job for a few years, which provides the following 8 benefits described in his post:

  1. Easier Access to Funds
  2. Money to Live On
  3. Learning
  4. Free/Reduced Education
  5. Provides a Buffer
  6. Forces Creations of Systems
  7. Free Money
  8. Health Insurance Plans

Maybe it isn’t as sexy as quitting our jobs and going for broke, but being parents and wanting a secure life and future, it is the one that works for us.  And that is what being entreprenewlyweds is all about, working together to figure out how to create the lives that you want for yourselves.  Below are themes that we continuously come back to to help balance and guide us on this journey.

#1: Define Your Goals

Tom and I are big believers in defining what we want our lives to be like on a consistent basis.  I have to admit, I was very skeptical when we first started this journey, as you can read about in My (Failed) Plan to Buy a DuplexHow I Felt When Tom Spent $7,500 on a Credit Card for Real Estate “Training” and Mrs. Trump or: How I Got My Wife Past the Fear and Loving Real Estate.  The thought of buying real estate and using that to replace our jobs seemed very risky, and it wasn’t until we sat down to define what we wanted out lives to look like that I started to see how it could be a piece of the puzzle to achieve the lives that we wanted.

#2: Refine and Adapt Based on Reality

Goals are great, but like they always say, “Two things are certain in life; death and taxes”.  Change always happens.  We grow as individuals, priorities shift and the world changes.  The goals and what was important last year or 5 years ago is not likely to stay exactly the same.  This means that you have to have a target, but that target may shift or change along the way, but each thing that you do should ultimately help you get closer to the target.

When Tom left his job of 8 years and took a new position, this concept was the driver behind it.  Originally he was planning to stay at this single job until we could build the businesses up to support both of us, but things shifted and change and we had to adapt.

What Will Your Path Be?

Every couple is different.  Some will jump right into being entrepreneurs right away, such as taking over a family business.  Others will allow one partner to be an entrepreneur while the other works a job, and some might have to both start working a job and work towards the previous methods.  We can’t tell you which scenario is right for you, but it is important to define and adapt your goals to help guide you.
We are very interested in hearing from other entrepreneurs.  Which path above did you choose and why?