Never Get A Real Job?…. Seriously?
Has anyone honestly ever told you to not get a “real job?” Probably not.
But that’s exactly what Scott Gerber recommends. Scott advises you to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke in his book “Never Get A Real Job.”
Scott Gerber is best known as the entrepreneurship stimulator. He owns multiple companies, he is a syndicated writer for all the big name entrepreneur publications, and his face has been on all the big cable news stations. You would probably think this was just another filthy rich senior entrepreneur with inspiring words of wisdoms. But you would be wrong.
Meet Mr. Scott Gerber, a young entrepreneur who by his own definition has been successful over and over and over again.
Please tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Scott Gerber. I am the CEO and founder of Sizzle It! a sizzle reel production company that produces promotional reels for PR marketing professionals, the founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, and the author of the new book Never Get a “Real” Job. I’m also an internationally syndicated columnist for outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and Inc.
Have you always been an entrepreneur or were you made into an entrepreneur?
I have always been an entrepreneur. I have always been outgoing in everything in my life, I’ve never led what would be considered a conventional lifestyle, I’ve never led a 9-to-5 lifestyle, and I’ve never had a real boss or held a real job! Despite all the trials and tribulations that come with the entrepreneurial lifestyle, I have always found a way to survive and thrive. I believe my failures and setbacks helped me along the way.
You mentioned your book, Never Get a “Real” Job. What was your idea behind the book?
When I was in college I started a business based on all the wrong principles and reasons. I was someone who let ego run everything. I tried to build a “billion dollar business” and tried to do a million things on my own But due to many mistakes, a lack of focus or core competency, incorrect assumptions, and everything in between, the company went bankrupt in a little over a year . I literally had only $700 left in the bank at the end of that venture. Sure, at that moment, I could have listened to my mother, who often said when are you going to get a “real” job? (she was from the generation that toted the “healthcare, security, and money” that a real job traditionally stands for.) But instead, I made a conscious decision to go my way again. I took that remaining money and put it all into a new, leaner, more focused company. Today, Sizzle It! has clients such as Proctor & Gamble. When I started up there was no guide, no manual, which told you how to start a business with real life experience and education from the perspective of a Gen Yer. I didn’t care about the everyday banker-speak, such as get a loan and those types of advice. So I decided I wanted to write that guide. I wanted to use my experience to help others. I wanted to help young people of any education, any skill set, and any economic level take control of their own minds by taking control of their own company. That is what Never Get a “Real” Job does: it teaches young people how to create their own job and overcome youth unemployment and underemployment.
You are considered a leader in the entrepreneurial community. How do you believe this came about?
About 2 1/2 years ago, I began writing a column for Entrepreneur called Never Get a “Real” Job and it took off from there. It appealed to international audiences. My readers have told me that they respect my writing because I tell it like it is. One of the comments I hear a lot is that I never make entrepreneurship seem “glorified”. I think that because I lived through debt, was forced to move back in with my parents, and struggled for a long while, people can relate. I know what it’s like is for other young business owners because I am one of them. I enjoy helping young people succeed and I’m trying to create the mentor that I wish I had had, by creating a circle of mentors through the Young Entrepreneur Council and other sources, so young people don’t have to face the same issues others faced yesterday.
Do you believe that everyone should have a mentor?
Absolutely. Mentorship is extremely important. Everyone needs to have someone who has failed, and succeeded, in their lives. The value of that is that practical education is going to help people succeed on a daily level.
What is the Young Entrepreneur Council?
The Young Entrepreneur Council is an advocacy group comprised of many of the world’s top Gen Y entrepreneurs. What the Council does is help young people overcome the devastating plague of underemployment and unemployment by teaching them practical tips, tricks, and insights on how to create their own businesses and create their own financial security. Young people can ask questions on NeverGetaRealJob.com (and will soon do so on YoungEntrepreneurCouncil.com) and we answer them and syndicate the answers to a wide variety of media partners.
*Tip – He is giving a free way chapter of his book. When you visit his site, just click “Get A Free Chapter” on the right!
As you mentioned, you are a contributor for Inc., Entrepreneur, and WSJ and have been on CNN and Fox Business Network and a host of media channels. How does it feel to be respected by your peers?
It is very rewarding to reach out to people using my own education and experience to help young people build their businesses. I can only hope to continue teaching young people how they can become entrepreneurs and take control of their own lives.
Does your age have a positive or negative effect on your business life?
I believe that when I started years ago, age was a very negative factor. At that point, nearly 10 years ago, people never thought a young person could build a business. Today, the world is being revolutionized on a daily basis by young people, and there is something to be said for that. We are the most technologically advanced generation ever, so we are on the cutting edge. Our youth gives us an advantage; we don’t feel bound by the rules our elders do and we are able to scale our lifestyles up and down more freely. The way I see it, being young allows us to do more things, and get into more doors, because we can be mentored. We never take no for an answer, we always find a way around things. But at the same time, age can also make us cocky and arrogant, and make us into individuals who are egotistical and pompous, pushing companies into the wrong direction, because we are in it for the wrong reasons. I think that when age is coupled perspective and rationality, is is a great weapon to have on your side.
You mentioned Sizzle It!, how many other companies do you own or have a stake in? What are they?
There are several. First there is Yearbook Innovation, which is a yearbook provider in digital and print. There is Gerber Enterprises, which is my personal entrepreneurial incubator. In 2011, we will be launching the Gen Y Fund. It recently appeared in The New York Times, and will be spearheaded by several members of the Young Entrepreneur Council. I also own stakes in other small business such as restaurants and bars.
Why do you promote entrepreneurship?
Frankly, I don‘t see another way forward for our country. Everybody always talk about jobs. But what they don’t talk about is where the jobs come from. The way forward is not just innovation, or buzz words, or politicians grandstanding. Rather, it’s about improving education and giving that education and resources to young people who can use it to move our nation forward. Entrepreneurship creates the jobs and economic growth. If we can help people push forward, and help them creating their own opportunities versus relying on others to provide them with traditional employment, we will be much better off in the future.
Do you believe that in the future, rather than being big corporations, there will be lots of small businesses and freelancers instead?
I believe that there will be shifts where experts and specialists in niche markets are going to create their own companies and take market share from the big companies. During the recession, there were lots of people who couldn’t find a job, or lost their jobs, and they had to learn to become self-sufficient. I think that we are going to see a shift where more people see they are capable of and take on entrepreneurship as a viable career path.
What three pieces of advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
Number one is Keep It Simple. Don’t try to revolutionize the wheel, or you are going to be run over by it. The second thing is don’t try to be original. Original businesses take a lot of money, and a lot of time—and often don’t work. The reality is that in this economy, you don’t have a lot of time to become profitable. Investors don’t want to put out a lot of money for something that they are going to have to wait 10 years to maybe see a return. Investors want to see an immediate return. Take on tried and true business models and be “original” in your branding and marketing—not in their business models. The third thing is kill your ego. A lot of young people have an idea that being an entrepreneur is about being rich by 30. That kind of thinking is incorrect and dangerous. Too many people don’t realize that first you need to make a living before you can even think about “making millions.” It’s a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Building a business should NEVER be about trying to hit it big—EVER!
Most would probably say that you are “successful.” What is your idea of success?
It has changed over the years. For me, it’s not a monetary value. I think that right now, if I can take my experience, and the experience of others, and help educate young people on how they can become the most entrepreneurial generation in history, then I will continue to be successful.
You mentioned past failures, how did you get over them?
I was never built for the “real” job. The thought of working for a boss did not do it for me. So at every turn, I used that as a motivation to think through problems and move my career forward no matter what.
What do you think makes a good entrepreneur?
There are definitely characteristics that help. Being an outgoing, energetic self-starting hustler who can sell and doesn’t take no for an answer definitely helps. But I do believe that anybody can become an entrepreneur. Everyone’s strengths can fill someone else’s weaknesses, which is why we are seeing more and more successful collaborations today.
What are some of your greatest fears?
For one thing, I am worried that Gen Y is on its way to becoming the lost generation. I believe that if we don’t start teaching from within, we’re headed for trouble.
What sacrifices have you made to be a successful entrepreneur?
I have learned that entrepreneurship does take a toll on your personal life. It takes its toll mentally and physically. It consumes you. I personally have had difficulties managing both my personal life and entrepreneurial life at the same time. If you are well rounded, you can manage it. If you have something to drive you, you can do it.
Who are some of your role models?
It was a true honor when Donna Fenn, the author of Upstarts!, asked me to be a co-blogger with her on Inc.com. She is a mentor of mine. I look up every day to people in my personal life. My parents, my girlfriend, and all the others who are supportive of my mission really encourage me in everyday life. In the business world, I really respect Seth Godin. His book Tribes was one of my inspirations for the Young Entrepreneur Council.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I get this question a lot. If I am happier than I was the day before, I am doing well. I think that if I plan so far out, my vision may cloud my judgment. Why try to plan long term when the plans can change any day? This is yet another reason I will never advise any entrepreneur starting out to write a traditional business plan—it’s all nonsense.
You say you know your short term goals, so can you tell us about your plans for the next year?
The main goals I have right now are to grow the Young Entrepreneur Council and help to create an educational and mentorship program that has never been seen before to help young people take on entrepreneurship.
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Don’t ever listen to someone who tells you “that’s the way it is.” There is never just one way to do anything. If we are to avoid becoming the lost generation, we must change the game and become leaders who strive to create real change. And that real change certainly does not mean trying to get a “real” job—it means creating your own and others along with it.
Connect with Scott Gerber
- Never Get a Real Job – The Book
- Website – http://www.nevergetarealjob.com
- Contact – http://www.nevergetarealjob.com/contact/
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/askgerber
- Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Never-Get-a-Real-Job/140987335931752?v=wall
- YouTube – http://youtube.com/scottdgerber
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