Stop Crying That There Are No Jobs. Create One.

Note from Paula: A HUGE thank you to all my readers who helped little ‘ol Afford Anything win the Plutus Award for Best New Personal Finance Blog this past weekend! This award belongs to you, my readers. Afford Anything is dedicated to you and it would be nothing without you. Cheers to you!
entrepreneur ideas
Last week I jetted to New Orleans for a journalism conference and then zoomed to Chicago for a blogger’s conference. After seeing these two groups back-to-back, I had a huge “A-Ha!” moment. I figured out why one group is beating the pants off the other.

You see, there’s incredible pessimism in journalism circles: everyone’s crying about the lack of jobs. And there’s enormous optimism in the blogger community: everyone’s celebrating the zillion ways to launch a career writing online.

But why? Why this difference in worldview, given that journalists are the BEST candidates for becoming paid writers (they’re professionally trained, for Pete’s sake!)

It’s overly simplistic — and wrong — to write off journalists as cynics or technophobes. There has to be a deeper explanation, and this week I think I found it.

Journalists see the world through the eyes of an employee. Bloggers see the world through the eyes of an entrepreneur.

I know, I’m generalizing. But in this next story I think you’ll see why.

The Employee Mindset

On my first day at the journalism conference in New Orleans, a man in his mid-50’s approached me. Our conversation went like this:

Me: What do you do?

Him: I’m a journalism professor, so I’m lucky — I have a job for life. But none of my students can find jobs. They’re bright, hardworking kids, but they’re stuck delivering pizzas.

Me: Oh. That’s a shame.

Him: It’s a real shame. The internet took away all the jobs. No one subscribes to the paper anymore.

Me: Hmmm.

Him: If Craigslist hadn’t destroyed all our classified ad revenue, it’d be a different story today.

Me: Hmmm. Different, yes.

Him: So what do you do?

Me: I’m self-employed. I’m a freelancer.

Him: Oh, I’m sorry. What do you want to do?

Me: Um, excuse me?

Him: Another shame. Talented professionals being forced to freelance because there are no jobs.

Okay, let’s pause for a second to read between the lines. Can you spot his worldview in his words? This man is terrified. He wants someone else to hand him a job — the more stable, the better. If no one can provide a steady job, he feels hopeless. He doesn’t know what else to do.

There’s nothing wrong with having a job. The problem is conceptualizing yourself as “stuck delivering pizzas” when no one else creates a job for you.

Having an “employee mindset” is different than being an employee. Loads of employees have entrepreneurial mentalities — and that’s precisely what makes them such great workers. They understand their bosses’ perspective.

They’re also happier at work. Their job satisfaction comes from their confidence that if they got laid off tomorrow, they could fend for themselves.

But this guy isn’t confident. He’s insecure — that’s why he wants job security so badly. He doesn’t believe in himself. He wants other people — smarter, richer, and probably better-looking people — to create a job and bestow it upon him.

You disempower yourself when you believe that someone else must create your job. This man’s words are a window into his demoralized worldview:

  • “The internet took away all the jobs.”
  • “being forced to (Do XYZ — deliver pizzas, freelance) because there are no jobs.”
  • “I’m lucky — I have a job for life.”

The internet took away all the jobs? Are you freakin’ serious? That shows a serious lack of imagination. If you love your job, that’s fantastic. But please, please, don’t ever sell yourself short by doubting your power to create your own job.

So when the man lamented that no one is hiring, here’s What I Should Have Said:

“I’m not forced to freelance because I can’t find work. I choose to freelance because that’s where the hottest opportunities are. I’m actually the rare journalist who wasn’t laid off — I voluntarily quit my newspaper job. I quit 8 months after I got a promotion and a $10,000 raise. Oh, and I loved my job. Loved my colleagues in the newsroom. Loved my boss. Quit anyway. Now I make more money AND have more free time than I did before.”

Of course, here’s What I Actually Said: Hmmm. (Smile. Nod.)

The Entrepreneur Mindset

bloggers have an entrepreneurial mindsetThe bloggers I met in Chicago highlighted the entrepreneurial mentality. They showed imagination. Not a single person there would ever utter the words “The internet took away all the jobs” or “I’m forced to deliver pizzas.”

Of course, a lot of bloggers have full-time day jobs. That’s not the point. The point is that they embody a grab-the-reins worldview. They’re not motivated by fear; they’re motivated by opportunity.

I delivered a one-hour speech at the New Orleans journalism conference about how to manage money without a steady paycheck. (I’ll post that talk on this site this week). At the end of my talk, I parted with these words of encouragement:

“Ignore the pessimists who say journalism is dead. It’s never been more alive.

Journalists are storytellers. Throughout history, people who have wanted to tell stories only had one option: work for someone else. He gets the profit; you get a paycheck.

Now, for the first time in history — thanks to the internet — we can take the reins. We’re not forced to climb the corporate ladder. We can build rungs underneath. We create a website and use it to fast-track our careers into book deals and speaking engagements. Or we can be like Rafat Ali, a journalist who launched the news website PaidContent in 2002 and sold it 6 years later for $30 million. He loves his work, so he continues to work there as an editor.

This is the first time in history that we have freedom and control. This is the first time in history we have the potential for a big payout. This is the BEST time in history to become a storyteller.”

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125 Responses to “Stop Crying That There Are No Jobs. Create One.”

  1. Kevin Mzansi
    03. Oct, 2011 at 5:11 pm #


    I was actually thinking about this the other day. The internet has really given mere individuals the opportunity to “punch above their weight”. One no longer needs a newspaper, for instance, behind you to get your words out there and start influencing people. You can now start with nothing and build a brand yourself using free publishing tools available to anyone. As you say, though – it’s all about the mindset: whether you are owned by the fear or by the lure of opportunity.

    Congratulations on the award!

      03. Oct, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

      @Kevin — Thank you! I love the internet; rather than hoping some editor will be impressed and add you to the bottom of his ranks, you can just put yourself online and let your own success (or failure) happen democratically. If people like you, they’ll read you. If they don’t, they won’t. Your success is in the hands of the people now, not the hands of just one person. I think that’s pretty amazing.

      • DanImports2
        03. Mar, 2012 at 1:00 am #

        Hi Paula I am very inspired by this blog post, I was wondering if there are websites that give a step by step guide on how to start a business and employ the right people..Thanks again..

          04. Mar, 2012 at 10:55 am #

          @DanImports2 — There are lots of books that teach about this. I wouldn’t look to just one website or book … I’d read a wide variety, so you get a bunch of different viewpoints. I’d also start meeting with local business owners in your area. is good for making these connections, as are professional associations.

  2. Ben Edwards
    03. Oct, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Hey Paula, it was awesome meeting you this weekend in Chicago. I think your content and your approach to life make the award well-deserved!

    I do think as people get older and settled in life it is tougher for them to adapt – “old dog, new tricks”.

    If you have a mortgage and are paying for three kids in college, I don’t blame someone for panicking and grasping on to their source of income.

    Then again, I think the reality of the next several generations is that we’ll have to become more flexible and adapt to the major changes going on in the U.S.

    Penelope Trunk wrote about this a while back, how Gen-Z is better prepared for it. I just published a kind of follow-up piece to her article today on Wisebread giving specific examples of ways you can get paid to learn.

    I think all of us will need to cultivate our inner entrepreneur more over the coming decades.

      03. Oct, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

      @Ben — It was great to meet you too!!

      I obviously admire all bloggers, but I have a special admiration for bloggers and other tech-preneurs over age 50 who embraced a technology that they didn’t grow up with. Flexibility and a willingness to change will ultimately get your further in life, even though it can be scary.

      My dad spent most of his life in the ultimate “secure” job — as a tenured professor. He quit when he turned 60. Everyone told him he was nuts. “Why would you quit? You’re tenured! You can never be forced to retire! All you have to do is roll in, teach a couple classes and collect a paycheck!” But he was bored. He wanted a new challenge. So at age 60, he mortgaged our primary residence and used the money to launch a company. It probably wasn’t the wisest move. I wouldn’t advise other 60-year-olds to do it. But fortunately, his gamble paid off. Now the company is 10 years old (yep, he’s 70) and employs 4 full-time and 1 part-time person.

  3. J. Money
    03. Oct, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    I know that shirt! It’s getting more famous than my blog! haha… rock on my friend, I nominated AND voted for you girl – big fan of yours :)

  4. retirebyforty
    03. Oct, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Great commentary! It’s a great time to be an online entrepreneur. The market is huge and it’s still growing. Too bad about the old journalism, but it has to evolve to stay relevant.

      03. Oct, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

      @retirebyforty — Thanks!! It absolutely must evolve to stay relevant … I hope journalists spend less time fighting the changes to the industry and more time embracing, learning and adopting the changes. They’re in the perfect position to rise to the top of the “new media” world.

  5. krantcents
    03. Oct, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    I think there are many more people like him than entrepreneurs out there. Maybe, that is good, it cuts out some of the competition. Living in Los Angles, I remember hearing that the entertainment industry was going to be decimated because of cable. Instead there are even more outlets for entertainment. People who are stuck in the past are afraid of change.

      03. Oct, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

      @KrantCents — Haha, “decimated because of cable.” I feel like we’re hearing that again now with the fusion between TV and the internet (direct streaming, etc.) I hope people stop fearing change and start embracing it!

  6. Briana @ 20 and Engaged
    03. Oct, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    First off, great meeting you at FINCON! Secondly, you’re absolutely right. I was just telling my mom this the other day. I’m done LOOKING for jobs; freelancing and becoming an entrepreneur is my job now. I’m tired of looking for opportunities that aren’t secure. The Internet is going to be helping me live the life I want to live. Congratulations on the award!

  7. Kris @ Everyday Tips
    03. Oct, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    Great point Amanda. One thing the conference taught me this weekend is that anything is possible. So many people recreated themselves after job loss. It is indeed a mindset. I will say though that it is easier for some people to create their own jobs than others. I live outside Detroit and there is a lot of desperation in the area, and some people just don’t have the savings it takes to be able to become an entrepeneur. They need money now to pay the mortgage. I think if you were working on an assembly line and were laid off, you just might not have the mindset needed to be an entrepeneur. You might be uneducated and scared and need to find money quick.

    On the flip side, there are MANY people out there that love to make excuses for themselves when instead they just don’t want to do what it takes to become a successful entrepeneur.

    • Jessica Blakely
      17. Jun, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

      What about people who are neither of the two things that you list are just uncertain/unknowledgeable about how to get started and need help? There is a ton of information on the web and I’m not discrediting that; however, for some of us, that is extremely overwhelming (aka TMI) and we simply just need experience starting out. For instance, I’d like to start a photo business for weddings and families, but even with all of the research I’ve done, I’m now very overwhelmed by the variances of pricing in my location – and all for the same kind of work. How do you find out what the going rates are? How do you learn how to write your own contract and release form? How do you price yourself without underselling yourself? Find a photographer who’s already successful and ask to intern? I just want to learn!!!

  8. Kris @ Everyday Tips
    03. Oct, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Why did I just call you Amanda? I guess it goes with Afford Anything. My apologies. By the way, liked your little intro during the Sunday session.

      04. Oct, 2011 at 10:41 am #

      @Kris — LOL!! I have alliteration going on — Afford Anything (AA), created by Paula Pant (PP). I was chatting with Flexo about this — his site Consumerism Commentary (CC) is created by Luke Landes (LL). I guess we people with alliterative names keep trying to create alliteration whereever we go!

  9. Tim Anderson
    04. Oct, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    Great post, great blog. I am constantly learning, networking, and having fun.

    Learn to be a creator – writing, design, what ever you want to do but think you can’t – just do it!

    Change is my life. Everyone I know stuck in a job, or out of work, constantly whines but does nothing about it. And there they sit.

    Me, I can’t wait for what each day brings.

      04. Oct, 2011 at 10:42 am #

      @Tim — It’s so much more fun to embrace change! How boring would life be if we were still stuck in old habits and ingrained patterns?

  10. Denise Gabbard@WriteandGetPaid
    04. Oct, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    You are right— and KC is right, too! It definitely cuts out some of the competition, but still, I wish that more people had the gumption to help themselves when they needed to.

    My blog is all about freelancing, and how to get started…but you would be surprised how many people email me and ask me how to do it…even after I’ve given them the URL and told them there was lots of information that could help. Everything I’ve learned about the internet, marketing, SEO, etc…I have researched and dug into myself. I guess most people have been “trained” to wait for instructions. (You have to wonder if this doesn’t start in kindergarten…but that’s a whole other subject.)

    Inc. wrote an article about the unemployed starting businesses, and I shared it on my Examiner column— the bold parts are my comments. You can see that we agree pretty closely about this subject……

      04. Oct, 2011 at 10:46 am #

      @Denise — Fantastic! I’m so glad there are blogs like yours teaching people about freelancing, though my guess is that the people who will be successful are the ones who try to train themselves rather than waiting to be trained.

      I’ve traveled a lot, and people tell me they want to travel — but then they email me to ask a basic question like “How do I get a passport?” I reply: “Google it!” I’m happy to answer deeper questions that you can’t find from a Google search, such as “How do you cope with homesickness?,” but as soon as someone emails me asking for nuts-and-bolts training, it sends me a signal that they don’t have the initiative to run a simple search, which means they probably aren’t going to actually DO it.

  11. Untemplater
    04. Oct, 2011 at 3:34 am #

    Congrats on your Plutus win Paula! Having a positive entrepreneurial mindset is what it’s all about. Opportunities don’t fall in our laps. We have to go out and get them or create our own. -Sydney

  12. KyleAAA
    04. Oct, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Ahhhh, I’ve thought about writing almost this exact same post a million times before. I see people doing this in all aspects of their life, not just in the professional realm. Complaining about things you can change never seems to work out for anybody. Honestly, I think this is just a personality type and the older you get, the harder it probably is to change your way of thinking. I should know, because I’m getting old! I have nothing but respect for 50+ individuals who make their living on the internet, because that means they basically had to reinvent their concept of the way the world works. It’s a lot easier for us 20-(almost 30-)somethings. Not that it’s easy, because it’s not, but it’s definitely easiER.

  13. Sophia
    04. Oct, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    This article was right on! I love your positivity! It seems like so many people just want to complain, while others are creating the lives they’ve dreamed of. I loved the part where you thought about what you should have said afterward. I’m always doing that! It’s like we can’t believe the crap coming out of this person’s mouth so we just smile, nod, and walk away slowly…and then think of what we should have said. Keep up the great writing! It’s truly inspiring!

      04. Oct, 2011 at 10:38 am #

      @Sophia — Thank you so much!! I’m ALWAYS thinking of “what I should have said” — the perfect lines seem to come to me 5 minutes too late! Thanks for the compliments; I hope these posts are inspiring. My purpose with this website is to show people that they can — as you said — create the life they dream about. Too many people sell themselves short!

  14. Christa
    04. Oct, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    Very true! This whole article is inspiring!

  15. Julie @ The Family CEO
    04. Oct, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    Maybe you should carry around copies of “Who Moved My Cheese?” at the next journalism conference you attend. I’m forwarding your post to my daughter. She’s a journalism major. Fortunately, she’s got two entrepreneurial parents.

  16. Marie
    04. Oct, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Once you said the man was in his mid 50s I knew he was from a different generation and stuck in the past. He makes it seem as thou the world is ending

    I know the bloggers conference made you feel at home

      05. Oct, 2011 at 10:38 am #

      @Marie — It’s sad, isn’t it, because it doesn’t have to be that way! My dad is 70, and he’s WAY more tech-savvy than I am. He embraces technology must faster than I do. He has a netbook, a Kindle and is getting an iPad — I don’t have any of those toys!

      But he was always like that. In the 1970’s, he used to insert punchcards into a giant mainframe computer. In the 1980’s, he was one of the first people to have a PC in his house (rather than just at his office). So “embracing new technology” is a habit he cultivated early in his life … long before the Internet was a staple of daily life.

  17. Ashley @ Everything Finance
    04. Oct, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    So true!! I was just talking about the employee mindset vs the entrepreneur mindset. Maybe that’s why I LOVE my fellow bloggers so much!!

  18. iwantmyhdbflat
    04. Oct, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Very inspiring article – I couldn’t agree more! I just started blogging last week. Organising my finances, thoughts and facts to publish on the internet forces me to organise my life as well. And through it all, I find myself gaining more control of my own finances, leading me to think out of the box and push myself into wondering “How can I get more money?”, “What can I do more?”, “Can I possibly generate money out from my blog?”.

    My mindset has changed in the week I started to take control of my finances – from that of an employee to an ENTREPRENEUR.

    Assuming full responsibility makes an entrepreneur. Waiting for a job to come makes an employee.
    I’m glad I made the decision to make the switch from employee to entrepreneur!

      05. Oct, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      @iwantmyhdbflat — Congratulations!! This is a powerful shift — and you’ll find that it’s one that will probably change your life. Hooray for you!

  19. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter
    05. Oct, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    Very interesting article. The times are changing that is for sure. Entrepreneurs seem to be the face of the future.

    Congrats on your plutus win btw!

  20. TusaRebecca
    05. Oct, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    It’s hard for me to imagine not “creating” a job for myself if I needed to. Luckily, I haven’t really been in a situation where I’ve had to. Although I did work as a receptionist for a few months after my master degree and before my PhD started. That was pretty entertaining. With the internet, the sky is the limit. I know there are some jobs that are less desirable, but if the bills need to be paid…the bills need to be paid! I haven’t looked in a long time, but there’s a blogger who was delivering pizzas as a second job to help pay of debt. That was inspiring!

    I’m so glad you got the Plutus award!!!

      05. Oct, 2011 at 11:40 am #

      @TusaRebecca — Thank you!! … I know a man who was a photojournalist at a newspaper in New Mexico. He was launching his dream career, but the pay, especially at the entry-level, was awful, so he delivered pizzas in the evening to repay his student loans while he pursued his photojournalism career. (When his boss saw him delivering pizzas, the boss was so embarrassed that the photographer got a raise!) Now this guy is shooting for all the big-name publications … yes, as a freelancer. :-)

  21. Lindy Mint
    05. Oct, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    I have so many friends who have done amazing things on the internet, yet when they go to look for a job they’re still pounding the pavement to get hired by a traditional employer. It’s a slow mental shift, I suppose.

    Great points.

    (PS: It was great meeting you, and congrats again on your reward!)

  22. Jenni (Traveler for Good)
    06. Oct, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    What a great post! All I know is that the people who have a “choose your own adventure” type of career are usually having more fun and getting to use their creativity and unique skills.

      07. Oct, 2011 at 11:36 am #

      @Jenni – A “Choose Your Own Adventure” career — I like that phrase!! Great description!!

  23. 20's Finances
    06. Oct, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Absolutely!!! I am still to the internet “business” and I am beginning to see that the possibilities are endless. Nice motivational piece.

  24. Ornella Grosz
    08. Oct, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Congrats on your AWARD!!!!

  25. The Money Grower
    08. Oct, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Hey Paula

    Big congratulations on your award.

    A very inspring article. :-)


  26. Shauna Wekherlien, The Tax Goddess
    09. Oct, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    BRAVA! I preach exactly what you are saying to my clients all day long! I specialize in business owners and their families from a taxation perspective and I believe that although having a W-2 is nice, the only real way to make money, live your life, and be happy is to do it yourself.

    THANK YOU for a great article! I will be quoting you in our blog (I hope that is OK!) :)

    Shauna, The Tax Goddess

      09. Oct, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      @Shauna — Thank you so much!! I’m hope this article can help your clients — and thank you for inspiring others to take their careers into their own hands!

  27. aj
    10. Oct, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    I aspire to have a blog of my own one of these days…successful or not…it is a dream of mine. For now I am content to learn from all of you wonderful PF bloggers that have it going on! I haven’t the time to devote to it yet with all of the activities I am busy with our 3 kids…(see I have my own excuses)

    That being said I definitely agree with you & others above, especially Shauna’s comment “the only real way to make money, live your life, and be happy is to do it yourself.”

    I am trying to instill that in my children. Although I do have a great M-F job that I really love working for our local hospital, I could definitely see leaving it to do my own thing.

    My husband has started his own business (with my help) and I love how that has worked out for our family. He is much happier, and can be there for our family when he needs/wants to be. No more working for someone else on their terms…I told him if he has a problem with his boss he only has himself to blame, lol!

    I think everyone has some talent/passion that they could pursue, but most don’t have the desire or determination (or possibly self confidence?) to make it happen.

    The sign I have on my desk (tore out of a magazine years ago) says “I LIVE FOR CHANGE! If only MORE hell would break loose!” I love it!

      10. Oct, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

      @aj — That’s a fantastic saying — sometimes it requires all hell breaking loose to inspire change. The best/most successful people are the ones who invite hell breaking loose, who welcome it and encourage it!

      I’m glad you aspire to blog, but I hope I’m not creating the impression that blogging is the answer — there are tons of businesses you can create, both online and offline. I’m sure you understand that already, since you and your husband have already created a business, so I’m really saying this for the benefit of the other readers — blogging is just ONE of many, many choices! Your passion is unique!

      Anyway, I love that sign on your desk and I’m going to start tweeting out that quote. “If only MORE hell would break loose!” — that’s fabulous. That says it all! :-)

  28. homes in east cobb ga
    12. Oct, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Congratulations! You know why you won the Plutus award? It’s because your posts can easily be understood by everyone. It seems like I’m in the actual event while reading your post. Being an excellent writer is not about how you write well, but it’s how you deliver your story to your readers. Good Job!

  29. Karylle Lynch
    13. Oct, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    Hi Paula,

    First of all, Congratulations for winning the Plutus Award for Best New Personal Finance Blog! Hurray!
    This is really a very interesting and informative post! You have a very good point here “This is the first time in history that we have freedom and control. This is the first time in history we have the potential for a big payout. This is the BEST time in history to become a storyteller.” I totally agree with you! Wishing you more success on all your online endeavors! Cheers!

  30. buckhead ga homes
    13. Oct, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    I’m always visiting your blog and every post is worth reading. You really deserve to receive an award. Hoping you to have lots of awards to come. Congratulations!

      13. Oct, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

      @buckhead — Thank you so much, I really appreciate that! :-) I work hard on each and every post … I know my posts are the ONLY reason people come to this blog! :-)

  31. Leslie Samuel
    13. Oct, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    Ok, seriously. This is the BEST blog post I’ve read in a while. I was at #FINCON11, but only on Sunday, and you are so right – it was awesome.

    I’m a full-time university professor, and I love it. I’m also a blogger, podcaster and entrepreneur – and you know what – I LOVE IT too. There’s freedom that comes with blogging/entrepreneurship. There’s so much opportunity, and it annoys me to see people “give up on life” when there’s so much you can do to take control of your own success.

    The blame game needs to stop, and people need to decide to take massive action! Why do I blog even though I have a “secure job”. Because I know that even secure jobs can fall apart. Blogging is a way to leave a strong legacy behind and influence a lot of people.

    Anyways, I could go on and on about this, but I’ll stop now. Thanks for the post!

      13. Oct, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

      @Leslie — That’s fantastic! My dad was a university professor as well, but he always had entrepreneurial side gigs going on. He was drawn to professorship because he liked teaching and research — not because he craved tenure. Tenure and stability was just a byproduct of his job.(And he ended up quitting when he turned 60 to go full-time with his business — everyone told him he was crazy for giving up such stability at age 60!)

      I totally agree with your comment. The Blame Game needs to stop, and people need to realize that the power to change their lives is in their OWN hands. It’s so disempowering to play the victim … and so empowering to realize that you’re in control of your own career, finances and fate!

  32. The Writer's [Inner] Journey
    14. Oct, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    I love this and it was exactly, perfectly, serendipitously what I needed (and wanted) to hear today. I am bookmarking your post for a future touchstone. Thank you.

      14. Oct, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

      @Writer — Thanks! Sometimes we’re led to exactly the post we need to read. I’m glad I could write that post for you!

  33. propheticinwisdom
    15. Oct, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    Hey Paula!! Love your story!! Great blog and great interview!! I have always had the gift of writing from elementary school and I know I haven’t reached my full potential. I am 39 years old now and life has sorta sidetracked me from my gift of writing, but reading your article has definitely got my writing juices stirred up again. Now, I am truly optimistic that I can use my writing skills to create more revenue for myself. Thanks!! Keep doing what you’re doing!!

      17. Oct, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      @PropheticInWisdom — Do it!! Set aside an hour each day to write. If you’re passionate about it, you’ll succeed. We perform best at the things we love most (and we love most the things we do best).

      Two of the most important writing lessons I ever received are the following: #1: To be a great writer, you must read constantly, and #2: Write everyday, regardless of whether you’re ‘in the mood’ or not. The idea that ‘inspiration needs to strike’ in order to write is a myth. Writing is like a sport or a musical instrument; it needs regular and consistent practice.

      Good luck!! Keep me updated on your progress!!

  34. Anamika
    17. Oct, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    There is no point crying over split milk. Our destiny is in our own hands. When I quit my Bank Job because of the harassment from the Boss even I felt drained out and depressed. I have been writing on some sites and even had a Blog while I was working but after I left the job I started putting more efforts on it. Now I am happy I really left the Job and does not need to depend on the monthly pay check I would have got from the Job.

  35. vh
    17. Oct, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    Well said!

    On the other hand, it must be noted that not everyone is suited for self-employment. Some people don’t do well working alone in a home office; others are just not self-starters — they really do need someone to tell them what to do next.

    As an academic myself, though, my response to the journalism professor’s attitude is not as generous as yours. IMHO the term is not “terrified” or “insecure.” It’s “arrogant.”

    Do you realize how many public and proprietary schools build and maintain quasi-professional or trade programs when administrators know the market is already saturated and there are no new jobs for graduates? It’s deliberate, cynical exploitation. Journalism is one such program: get yourself a degree in journalism and you learn to make buggy-whips. You do not need a four-year degree in journalism to write copy, no matter where you’re writing the copy. The law is another such field: law school administrators know good and well that the profession hasn’t enough job openings to employ the thousands of graduates they’re turning out, and they know that the work formerly given to newly hired associates is now being off-shored. But universities do nothing to cut back the number of admissions or to be honest with applicants about their prospects.

    Trust me. This guy is in on the scam. He KNOWS he’s educating people for a trade that has no hope of employing even a fraction of his graduates. If he weren’t a cynical SOB, he’d get himself a job in the real world or at least move into academic administration, where he wouldn’t be directly exploiting legions of young people.

      17. Oct, 2011 at 10:29 am #

      @vh — Last year the University of Colorado (where I went to school) cut its entire College of Journalism for this exact reason. It was a wildly controversial decision — one of the University Regents personally called me to discuss it (we had become good friends from my days as a reporter in that area). The Society of Professional Journalists ran a cover story about it in their bimonthly industry magazine, wondering how many schools would follow in Colorado’s footsteps. (So far, none that I’m aware of). Meanwhile, Colorado is developing a digital media communication program to take the place of its standard journalism course load.

  36. Sunil from The Extra Money Blog
    18. Oct, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    absolutely lovely comment: “Now, for the first time in history — thanks to the internet — we can take the reins. We’re not forced to climb the corporate ladder. We can build rungs underneath.” many have no idea of the power that underlies those words. thank you for the reinforcement Paula.

  37. Terri Belford
    19. Oct, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Perfectly said.

  38. get out of debt slowly
    19. Oct, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    This is why I’d rather be up to my ears in debt and having fun at the same time as an entrepreneur. I have seen both sides of the coin with a job (and schooling, lucky me) in journalism and eventually jumped ship to try my hand at entrepreneurship.

    Have things worked out exactly as planned? Of course not. But that’s the best part. You only get to spin around this world once and the goal is to have as much fun as possible and working for the man isn’t one of them. I have been everything from a freelance news photographer to a pizza delivery guy and love the opportunity to have done both.

      20. Oct, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

      @get out of debt — Beautifully said!! “Have things worked out exactly as planned? Of course not. But that’s the best part.” I love that statement. So many people fret about what will happen if life doesn’t turn out as they planned. But life never turns out as planned. And how boring would it be if it did?

  39. Andrew
    19. Oct, 2011 at 7:51 pm #


    This is one of the most fascinating pieces I have read in a long time. I have some friends who are journalists, and you nailed it. They are scared, and pessimistic. One friend (an editor) suggests that people haven’t really figured out a way to make money off the internet yet. Of course, some have, but with so much great information now available for free, he is growing more and more pessimistic.

    I’ll admit that, before having a recent email dialogue with you, I couldn’t see the potential for blogging either. But then I thought about my book and the doors that opened because of my blogging. Unlike many bloggers who have made money by pasting ads on their blogs, I don’t think I have earned more than $100 (total!) after nearly three years of blogging. But if I look at things with a broader lens, I bring the reality into focus. I probably wouldn’t have a book published if it weren’t for my blog. I’m sure John Wiley & Sons checked it out. And I wouldn’t have the Globe and Mail articles that I’ve recently published…nor the exposure of a slew of other publications that contacted me through my blog, allowing me to publish with them and promote my book. In fact, if it weren’t for my blog, I could have written the best finance book in the world, and few people would have bought it.

  40. Chris
    21. Oct, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Great article Paula! In general, I am of the belief that the entrepreneurial mind set is better, because it is a winning attitude! But with that said I don’t think the employee mindset is a horrible thing. Entrepreneurs need employees to help grow their business, but employees need entrepreneurs to create jobs.

  41. SB @ One Cent At A Time
    22. Oct, 2011 at 2:39 am #

    What a superb story telling you did just now! I am happy the award went your way. You are an amazing writer.

  42. Denene
    22. Oct, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    I’m a freelance writer and I quit my job too to do it. I think that man’s mentality mirrors much of the world’s mentality about work and careers. You were right on to just “hmm” and nod. Changing those kinds of mindsets is a difficult task indeed.

      23. Oct, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

      @Denene — Congratulations on quitting your job to work for yourself! Regarding the man: I’m discovering more and more that you can’t change anyone’s mind with words; you can only be a great example and role model.

  43. eemusings
    23. Oct, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    Oh, sweet Jesus. The internet took away jobs? The internet is creating jobs. There are no print jobs, I’ll give you that, but there are plenty of online jobs (and the hours and pay aren’t any worse).

    Freelancing full time doesn’t appeal to me – I don’t believe I’m cut out for it – but it’s more than a viable option for people in industries from journalism to IT to HR.

  44. Kashif
    21. Nov, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    This mindset is required by all, to beat and go beyond the recession. However, it is not easy to get people out of the “Employee Mindset”.

    Splendid blog, by the way.

  45. readtoawake com
    06. Dec, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.”

    I love these words said by Steve Jobs.

    I want to put a ding in the universe

  46. readtoawake com
    06. Dec, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    The best advice, I can give you is that before quitting your full time job. You should start a Part-time business. Here are few ideas – Repair computers, blogging, web designing, submitting articles, Garage cleaning, Home painting, Gardening, Dogs training, Personal Health trainer, Teaching language and computer skills.

    By starting a part-time business, you will learn the mind-set of entrepreneur. You should start small and then grow bigger by making small mistakes and learning from them.

  47. Nick Broutin
    31. Dec, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    Well said, I couldn’t agree more there is a lot of opportunity out there people just need to know that it takes hard work to see it.

  48. Penny Stock Blog
    31. Jan, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    I like the idea of a business that has limited liability. That requires little money to start. A business that is not subject to many government regulations. Does not require many special permits or licenses to operate. A business that can be quickly and easily shut down if needed. And a business that has limted contractual liability after its shut down. Requires not a very great deal of knowledge or experience to start or operate.

  49. ErinJoi
    28. Apr, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    What a breath of fresh air to read all of these positive comments that are followed by such an uplifting article.

    I recently saw an article stating how new college grads cannot get hired, and they should become entrepreneurs. I couldn’t agree more. When we all begin to live our lives with passion, we will all be happier.

      30. Apr, 2012 at 9:51 am #

      @ErinJoi – One of the most encouraging truths about the modern world is that it’s easier to start a company today than anytime in history. Business ownership is within most people’s reach.

      • David
        18. May, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

        Definitely a very inspiring + motivating read. I’ve also bookmarked this site, as I’m sure I’ll come back.

        The only negative to mention is that there are a lot of experts out there saying ‘you can do it if you just take my advice’ and yet most bloggers are not really making an impact.

        So is the problem the advice or the fact that bloggers are not implementing the advice..?

          18. May, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

          @David — I can’t speak for bloggers in general, because each case is unique. In my own particular case, I’ve been self-employed for several years, and I earn more working for myself than I did when I was working for a company. I also have a much more flexible schedule and I’m location-independent.

          That’s not to say that such a lifestyle is necessarily better than a 9-to-5, but simply that each person has the choice and power to choose whatever path they want. People should avoid feeling “stuck” in their 9-to-5 if that’s not what they want to do, and should celebrate being in the 9-to-5 if it is what they want.

  50. Gregoree Mayberry
    19. May, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    I think there are many more people like him than entrepreneurs out there. Maybe, that is good, it cuts out some of the competition. Living in Los Angles, I remember hearing that the entertainment industry was going to be decimated because of cable. Instead there are even more outlets for entertainment. People who are stuck in the past are afraid of change.

  51. Ernest Brown
    30. May, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    You only get to spin around this world once and the goal is to have as much fun as possible and working for the man isn’t one of them. I have been everything from a freelance news photographer to a pizza delivery guy and love the opportunity to have done both.

  52. Sarah
    23. Oct, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    The recount of the conversation with the fellow you had makes me sad, because it indicates a person who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know – the internet CREATES jobs.

    I would say that the internet is even making the world shift toward one in which the internet took away all of the jobs – because it took away the NEED for a traditional 9-5 office job.

    There are so many options out there becuase of the internet – far more than there were before the internet. You can do almost anything you want to do and it doesn’t have to be location specific.

    We need to be teaching our college graduates – and, more importantly, high school graduates – to create their own careers, their own success, and to not work to make somebody else successful. And certainly not look at having a job as the be-all, end-all of their careers.

  53. Jim Strickland
    26. Jan, 2015 at 8:03 am #


    I just now came across your site and read your post. I wanted to tell you how impressed I was with the way you compared the employee mentality to the entrepreneurial mentality.

    For many years my friends have asked me questions about my independent profession? some understand and some don’t. So about eight years ago, I decided to write a free ebook on what I do and to answer many of the questions I received.

    I’ve been working for myself for 25 years and never looked back. I plan on subscribing to your site and look forward to reading your posts that are “right on target”.



  54. Jonathan Craig
    08. Feb, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

    Agree, 100%, but the “employee” mindset has so much to do with upbringing and education that often it takes years of work to rewire. Not to excuse it, but those who are attempting to change their thinking patterns should try not to be hard on themselves for risk of failing.


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