If I Couldn’t Run a Business…

Starbucks Logo

Let’s just say hypothetically that for some reason I was not legally allowed to run a business for an indefinite amount of time starting tomorrow.  What would I do?  If you run a business, what would you do?

I’m not sure why, but I think about this question quite often.  I don’t really foresee myself ever not running a business, but I always wonder what I’d be doing if I wasn’t.

If I wanted to return to the corporate world, I’d dust off my resume and start applying for either engineering or web development/SEO jobs.  I’d research and contact only the companies I really wanted to work for, because I think going after the companies you’re interested in is a far better way of finding a great job than Monster.com, mostly because next to no one takes an agressive approach like that.

But I’ve already done the corporate America thing and I really have no desire to go back.  After all, running a business is about creating a great lifestyle for myself, and if I couldn’t do that by running a business I’d find a way to do it another way.

My answer might surprise you.  It would probably perplex my friends and family even more than starting my own business did.  I’d get a job at Starbucks.   Why?

I’ve never been in a Starbucks where the workers weren’t smiling.  Everyone that works there seems like their on vacation.  It’s an amazing culture.  I bet I’d meet a ton of great people.

According to their website, benefits start at just 240 hours worked per quarter (or 20 hours/week)!  You can work a 30-40 hour week and bring in enough money to live, largely avoiding the 60+ hour stress-filled weeks that plague our culture (in my mind of course).

There are tons of Starbucks all over the country, so you can pretty much pick a spot where you want to live and get a job there.  It probably isn’t too hard to transfer somewhere else after a year or two if you want to.   Most people only dream of that flexibility.

Now, the main downside is your income.  But I’ve never been one to live above my means.  I need very little to be happy, and I can certainly live off of what I’d make there.  I’ll gladly take the tradeoff in terms of less hours and less stress for more free time to pursue the activities and people I enjoy.  I could spend more time getting involved in charity work giving back to the community.  In reality, the vision is pretty much the same as I want from running a business.  The only major difference is that I wouldn’t have the potential to become wealthy.  I suppose you could say that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to “change the world” in the same way, but I’d disagree:  being friendly to people at your job everyday and doing volunteer work makes just as big of an impact as starting a successful company does.

I think a decision like this would be easy for me because I have a pretty good understanding of the lifestyle that will bring me happiness and the lifestyle that won’t.  I also am somewhat defiant in the sense that I’ve come to the point that I don’t need the approval of friends/family in my pursuit of happiness.  It’s unfortunate to me that so many people get forced into doing things they don’t want to do because of the expectations placed upon them by the people around them.  Friends and family generally mean well, but they often try to mold you into what they want you to become instead of asking you what’s important to you and helping you find a career that best suits your needs.