Never Get a "Real" Job

Extrait de : " Avis aux jeunes : créez votre emploi si vous en voulez un ", Suzanne Dansereau . Les Affaires . 22-01-2011

Scott Gerber, pdg , conférencier et auteur. Selon ce jeune entrepreneur en série new-yorkais, l'entrepreneuriat est la voie de l'avenir pour la généation Y.

Never Get a Real Job

Dans le livre que vous venez de publier, Never Get a Real Job, vous conseillez aux jeunes de la génération Y de ne pas croire leurs parents qui leur ont promis un emploi stable et payant s'ils allaient à l'université. Pourquoi ?

Parce que ce n'est plus vrai ! Nous vivons une situation mondiale de sous-emploi chez les jeunes. Ils sont 81 millions dans le monde, éjectés du marché du travail et endettés jusqu'au cou, parce qu'on leur a dit qu'il suffisait d'aller à l'université et d'envoyer leur CV pour se trouver un emploi et jouir d'un fonds de retraite.

Cela a bien fonctionné pour les baby-boomers, mais ce n'est plus vrai aujourd'hui. À cause de la mondialisation des marchés, de l'automatisation du travail et de l'abondance des diplômés, nous vivons un important changement de paradigme. Aujourd'hui, pour avoir un job et le garder, il faut le créer soi-même.

Prétendez-vous que l'éducation ne soit pas une nécessité ?

Bien sûr que non. Mais je crois que le système d'éducation doit être modernisé pour inculquer l'entrepreneuriat aux étudiants. Le système actuel leur apprend à être des employés, pas des entrepreneurs, des leaders.

Votre première entreprise a fait faillite. Vous aviez 20 ans. Depuis, vous en avez fondé plusieurs autres qui fonctionnent bien et vous êtes, à 27 ans seulement, un conférencier en demande. Quel est votre plus précieux conseil aux jeunes entrepreneurs ?

En voici trois :

1.      Éliminez votre ego. Arrêtez de penser que vous serez millionnaire à 30 ans et qu'on vous donnera tout ce dont vous aurez besoin. Moi, j'ai étudié en cinéma, je pensais devenir célèbre à Hollywood et je me suis cassé le nez.

2.      Bâtissez une entreprise sur des bases simples et pratiques. N'essayez pas de réinventer la roue ou de créer le prochain Facebook. Faites ce que vous savez bien faire et connaissez bien ce que vous faites.

3.      N'engloutissez pas votre argent dans ce qui ne rapporte pas, en espérant que cela fructifiera un jour. Investissez dans des activités qui généreront rapidement des revenus. Car si vous ne pouvez pas survivre, votre entreprise non plus ne le pourra pas.

Introduction Never Get a "Real" Job

"Scott, when are you going to get a real job?"

With those words, my mother had decided to bring up the question for what seemed like the millionth time—a question that had become the dreaded, bane-of-my-existence conversation starter, one that felt like root canal surgery without the Novocain every time I heard it. Even though I had fought hard to win this discussion countless times before, she simply wouldn't let the topic die.

Being one year out of an expensive university without a "real" job to show for it gave my steady-paycheck, benefits-loving, schoolteacher mother heart palpitations. Granted, I wasn't making much money at the time—but 1 certainly wasn't living on the streets begging for change, either. My start-up company was generating a modest income—comparable to most entry-level positions—and was enabling me to feed myself, pay my rent, and socialize like any other normal twenty-something-year-old.

And although I was busting my ass, hustling my way into pitch meetings with Fortune 500 companies, every time 1 heard my name in the same sentence with the phrase "real" job—which, according to my mother, meant one with a specific title in which I worked for someone else—well, it was almost as if none of my hard work mattered.

Fear of deviation from the straight-arrow path drove my mother to constantly ask this question of me. And the only way she could calm her fears was to try to scare the hell out of me and to point out why my life choices were unequivocally flawed.

"One day you're going to have a family. How arc you going to support them? You'll want a nice house. You'll have to pay a mortgage," she cautioned frequently.

The tone of this discussion changed regularly, usually shifting between loud and louder. However, the main points were always consistent:

"What are you doing with your life?"

"Why did I send you to college?"

"How do you plan to make a living?"

Frustrated and standing my ground, we'd begin the big debate.

"I know what I'm doing," I would reply. "Just because I don't work 9-to-5 like you doesn't mean I'm not making a living."

She'd respond with an apples-to-oranges comparison.

"Your friends are all moving forward in their lives. They all have good jobs and are building their careers. I don't under- stand why you can't do the same."

I'd throw in some sharp-tongued sarcastic comment criticizing her values.

"You taught me to be a leader, not a follower. Didn't you?

Or was that only meant to be applied to every other aspect of my life?"

My mother would inevitably try to end the debate with an existential-sounding proverb of her own design meant to illuminate my foolish train of thought.

"You don't want to wake up one day and see that life has passed you by, do you?"

But it never ended there.

There is a good reason ihat becoming an entrepreneur feels so natural to so many of us. Whether they realize it or not—and as I pointed out to my mother during these trying discussions—our parents and our teachers encouraged us to be that way. Years of lauding and back-patting ingrained in us the notion that we could conquer the world. Ironically, what our mentors neglected to teach us was how to actually live that lifestyle. And the thought of us not getting a job terrifies them.

Why? Because our parents learned from our grandparents that a job—preferably a "safe" one, with benefits and a pension— was necessary for survival.

But while our parents and teachers may have felt comforted by this security, rarely was it what they actually wanted from their careers. Naturally, they wanted us to pursue our dreams at all costs—sometimes even to the point of risking poverty to put us through college. The problem is that they didn't know truly how to help us get there; and if they didn't know how to survive as entrepreneurs themselves, then how could they teach us to avoid getting a "real" job? They couldn't; so we didn't learn. And our education system doesn't fill in that gap. In fact, it's meant to teach us to be employees. So when we graduate, we're made to believe that our choices are to get a "real" job—or to hit the highway.

Rather than chalk my mother's encouragement up as another bedtime story, I chose the highway—and set out to learn the practical skills and tricks necessary to become what she dreamed 1 would be. These are the lessons I will now teach you.


The mere thought of living the conventional 9-to-5 life plan— creating wealth for "The Man" instead of for myself—made me want to reach simultaneously for a bottle of Xanax and vodka. Cubicle farms, incompetent bosses, strict dress codes, and inane corporate acronyms crammed into a potentially 50- to 60-hour workweek that was out of my control—in exchange for a paycheck that barely covered expenses—it all sounded like torture. And it wasn't for me. So I simply made up my mind that 1 was never going to get a "real" job. I'd find a way to make it on my own and create a life of my own design.

I just needed to figure out how the hell to do that.

I took a trip to the local bookstore during my sophomore year of college to find some material written by entrepreneurial peers who could offer me practical insights. After hours upon hours of reading book jackets and tables of contents, the sheer volume of redundant business-plan books and mundane start- up how-to guides overwhelmed me. There were countless books promising quick fixes and instant millions. There were dense dissertations packed with MBA jargon from hoity-toity academic theorists; more than a fair share of war story autobiographies from famous rock star entrepreneurs; and boatloads of overly glamorized soft covers that made entrepreneurship sound as if readers were guaranteed success if they just "set their minds to it."

There wasn't, however, a single, practical book written by a twenty-something-year-old with whom I could identify. Not one book in the entire store by a down-to-earth. Generation Y business owner who had turned the nothing they started with into something they wanted.

I didn't want to learn to incorporate a business or write a business plan; this was hardly insider information, and could be found almost anywhere online anyway. I wanted solid, real- life advice from a peer who understood where I was and what

I needed to do to build a business—not just a theoretical plan on paper. With the hope that my assumptions were wrong— and the feeling that I had to buy something to get myself on track—1 purchased a few titles.

Sadly, I wasn't wrong. And I ended up $75.65 poorer as a result.

Most of the books I bought were repetitive and wholly unrealistic for aspiring entrepreneurs. 1 began to wonder if any of these so-called business experts had ever even met a college student, recent grad, or young person looking to start his or her own business before. Ask friends and family for start-up capital? The author might as well have said, "Good luck, but if daddy doesn't have deep pockets, don't even bother. Get a 'real' job, punk." Apply for bank loans and credit lines to gain access to operating capital? Sure, because so many of us have outstanding credit and have already paid off all of our debts and student loans. Yeah, right.

I might not have had a pot to piss in, but I sure as hell wasn't about to quit because some blowhard authors had penned one-size-fits-all approaches to starting a business in exchange for an advance check from a publisher and an expert credential to headline their blogs.

No matter. Nothing was going to stop me from fulfilling the promise 1 had made to myself—not even being clueless about how to start a business.

With barely a dollar to my name and no resources to guide me, I did what I thought any half-cocked, passionate, ambitious, impulse-driven know-it-all would do: I got started and figured it out for myself. Crazy? Perhaps. But in the end, my decision and subsequent hard work paid off tenfold. Sure, there were nights I went hungry and days 1 nearly starved. But as the months and years passed, 1 found ways to feed myself quite well—all without a suitable guidebook. Fortunately, you won't have to face the same situation; it's a problem I've now remedied for you with Never Get a "Real" Job.


I-et me be clear: I don't have millions of dollars in the bank, six- figure sports cars, or gold-plated yachts. I'm not the product of a wealthy family or a storied entrepreneurial heritage; nor am I the outcome of an accredited business school. In fact, I gradu- ated from a film school where I never attended a single business or mathematics class.

So why should you listen to what I have to say? After all, who am I to tell you how to build a successful business?

Because I know what it's like to have to move back in with your parents and how depressing it is to have shrinking bank accounts and mounting debts. I know what's in store for you. I know what you think is going to happen versus what will actu- ally happen.

I understand you, because I am you.

I was where you are right now—confused, eager, antsy, dis- appointed, scared, unfulfilled, and ready for something more; and not 30 years ago, either. Most importantly, my journey— and its results—are proof that Anyone has the ability to survive, thrive, and make the seemingly impossible happen—all with- out ever needing to get a "real" job.

Since I became an entrepreneur, I've built several successful companies, and others that didn't last more than three months. I've worked alongside both smart partners and idiots. I've made a lot of money—but I've failed more times than I've succeeded.

Through it all, I've always been my own boss; I've never worked for "The Man," and I've never gone bankrupt. Both my successes and failures have prompted me to develop new ways of thinking about business. I've created business planning, bootstrapping, and sales and marketing methodologies that have enabled me to build a steady and sustainable lifestyle, supported by a healthy six-figure income. I've shared my strat- egies with tens of thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs through my syndicated Entrepreneur column—and will now share them with you in this book.


Let's get a few things straight at the outset. I don't have any magic formulas for raising capital or get-rich-quick schemes.

If you're looking for cutesy gimmicks and paperwork exercises, then look elsewhere. If you're shopping for a miracle cure or infomercial-style promises that will get you from zero to hero.