Books I Read: Before You Quit Your Job

Last week I finished reading Before You Quit Your Job: 10 Real-Life Lessons Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Building a Multi-Million Dollar Business by Robert T. Kiyosaki. It is part of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of books. I actually finished listening to the audiobook Rich Dad, Poor Dad before reading this book.

The point of Rich Dad, Poor Dad is that there is a big difference between being poor and being rich, and it isn’t directly related to money. There is a big difference between being poor and being broke. It’s a mindset. A rich person will ask empowering questions, such as “How can I afford that?”, while a poor person would simply conclude “I can’t afford that.” Being broke is a temporary financial state. You can still be rich when you’re broke. You just have to think they way rich people do. Essentially, think and grow rich, or don’t think and be poor.

Before You Quit Your Job is a great book that talks about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Somewhere else, I got the idea that being self-employed and being an entrepreneur are separate and distinct. The idea was that even if you are running your own business, if it is something that someone else has already done before, then you have just created yourself a job. An entrepreneur creates something new.

Kiyosaki drilled the idea even further. Basically, you can are an employee, or you are an entrepreneur. Almost everyone is encouraged to go to school, get good grades, and get a good job with benefits. My own mother is still telling me that I need a good job for the benefits. When I was younger, my father would tell me that I needed to go to school to get good grades in order to eventually become the CEO or other high level officer in a company of my own. It sounded great, if vague, and I always had the vague idea that while I could become an employee, I would eventually run my own business.

I learned this past year that my father must not have really put much belief in it himself. A month after I announced that I would be running my own shareware video game business full-time, and therefore would need my family to support me until I was profitable, my sister informed me that he would talk to her about how I needed to “shape up” and “get a job”. Ouch. It’s not something you want to hear that far into it. Since I couldn’t rely on the support I was asking, I decided that full-time employment was the way to go. I’ll support myself, and then I will be the one to decide to support my business.

Anyway, the book is geared towards entrepreneurs looking to make a multi-million dollar business and employ hundreds of people. Entrepreneurs create a business, working on the business before it even exists, and then once their job is done, they get out of the way to let the business run on its own. My own plans for my business didn’t take into account the idea that it didn’t need me. I knew about the importance of setting up good systems; the idea of earning money while I sleep was a nice one to have.

At first I thought I wouldn’t get much value out of the book. I wanted to be in charge. I wanted to stay small. While earning millions of dollars is certainly possible, I didn’t think I needed to partner or hire with hundreds of people to get there. My plan wasn’t to create a business for someone else to buy, nor was it for giving other people creative control.

Still, the book helped to clarify what I was thinking. The main focus in the book was in helping people move from being employees (whether self-employed or not) to entrepreneurs; much of the content was useful only to those people. Still, even though I wanted to be self-employed, I found a lot of helpful information that overlapped. Some of the things that rich dad seemed to refer to negatively might actually be positives for someone who isn’t trying to be the kind of entrepreneur he was thinking of. Some of it gave me pause and made me think, “Oh, that’s me he is talking about. I’ll fix that.”

Reading through the 10 lessons and the stories that went with them, I was able to see that I still had some thinking to do. I know that there are some important tasks to handle in order to ensure that my business won’t fail immediately or sink under its own success. There are still some mindset changes to make.

10 comments to Books I Read: Before You Quit Your Job

  • Just ignore the ‘gotta get a good job’ crap. Don’t let other people’s fear of the unknown drag you down. Think of it this way..

    Worse case if your business fails you’ll.. ‘gotta get a good job’.

    Best case if you don’t try… ‘gotta get a good job’.

    Hmm. It’s a tough call. 🙂

    btw. Even if your business ends up being successful, just expect the wording to change.. “When are you going to get a REAL job.”

  • I’ve already had to deal with, “Don’t bother him. He’s playing on the computer.” It’s frustrating when you know you’re working hard but other people assume you’re just playing games.

    Although, when I am reviewing games for Game Tunnel, I am playing games, but that’s besides the point. B-)

  • I don’t buy it. I think a full time job will get in your way. From what you write, the job you have now is perfect. It is mindless…and allows you to grow with your business…not with the challenges of the job.

    If you’ve got to give 100% to your job, it’ll be challenging to start a business.

    Do you see yourself starting a business. From my limited perspective, I say…keep your menial job at the moment. Or quit it all and make Mastercard/Visa your angel investor 😉 That’ll make sure you “WIN or perish :)”

    I do appreciate your insight into “developing a business” vs. being “self-employed”…I realize I need to develop the business (including marketing)…and that right now…by only developing games…I’m really just being self-employed.

    Later,
    Action

  • Hey,

    Ignore my last comment. You know a lot more about how to reach your goals than me.

    Btw…thanks for book review and recommendation.

    Later,
    Action

  • Actually, I like your comment. At the very least, it gives me a chance to explain my choices to myself. I either prove I thought it through, or I show I need to question it more.

    Basically, I’ve determined that I need to be able to support myself financially rather than depending on family members. There is too much stress involved when family “supports” you while feeling like you are wasting your time. “Get a real job” or “Quit playing on the computer” are not comments I need to hear when I am trying to make a better product or improve my marketing.

    I want to remove that dependency. Since GBGames is not about a completely revolutionary product that will make me millions upon millions of dollars just for existing, it isn’t like I can follow the advice in the book; it’s not what I want to do. Since I want to remain independent, I wouldn’t look to venture capitalists or investors even if they were interested. I don’t even want to take out loans from a bank.

    So that leaves me with a full-time job as an option. I definitely don’t want to depend on the success of my first game for my main source of income. I can be optimistic, but I also recognize that I am still learning; I’ll be making mistakes.

    As you know, my first project is taking a lot longer than I thought it would. If I would have used up credit cards and the like in the belief that I would be selling a completed game in September, I would be in debt right now. Granted, parts of me are getting impatient with how slow I am taking things, and I do feel that I haven’t been putting in as much time as I should have, but I also believe that slow and steady is going to work for me. It is especially true since I am still learning the basic skills that I would need. I don’t have as much experience with programming as I would like, and I definitely need to learn more about marketing and sales.

    Basically, I’ve decided to go the Ben and Jerry’s route rather than the Amazon route, as Joel Spolsky puts it. I am not a First Mover, so I don’t see becoming big quickly helping me do anything more than increase my expenses.

    I’m welcome to any criticism of my plan of course.

  • Yeah,

    Ok, that explains a lot more. When I think of a game business, I think of “Masters of Doom” and coming up with a game or gameplay that changes the industry.

    Of course, I am now getting use to the concept of “lifestyle” companies. You are your own boss and selling games isn’t meant to bring in millions of dollars…it is meant to facilitate a lifestyle.

    In my mind, I see things in terms of extremes. I have found that I have to be “extreme” to reach my goals. Because when I hesitate or am fuzzy about things…it comes back to bite me 10-fold.

    I remember watching a video with Dell….saying that if you want to make a living…”you can start a traditional business”…”If you want to make a killing, you have to change the way things are done.” So when I think of business…I think of creating things that “change the way things are done.”

    In any case, you may want to consider attending Game Developer’s Conference…it may be a good first-step to networking with the rest of game community.

    Look forward to more book reviews. I went to the bookstore today and started checking out some of the books you recommended.

    Later,
    Action

  • If there is anything bad about getting a new job, it is that I won’t be able to ask for vacation or personal days for months, which means that I wouldn’t be able to attend GDC. B-(

    I’m glad you find the book reviews useful. I’ll be highlighting those books that I read that I find incredibly useful or that give me some insight.

  • Kevin Dahlhausen

    Watch out for Kiyosaki. His books may be inspiring, and there is value, perhaps even great value in that, but there is some question as to truth of his stories. http://www.johntreed.com/Kiyosaki.html is a good start. So if his reading motivates you, then keep at it! Just don’t take things too literally.

  • I remember that link in the indiegamer forums, along with a link to a Brian Tracy article that shows he is not only conservative but intellectually dishonest as a conservative.

    I didn’t read the Kiyosaki analysis at the time, but going through it now, I can say that it was both informative and nit-picky. Perhaps Rich Dad didn’t exist, and perhaps the dates and numbers are wrong or exaggerated. The book was published in 2005, and so the analysis is a bit dated. Kiyosaki made most of his riches from the Rich Dad company. The purpose of the company was to help people raise their financial I.Qs. John Reed made some good points, but he also made some “points” that I thought were reaching.

    Still, I don’t believe in blindly applying principles from a book. For instance, I liked David Allen’s Getting Things Done because it isn’t just a list of tips; it actually tells you why they work. Kiyosaki’s words might not all apply to my situation, but his explanations help me make that decision for myself. I know that I was thinking about how many different “most important jobs” an entrepreneur had as I read the book, but just realizing that there were some questions I needed to ask was valuable. John Reed might dismiss my realization as “lame”.

    Meh. I know that I got some value out of it. Now, how I apply it will make all the difference. This is what is meant by action versus inaction. I could read the book, put it down, and forget about it or otherwise not do anything about what I learned, OR I could translate what I learned into action. John Reed might be able to pick a situation where not selling would lead to greater profits, but I don’t think that was the point. I’ll even argue that deciding not to sell but to hold was action anyway.

    Again, I think John Reed brings up good points, and I believe that Kiyosaki might not have been completely honest about his writings.

    Reading his analysis, I also have to question how many of his points are actual criticisms and not just nit-picking silly details: says his net worth is “$50 million to $100 million depending on the day” — I don’t believe that. He was bankrupt and homeless in 1985 by his own admission. Although a lawyer who searched the federal case management system on line says he could find no bankruptcy filing for Kiyosaki. My question: what difference does the “by his own admission” part make if a lawyer says it isn’t true? Also, what’s this “depending on the day” nonsense? I presume that’s a shameless effort to impress people who are really ignorant about the world of finance. What he is saying is that his net worth doubles or halves within 24 hours. Or not. What if it only increases by 10%? Or drops 5%? Maybe depending on the day, it is between $50 and 100 million? I don’t think Kiyosaki ever claimed to be exactly at 50 or 100 at any given point in time. Reed goes on for some time about the bad investment he must be making, but the only really important thing I got from him was that Kiyosaki has claimed different values for wealth at different times…which may imply dishonesty or may imply a huge change in wealth.

    In the end, I don’t think it matters much to me as I am not trying to be like Kiyosaki. Thanks for the link though. It is good to get multiple points of view so that we can make informed decisions. I’ve spent an awful lot of time on this comment, so I’ll stop now. B-)

  • I’m a HR analyst for a big company here in Australia but I’m now feeling that I’m being overworked by my boss. Thanks for the information I will read it again because some of the info just got lost in my mind somewhere.. This looks very helpful!