I got a little bit ranty about the W-2 this week, but not in the way you might think! We have a gross stigma around entrepreneurs having W-2 jobs or taking W-2 opportunities, but fail to recognize the positives of those situations and acknowledge that a W-2 is simply just another revenue stream. Being an entrepreneur is so much more than a job title, and your identity as an entrepreneur shouldn’t mean that you can never work a W-2 again.
In this episode, I cover…
- [00:00] Moving to a W-2 when it actually makes sense as a career entrepreneur
- [03:11] W-2 positions as income streams & part of your asset portfolio
- [05:31] Entrepreneurship as an identity, not as a title based on what you’re working on
- [07:38] Strategically showing up to a W-2 role for the most impact
- [09:56] Getting over the stigma of “going backwards” (hint: there’s no such thing!)
What created such demonization around entrepreneurs having W-2 jobs?
You are an entrepreneur because of who you are, not just what you do. However, many of us have allowed the idea of a W-2 to become “dirty” or “gross,” when it is simply a means to an end. We pretend it’s beneath us, but there’s nothing beneath anyone about working hard and making a living. You can continue entrepreneurial work, even in a W-2, and believing that W-2 is “lesser” only ends up hurting hard workers and shaming other entrepreneurs into not exploring other income styles.
“We have made the W-2 source of income this gross, second-class, ‘beneath me’ form of money-making that is to be rejected and to be avoided. I don’t think that’s a good way to look at it.”
Why might an entrepreneur take a W-2 position?
There’s a ton of reasons why an entrepreneur may take a W-2 position, but a simple answer is that it’s what works best for them in their current situation and that’s okay. Having the skills of an entrepreneur and the identity of one actually makes you an extremely valuable, productive employee. If a company is willing to bring you on in a W-2 role on your terms and pay you well for it, that should be celebrated and treated as another solid source of income, not as an entrepreneurial death sentence.
“You are free from the W-2 being an identity, it’s just a way you may decide to make money. Once you are an entrepreneur, I think of the W-2 as another income style and income type.”
How do we get over the stigma around taking a W-2 and “going backwards”?
The stigma around W-2 often revolves around the idea that it is a “step backwards” from entrepreneurship, or “beneath” us as entrepreneurs. There’s no such thing as going backwards, not when you’ve already established your entrepreneurial identity. You have been learning how to sell, you’ve failed, you’ve gotten up, you’ve built your resilience up in your nervous system, and you are always going to be an entrepreneur.
“I want to undemonize getting a job. I want to remove the stigma that if you get a job when you identify as an entrepreneur, it’s some sort of dirty wrong thing, or you’re moving backwards. There is absolutely no shame in this.”
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