Tuesday, September 17, 2019

What is a Semi-Entrepreneur?

I suppose first and foremost, I should introduce myself and my background.

I'm Mike Horn, a 25+ year veteran of pop culture fan engagement. What does that mean?

I started my career somewhat traditionally by answering an ad in the newspaper (remember those?) for a buyer of trading cards at a wholesaler. This was the end of 1991 and I was a fresh college graduate, armed with an English major and no idea what I wanted to do. I ended up getting the job and was introduced (formally, more on my background on a later post) to the world of pop culture.

My job was with the largest wholesaler of comic books in the world, Diamond Comic Distributors in Baltimore, MD. Diamond was (and still is) in the business of supplying products to comic book shops. This was the early 1990s and trading cards were BOOMING. I was the fourth guy on a four-man team and my job was, initially, to deal with the trading card companies. I would gather as much information as I could and present that to the editorial team who produced the monthly catalog PREVIEWS, which both consumers and retailers used to place orders for their shops. After getting settled in, I expanded to also handle the licensed products (toys, posters, t-shirts, etc. All the products that you find a typical comic book shop that are not actually comics).

Fast forward about two and a half years, and, more than anything I was bored with the routine. (There's a longer story, but I'll save that for a future post.) Armed with the bravado of a 25-year-old and the wisdom of 30 months of career experience, I started my first business. Well, first, I spent the summer mountain biking in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico...THEN I started my first business.

And I mention that because that is an integral part of my story and relevant to the title of this blog. You see, my very first entrepreneurial venture was not borne of some innate desire to create the ultimate business. Nor was it a Steve Jobsian desire to Change The World. No, I just wanted control over my life. And even more short term, my days. Keep in mind that this was decades before smartphones and constant contact in your pocket. I just didn't want to be regulated by a schedule that I didn't set.

So....What do I mean when I use the term "Semi-Entrepreneur?"

Moreso now than ever, I believe that there is a personality type that sits somewhere between the stereotypical Type A Entrepreneur and the Career Type. This is even the case in my own family! My oldest brother is a non-stop career entrepreneur, owning multiple companies and starting businesses as a hobby. The middle brother is an elementary PE teacher (approaching retirement). My career (and my life) is a blend of the two.

Whether it's a side hustle or just taking advantage of the Gig Economy, the notion of a "Lifestyle Business" is no longer some kind of insult. It's simply you taking steps to control your life!