One way your ego interferes in a career path is by convincing you that running your own business gives you control of your own destiny. This feeling is, as with many ego-driven feelings, a bit misguided. The desire to control your destiny may actually be your ego trying to protect you from rejection. It tells you that if you aren’t working for someone else, or applying to work for someone else, they can’t fire you, and they can’t prevent you from getting hired or getting a raise. They can’t reject your work (i.e. have control over you) if you aren’t working for them in the first place.
This ignores the reality that if you own your own business, you are controlled not by a few people, but rather by many; these people being customers . It is much worse to get rejected by everyone in the United States—306 million potential customers that don’t want to buy your products or services—than a few prospective employers that don’t want to hire you. The ego doesn’t understand that it is much easier to reach and sell yourself as a prospective employee to potential employers a few times in your life, than reach your target customers and keep selling your goods and services to them each and every day.
Your ego doesn’t understand this because the potential rejection with employers is direct, versus indirect rejection with customers. If you reach out to an employer to be hired or to your boss for a raise, or if you get fired, you take it personally. If you are rejected by potential customers, at least some of the time, you don’t even know that you are being rejected—you have never made a true initial connection to be able to be really offended by the indirect rejection in the first place. If you are directly rejected by a customer or potential customer, you can hide behind the corporate entity so that you don’t take it personally (or at least your ego leads you to believe you won’t). Let’s be honest, if you can’t woo your boss into a raise, or woo a prospective employer to hire you, how can you woo your employees to perform at top levels or woo customers to patronize your business? If you don’t have those skills in one arena, you aren’t going to have them in the other. Whatever rejection you are running from will be exacerbated by a factor of at least a hundred when you are on your own and your money is on the line.
Another thing that your ego does is guide you to try to impress other people. They call it “keeping up with the Joneses,” or more accurately these days, “outdoing the Joneses.” Your ego tells you that if you are feeling down about your career or other things, starting your own business can give you a spark or even the beginnings of an exciting life. You may think it sounds sexy and gives you stature to be a CEO, owner, and entrepreneur of “Youco.” You can tell everyone that you are the HBIC or the BMOC, and that makes you feel good and powerful.