Many people ask what made me decide to become an entrepreneur. I wanted the freedom to set my own goals without limits and find a business that I could be committed to in the long-term.
Sometimes the price of that freedom can be punctuated with periodic 16-hour workdays, but because I’m passionate about my work, and take time to pause when I need to, it doesn’t matter.
But how do you really know when you’re ready to make the move? How can you explain your decision to others? I’ve done this before, and I have no choice but to do it again. I reached out to Sigmund Freud for guidance.
Let’s return to the situation I discussed in my last article, What Would Sigmund Freud Do? Advice on Remote Work and Marriage Counseling During the Pandemic.
In a nutshell, Freud met George and his wife, Nikita, and helped George convince her why he should leave his corporate job to become a freelance software developer for a gaming company. Now George wants to start his own game development company and he’ll need a team of 3 people.
Once again, Freud finally returns to help George and his wife sort things out. Here’s what’s happening:
George: I’ve got this great idea, but I can’t do it alone. I need a team. I’ve been developing amazing games for my clients. Now I want to start my own business and hire developers to work for me to build a real game-changing game in the industry.
Nikita: George, we finally paid off the car and need to start saving for some home improvements. We don’t have the money to invest in a new business. Can’t you just be grateful that you’ve got clients willing to hire you?
George: You don’t understand. They’ll never give me the funding to follow my true passion. My vision is to take people virtually to OGLE-2016-BLG-1195lb, which is the coldest planet and 21,500 light-years from earth. Players need to select special equipment to reach and exist on that planet, compete, and build the best spa ever to stay warm. Think of the challenge! It’s so exciting!
Nikita: I haven’t heard of that planet and the concept sounds weird. Can’t you just focus on things that are not out of this world—like your current contracts with clients?
George: The unknown factor is what makes this opportunity so special! It will be a truly innovative game, where people tackle unique obstacles. I can’t stop thinking about it.
Nikita: Hmm. This seems like a good time for us to have another visit with Freud to help you sort through this idea and reality. I’ll set up a Zoom meeting with the Freud virtual therapist service.
Within minutes, Sigmund Freud appears on their laptop.
Freud: Hello, George and Nikita. Let’s discuss why you’ve called me back again. I thought we worked through your issues during our last session, but of course, psychoanalysis is an ongoing process.
Nikita: George has another career change proposal that’s got me concerned. The last one – to go from employee to freelancer was a stretch, but it worked out well. He’s been coming up with some crazy new ideas ever since he got his COVID vaccine last week. I didn’t qualify to get mine yet.
Freud: Nikita, do you have a case of “vaccine envy?” Is that what this is about? Should we address your own issues first?
Nikita: No, no, no. This is about George having a wild idea and wanting to switch from freelancer to entrepreneur. Please talk some sense into him.
Freud: Nikita, let’s slow down a bit and give George time to explain. I call this process free association—where he just blurts out different thoughts and sees how they all come together.
George: I love that concept. It makes me feel comfortable. Can I call you Siggy? It sounds so much less formal than Sigmund, and it makes me want to express my ideas more openly—without being judged.
Freud: You can say what you want to me without being judged, but my full name is Dr. Sigmund Schlomo Freud, and Siggy is a bit too presumptuous. Just refer to me as Dr. Freud. So, tell me more about this idea you have about starting your own business. Was it based on a dream or a repressed desire?
George: No but this concept may sound a bit crazy to you since you’re not familiar with the online game business.
Freud: Keep going. I’m at least very familiar with crazy. I’d like to hear the rest.
George: Ok. In my spare time I’ve been developing a platform to create this concept.
Freud: I don’t understand. A platform is where people stand when they’re waiting for a train.
George: Sorry, a lot has changed since your time. A platform is a software program that offers a variety of functions. I haven’t seen a game anything like the one I want to create, and computer gaming has gotten even more popular since so many people have become used to spending more time at home due to the COVID pandemic. In fact, these games are a bit addictive. Once you get used to playing them, it’s really hard to stop – even when it’s time to eat, sleep, or whatever.
Freud: Trust me, I understand the concept of addiction, pleasure, and everything that goes with it. I’ve written papers and books on this topic. Go on.
George: And if I can just hire some people to work with me, I can scale the business even faster.
Freud: Scale? Isn’t that what you step on to determine your weight?
George: That’s another new term. It means I can grow my business quickly to meet demand. I just need to find the right people, manage them, and pay them. I’ve already created a mini program for a portion of this game and did a beta test – that’s an early test – with my son’s friends, who thought it was great. They’re my target market, but this will reach a much broader audience, too.
Freud: Ok , let’s explore this a bit more. It’s good to be enthusiastic but you can’t let your id—that impulsive portion of your brain—go out of control. The last time we spoke, you explained to me how this whole new remote world works. Where are you going to find your team and how can you manage them remotely?
George: That’s easy. I use a freelance marketplace platform to find the right people, screen them, hire them, pay them, and even manage them. With the right technology, I can carefully monitor their work and we can collaborate from anywhere.
Freud: So, you have the idea, you’ve identified a market, and you’ve found a way to hire, manage, and pay people. That’s good. What have you done to figure out how much this is going to cost you to get started and have the money to pay these people? Have you explored how long it will take you to become profitable as you transform your career?
Nikita: That’s what I’ve been wanting to know, Dr. Freud!
George: I can make this work. I’m following my new dream.
Freud: Dreams are good. You can learn so much from them. But tell me more.
George: I’m using the term dream figuratively. There’s more work I have to do before I make the switch, but I’ve thought about this carefully. I’m going to create a budget and timeline, look at my goals, refine a business plan, and identify project expenditures. Based on my preliminary research, I can start this business within 6 months if I work an extra 10 hours a week now and save that money to hire part-time help when I’m ready to launch my new company. I may even have some potential investors. I’ll keep my freelance work going until the business takes off. That way money will always be coming in.
Nikita: So, we can still do the home improvement to the living room that we planned?
George: Yes. And we’ll be able to pay our bills on time.
Freud: It sounds like you’ve put considerable thought into this.
Nikita: Now that you’ve explained this idea to me, maybe I can help you, too. I’m a technical writer, but I can branch out to do other types of writing.
Freud: I’m glad we talked this through. I just want to leave you both with one thought before I head back to where I came from.
George: What’s that?
Freud: Remember, I’m no longer part of your universe. I’ve been to OGLE-2016-BLG-1195lb. If you’re going to create a game about tackling another planet, can you pick one that’s just a bit nicer to visit… perhaps Jupiter?