Entrepreneurship Alpha

TL:DR   Be the guy that owns the shovels and rents them out, instead of a guy that shovels.

@sf64 – I have been able in my life to accumulate a great deal of financial resources.  That accumulation of resources was the result of serious risk taking in the form of entrepreneurship.  And it was the result of conscious decision making and a willingness to accept the risk to actively manage it.

I have said it previously and I will say it again.  Entrepreneurship is one of the keys to leading a truly Alpha life.

There is a virtuous / self-reinforcing cycle that is present in world right now.  Financial freedom enables Alpha behavior which fuels greater risk taking which fuels greater rewards which enables Alpha behavior…..

I am not advocating blind risk taking.  I am not advocating just quitting your job and starting your own business.  That isn’t taking a risk.  That is being foolish.  But I do think that finding a way to stop “making another dollar for the man” and become the man that others are making money for… should be considered as part of everyone’s long-term MAP.

Athol – This is something I really agree with. Most of my personal MAP to date had been aimed at getting out of a nursing job into making MMSL a going concern and source of consistent income. I’m by no means rolling around in money laughing my ass off, but it’s coming closer to getting into true profitability. It’s been a lot of work getting to here and some rather extreme risks as well. I’ve got some good stories to tell for “life story TV interview” should the big time ever truly arrive.

Something Jennifer and I have talked about is just how badly we screwed ourselves over the long term by both working in the non-profit sector. Lots of wonderful social service done, fairly simple lives of giving… but after seven years of no pay raises while inflation has eaten our paychecks like a Pac-Man after a Power Pill… well… we’ve screwed ourselves a fair bit.

So we’ve taken some risks. If they all fall to shit, we’ll have nothing but each other… which is the exact same outcome we’d have if we play it safe. The way the economy looks to be shaping up for the next 20-30 years, playing it safe is simply going to get you an utterly horrible retirement for a very large number of people. The truth is being a wage slave is the most horribly risky thing in the world to do. Your strategy boils down to simply hoping that there’s going to be a welfare net for you in 20-30 years.

I’d say “LOL”, but it’s about the least funny thing I can imagine.

Explaining the way the money really works…

George Carlin…. “The Owners”

The ugly truth is that not everyone gets to be a guy that rents shovels, most people are going to be a shoveller. Personally I’d rather work like crazy to get to be a shovel renter.

That being said, if you want the metaphor extended properly, MMSL is the shovel I sell. It’s low-cost, durable and does it’s job as advertised.

So yeah, the game is indeed rigged, but it isn’t impossible. It’s like I’m giving you the advice the Red Queen gave Alice…

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”   “A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” [1]


  1. I bought a $10 shovel [read book] from you six months ago and used it to become the man I thought I never could be. I used the same shovel to dig my way out of my shitty marriage on the brink of divorce and turn it into a fully functional, regular-and-occassionally-rough-sex kind of marriage. Your $10 shovel saved me about $1.5 million over the next 15 years. Thanks. I like doing business with you.

    I’m psyched to hear you’re doing alright money wise. You deserve every effing dime of it. Imagine the billions wasted on marriage therapists who spend their days telling guys that the keys to turning on their wives and saving their marriages are becoming better communicators, being more expressive about their emotions, and being more understanding when their wives rebuff their advances. I hope one day soon a big slice of that pie comes your way. For now, I’m telling everyone who I think is willing to listen about your book and I’ll be slipping it into the pocket of a guy getting married this summer.

  2. MrBurgundy says:

    “So we’ve taken some risks. If they all fall to shit, we’ll have nothing but each other… which is the exact same outcome we’d have if we play it safe. […] The truth is being a wage slave is the most horribly risky thing in the world to do.”

    God, THIS. Away from these boards, in RL, I’ve had to engage with wage slaves about this. Even the ones who loathe their jobs to a genuinely unhealthy extent just DO NOT want to know.

  3. An older gentleman once told me, “If you want more out of life than a house, two cars and a bass boat on payments, you have to go outside the norm. You can get those things on a 40 hr a week job. But you won’t get much more than that. If you want to really enjoy life, you’re going to have work hard for it. Most people aren’t willing to do that.”

    Almost ten years later, I still remember that conversation. He was right. Now I find myself telling younger guys that same thing..

  4. Over It says:

    So do you mean to say that starting a business will cause you to behave more alpha, or that men who take that risk already have strong alpha traits?

  5. The Ringmistress says:

    Wow. So needed to hear this this morning. You just summed up the conversation my husband and I had an hour ago. This is becoming our inspiration post as we work to get our business plans in order.

  6. MrBurgundy says:

    @Over It:

    Both. An alpha man won’t be happy in a wage slave job and will do something about it; a more beta man who makes the leap will learn alpha, and fast!

  7. Yeah that wealth inequality video is just socialist propaganda. In reality the USA didn’t have any income tax at all until 1916. Before that the rich (Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie) were several times more rich than the richest individuals alive today (in inflation adjusted dollars). This video avoids the fact that the government now sucks down and wastes a higher percentage of GNP than any peace time in history.

  8. My husband and I are talking about this. We like working at the moment, and we like our jobs. But the most important life goal for us right now is to be able to walk away from it without negative consequences if it becomes unfulfilling. Also, I’m pretty sure that I at least want to retire early – I’ve seen the lives of the worker drones in their fifties and beyond, and it’s rarely pretty. So we’re following this guy’s advice, with some modifications:


    Alpha doesn’t have to be about earning All Teh Moneyz and being Big Man on Campus. It’s essentially about having a plan and following it while still having enough of the necessities and little luxuries to not feel and/or be deprived.

  9. vaccinia says:

    I’m all for entrepreneurship and risk-taking, but doesn’t the world need firefighters, nurses, and people willing to work in the public sector for the public good? Plenty of happy Alpha men in those professions!

  10. Over It – It’s very difficult to be Alpha anything without a solid income. If you can create a residual income of some kind, it’s a massive Alpha boost.

    TP – Even if it’s a socialist propaganda piece, does it change what you need to do?

    Vaccinia – I was a nurse for fourteen years. I didn’t see many happy Alpha men.

  11. vaccinia says:

    Athol- I’m also a nurse; my point was that it’s a broken system that does not reward people (especially men) for work that is noble and serves the public good, even while it might not bring great wealth. Men willing to put their lives on the line should be rewarded for their bravery, not punished by a system that makes the very few enormously rich.

  12. Vaccinia – Your point was that the men were Alpha and happy. Now you’re saying they are being screwed.

    I can’t change the system, only advise people how to work it.

  13. vaccinia says:

    Certainly they can be both happy with their work and part of a broken system, which was the point of the video clips. Not trying to pick an internet fight! Bought the book and love the blog.

  14. We could use more posts on entrepreneurship. This week, our company announced layoffs of guys who’ve worked hard for the company their whole lives. The reality is that companies don’t even care about valuable employees anymore – if you’re on the wrong spot on a balance sheet, you’re toast.

    It pays to have a backup plan; finding the right one is difficult. I’d like to find something I can build experience in while still working for the man but doesn’t risk my job and doesn’t cost too much to get into.

  15. Here’s is the point that I took from this post… We life is a country that allows for great finacial rewards if you can Alpha-up to become among the top 10% and even greater if you can enter the top 1%. But, it’s going to be hard to pull off, and frankly not everyone is going to be able to. The things the wealth inequality piece fails to mention is that the reason we have so much wealth inequality in America, is because we have so much wealth compared to the rest of the world. The reason we have so much wealth is because we freely allow the folks that can work the system to accumulate a lot of wealth. The take home point, is that you need to be someone that knows how to work the system…. Anyone that thinks we would be better off without Warren Buffet and Bill Gates just simply doesn’t know that much. The keys are to learn from their example, not whine and be jealous of what they created. There are a few pathways to wealth in this country, follow them! Pathway number one, go to college, get a decent job, buy stocks, and real estate every month. Only prerequisites, are somewhat bright and self-diciplined. Risks fairly low. Niether one of my parents is college educated, and they both made around $20K a year, that was while my dad was around at all…. Even on their combined $40K income there was still enough money to put away $200-$300 a month into mutual funds if they chose to, and also pay off a mortgage. After 30 years they could have been homeowners and had an investment portfolio of around $800K. But my biological father lacked any leadership or self-discipline. Instead he chose to waste money drinking, and on short term wants, and new cars, and yadda yadda bullshit. This eroded away my Mom’s attraction for him, so now they are divorced. He was also a shitty dad so I lost all respect for him too. I was a decent student in high school, fast forward some years, I am 33 now. I obtained a Doctorate degree with no finanical help from my parents. Not a single dime towards anything starting when I was 17… All I had going for me was being in the US and being somewhat bright…. I also lifted weights, played sports, and attracted a Doctor wife…. She had it easier with her upbringing…. Now we make plenty of money and have a pretty high net worth. I am self-employed… We own multiple rental properties and lots of mutual funds and stocks, because that’s what you do if you want to be “wealthy.” I also drive a truck that has been paid off for years, and live in a home that costs a third of what the mortgage lenders and realtors told us we “qualify” for with our income. We buy our groceries at Walmart and our kids wear clothes that we get from our friends that have older children who have grown out of them… If you want to be wealthy you just have to spend less than you bring in… The other pathways to wealth are become a rock star or professional althlete. Or create a highly successful business. These two paths are a lot harder to pull off…

  16. I don’t know which I like better — “cold numeric reality is Socialist propaganda,” or “I have a doctorate and write like a first grader.”

  17. Smashmaster says:

    That wealth inequality video is very misleading. Beware anyone using “fair” or “distributed” when discussing wealth.

    Wealth isn’t distributed, that’s zero sum thinking. Wealth can be created, transferred or stolen. Obviously, only creating wealth creates more wealth. Transferring is, at best, is a zero sum game, and stealing wealth is a destroyer of wealth. People who talk of fairness inevitably subscribe to transfer and theft to achieve their “fairness”, and make us all poorer for it.

    George Carlin is an economic illiterate.

  18. Duncan, that was the point…. You don’t have to be brillant to earn a Doctorate or achieve financial success. Keep judging people on their grammer skills instead of taking home the message of planning for a life of financial success and let me know how your cynical attitude works for you…. The American system provides incedible opportunity on the world’s stage for wealth creation, you just have to take the right steps to be one of the winners….. You can even pull it off with poor writing skills in internet blog posts that you produce in a few minutes….

  19. Lemme guess: Your PhD is in rocket surgery.

  20. “Wealth isn’t distributed, that’s zero sum thinking. Wealth can be created, transferred or stolen. Obviously, only creating wealth creates more wealth.”

    CREATING: The wealth of industrial capitalism was created by labor: labor & labor alone turned raw materials into valuable products to be sold at a profit. TRANSFERRING: This profit was transferred from Labor to Capital via the principle of Ownership (see Carlin, above): i.e., rich people who did nothing reaped the lion’s share of the wealth. STEALING: Today, the wealthy mostly fill their coffers with elaborate cons & get the national treasury to bail them out when it all goes wrong; for example “too big to fail” executives getting multi-million dollar bonuses the very year they need billions in bailout money. That’s theft plain and simple, and you’re right, it’s a destroyer of wealth. It’s turning America into a third world country before our eyes.

    ” People who talk of fairness” — Oh, you mean Ayn Rand-reading right wingers? — “inevitably subscribe to transfer and theft to achieve their ‘fairness’, and make us all poorer for it.” — Yup. Capitalists steal like crazy in order to keep getting something for nothing, in order to keep the dividends rolling in when they did nothing to earn them except get born with a silver spoon. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  21. Duncan, go away.

  22. Joe_Commenter says:

    Duncan, if you don’t like it, do something about it. each and every one of us has the power to invent, create, run, manage and build a profitable company that brings people something they want and need. You do this and you can become filthy rich just like one of those Ayn RAnd Reading right wingers.

    BTW, you are richer than 99% of the rest of the world’s population. How much money are you willing to give up to the poor dude in Yemen with 10 kids to feed? Or why don’t you go down to the soup kitchen and give away $1000 to some homeless dude that doesn’t work? Come on. You are much richer than them.

    Redistribution isn’t so fun when it’s coming from your pocket is it?

  23. Off The Grid says:

    Duncan is obviously an omega that can’t compete in the free market and would rather whine about it than take steps to succeed in his own life.

  24. My Doctorate is clinical, not PhD… Most Phd’s are not inducive for self-employment… The point is, anyone that is fairly intelligent can go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and pursue the educational requirements for a high paying career with low unemployment rates, they just have to choose that for themselves. Duncan, you are being a condescending prick, and it’s not really adding any information to the conversation. We live in a society that rewards production coupled with charisma, and it would be your best interest to pursue some masculine rolemodels to improve your charisma. When bank stock are depressed, rather than complain about the government, if you want to become wealthy you buy shares of their stock. Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo, etc were all selling at low Price to Earnings ratios and should have been purchased close to the markets bottom. Benjamin Grahm wrote a great book about investing and it is a must-read for anyone interested with wealth creation. If you want to become wealthy, complaining won’t accomplish anything, but planning, and taking steps to emulate the wealthy to become wealthy will. AIG was bailed out by the taxpayers with much controversy, you can complain about that, or you can buy AIG stock and share in the gains. It’s currently selling for 60% of book value and it’s poised to make a great recovery….

  25. “Redistribution isn’t so fun when it’s coming from your pocket is it?”

    Stop being an idiot. The difference between me and the homeless dude down at the soup kitchen, or anyone in Yemen — or, alternately, the difference between some highly paid surgeon and me — is INSIGNIFICANT compared to the difference between a member of the .01% and ANYONE below his class: the surgeon, or you, or me, or any of us. The .01% are currently taking their money by manipulating Libor, rigging interest rate swap prices, fixing the price of oil, etc. There is no entrepreneurship happening there. The video Athol posted is factual.

    I haven’ proposed any “redistribution.” You don’t combat this shit with “redistribution” anyway; you combat it with laws already on the books, commonsense laws that prohibit very staightforward crimes. Securities fraud, for instance. You combat it with very basic policy changes, such as ending the U.S. Government subsidization of criminal banking.

    Someone mentioned a “free market.” Do you think this is what a free market looks like? America, today? If so, you are a clueless boob. You’re invoking a morality play that was already a tired farce in the 1950s, but is totally irrelevant today. And the rich are laughing at you.

  26. Oh, btw … “AIG was bailed out by the taxpayers with much controversy, you can complain about that, or you can buy AIG stock and share in the gains. It’s currently selling for 60% of book value and it’s poised to make a great recovery….”

    Yes, Wall Street likes AIG. You know WHY Wall Street likes AIG? Because Wall Street knows the US Govt likes AIG, won’t let AIG fail, will underwrite AIG’s screwups to the tune of billions of dollars. The govt has AIG’s back, and everyone knows it, and that’s why AIG stock is such a good bet. And I just want to point out that, whatever else this is, it is NOT a Free Market.

    [And to clarify something else: Shocking and amazing though it may be, my defense of the legitimacy of the vids above is NOT actually a veiled plea for investment/career advice.]

  27. Duncan, you seem to fail to understand the purpose of this blog…. It’s not to complain about the unfairness of the world around us… Women prefer handsome muscular men… Governments are corrupt… Large Political contributions control government decisions, this really isn’t news to anyone. There’s nothing veiled about it, we are all here for relationship, career, fitness, investing, anything that makes us more successful as a leader or man advice. That’s why this blog exists…. Personally, I don’t want to see anyone end up like my parents, approaching 60 and owning nothing… That’s why every chance I get, I encourage people to take ownership of their own lives and invest. Become an owner instead of complaining about the system…. One of the easiest ways to “become an owner” is buying stocks of great companies when they are priced right and waiting for them to appreciate. If you take some risks and make the right bets, you can even become fairly wealthy. If you take very little risk, but invest consistently for 30-40 years, you can become wealthy…. Don’t lose sight of that in your pessimistic attitude and don’t allow your friends or family members to assume a victim mentality either. Frankly, our society doesn’t do enough to teach people how to accumulate wealth. We should really all be a lot better off than we are, but mostly because we all need to spend more time researching it and making better choices. Success is an active choice that you make for yourself. It takes time, research, and dedication. Sure, we arn’t going to be able to get the same deal on preferred shares of stock that Warren Buffet gets when he buys billions worth at once, but what we can get is still really damn good if you just do some research and make the right choices. You have to maintain your resolve when everyone else is giving up or panicking. Duncan, you might be to mentally defeated or too arrogant or closed minded to take the steps needed, but don’t go around spreading your poison to others…

  28. Joe_Commenter says:

    Duncan you are very correct that wall street is rigged and not a free market at all. But you are sadly mistaken if you believe that it is a right wing caused rigging. Wall street overwhelmingly contributes much more to Democrat campaigns than Republican ones. The Democrats return the favor to wall street in the form of subsidies and bailouts I’ve seen the campaign contribution listings. Financial firms give overwhelmingly more to Dems than Reps.

    You may also think the left supports poor people better than the right. But we can see the left’s true colors on display when Joe Biden cries tears over the plight of the poor at the same time his tax records show he gave a mere $3000 to charity. I am a pauper compared to Biden, and I gave more than that. What Biden wants is for your tax dollars to go to the poor. He won’t help the poor with his own money. But he will gladly confiscate yours to hand out to the poor.

  29. Joe_Commenter says:

    PS Duncan. Thanks for the AIG tip. I’ll have to look into that.

  30. The reactosphere is one big giant crab bucket which is why people leave it. This post is an example. Some guy posts something helpful. Commenters add more helpful ideas. Then someone comes along and talks about how it’s all futile because etc etc.

    I see this IRL too. Some guy at my church complains about how the divorce and child custody laws hung him out to dry. As time goes on, more information comes out and – while the divorce and child custody laws suck – there was plenty he could’ve done to avoid divorce altogether such as BRINGING HOME A STEADY INCOME and NOT BEING AN ANGRY CREEP.

    Those in the reactosphere will NEVER take steps to improve their position within the current framework. They’re always waiting for some far off day when everything is to their liking to lift a finger to help themselves. Unfortunately, that day will never come meanwhile they’re closer to their own deaths than the previous day.

    If you don’t have something helpful to add, STAWP POASTING.

  31. Yes. Athol posted something helpful. He added 2 videos to bolster his point. Then people started coming around saying the vids were socialist propaganda, Carlin’s an “economic illiterate,” and if you only shop at WalMart and get a doctorate in moronic babbling the world is your oyster. I was just calling bullshit on all that.

    I’m not “complaining” about a thing, nor am I deriding anything as “futile.”

    And Biden’s a right wing stooge who can kiss my ass.

  32. Duncan, it sounds like you are a total douchebag that relies on using an Internet forum to rant your mouth because if you acted that way in person you would get your ass kicked. You need to get some masculine role models in your life to teach you how to act. Make no mistake about it, you are far inferior to me intellectually. You are just a whining, excuse making, douchebag that is headed for a life of failure…

  33. @athol_kay
    ok, the harsh truth. Not everyone can be the boss. In fact the vast majority of men can’t be the boss.
    Because if everyone is the boss, who makes the shovels?
    So your method cannot work for the vast majority of people.
    Only those who successfully transform themselves from shovel maker to boss of the shovel factory can be have a good marriage.
    It’s the harsh truth.
    Is that what you’re saying? if it ‘s not, would you mind clarifying for those posting here who are attacking other posters?

  34. Well, that escalated quickly.

  35. IMO what Athol offered here is sort of an economic Red Pill. He could have couched it in terms of “rah rah, work hard and be innovative and save wisely and take risks like a Michael Douglas role circa 1989, and the world’ll have no choice but to shower you with money, Audis, and leggy broads.” Instead he told the bitter truth: that it’s a bitch out there; it’s NOT fair; you have to understand what you’re up against; there are forces way more powerful than you or me that want our energies to blindly support them like mindless coppertop batteries, and it’s best to know the true nature of these things when navigating the world. The videos he posted hammer home the point. It’s only cynical if you make it cynical; it is, however, red pill.

    Pegala, I think you’re pretty much getting what Athol is saying.

    Chuck, you seem like just the kind of guy fit to enjoy a lifetime of delicious steaks, courtesy of Agent Smith. Cheers.

  36. I did have some filet I grilled up last night on my back deck overlooking the water…so you did get one part of your comment correct! Pegala the harsh truth is that “the owners” are going to get access to more sexual partners when they are single and in theory higher quality wives when married. You don’t have to be rich to be successfully married, but you will have to marry a woman that looks up to what you are able to create. It’s all about doing a little bit better than your immediate social circle. Often times you can get around having a lot of money by being tall, handsome, and charasmatic and managing the money you do have well. If you can’t obtain wealth, and frankly even if you can, work towards broad muscular shoulders, arms, chest, and defined abs. Lots of marriages go off track when women perceive their men as having potential that never gets accomplished. The key to marriage success is performing at or above your wife’s perception of your potential.

  37. Danceny says:

    I’m on the David Bach “Automatic Millionaire” life plan, more or less, and it’s in the process of making me independently wealthy. (Closing in on a half-million net worth in my mid 30s.) I am convinced this is the only *reliable* way to get semi-rich.

    The problem is, it doesn’t confer any status until after my reproductive years. The only way to get RICH in time to reap social and sexual benefits is to take what I’d consider irrational, leveraged risk and get lucky. Prospective entrepreneurs should carefully consider the baseline rate of failure for the type of business they’re considering: What makes you think you’ll do better?

    Trying to become a degreed/cartelized professional (physician, dentist, attorney, etc.) or corporate exec (via top-tier MBA) is a more reliable road IMO, but also tops out much lower (low/mid six-figure salary with matching debt burden). And there you’re fighting institutional discrimination against white men, etc. Also, you’ll likely work your brains out for many years. Hopefully your wife doesn’t fuck the poolboy while you’re working those 80 billable hours.

    One thing I’ll say for my plan is that at least I’m not constantly insecure about my paycheck. That would be a major drain on the Alpha frame, I imagine. Layoffs are frequent and arbitrary where I work, but I don’t worry because if it comes down to it, I can afford to be out of work for a year or more. If I want something (within reason), I buy it. It gives me credibility when I tell my wife things like, “Don’t lose too much sleep; worst case, I’ll just write a check for $35,000 and we’ll be out of this goddamn house” or “No, we’re investing like this: _______.”

  38. Danceny, that sounds like your doing great! Would you mind sharing a couple paragraphs that outline the Automatic millionaire plan that you are using? Thanks for your insightful post!

  39. I looked up the basics online, basically the Automatic Millionaire plan is taking advantage of the payroll deduction/direct deposit-type features that come with many employers and banks to automatically set aside a portion of your income instead of spending it. For example if your employer offers a 401k, set up the max contribution you can. Many banks offer automatic contributions to other accounts that can be set up online, take advantage of them. The principle is to take human nature and self-discipline (or lack thereof) out of the equation by taking advantage of the computer systems set up to do this kind of thing automatically.

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