Good Worker, Bad Dreamer

The saying goes, “Build your own dreams, or you’ll end up building someone else’s.” It roughly translates to, “If you’re not an entrepreneur running your own business, you’re a piece of shit and wasting your life.” Or, at least that’s how I’ve always read it.

Two years into this experiment of “owning my own business,” I want to come clean on a couple of things and share what I’ve learned.

One, I’m a liar.

In the beginning, I would refer to this as my own marketing business. Despite some LLC paperwork with the state of Washington that says otherwise, I did not start my own business. More accurately, I started a rarely updated blog focused on exploring self-worth. I work for Deluxe. In the beginning, I’d refer to them as my client, but even that’s a farce, they’re family.

Two, ego is a shitty reason why.

Leaving Deluxe in 2016 was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. A close second was asking to be let back in two years later. My ego convinced me that if I did it on my own terms with my own ‘company,’ it would be slightly less embarrassing than admitting I was struggling to make anything work in the real world outside of skateboarding.

I’m guilty of preaching about knowing the ‘why’ of your brand or business, but never spent the time to figure out my own. I believed having my own business was more prestigious than working for a company I already believed in.

There is a mysterious aura surrounding being a business owner as if it’s the only way to find happiness or reach your full potential. Part of me still believes it and wants to re-commit to a dream that I can do something on my own better than anything else.

The other part of me wants to tell every employee in the world that it’s okay to work for a company. You can be good at what you do and not be ashamed that the entrepreneurial dream is not your dream.

If you’re thinking about starting something of your own, ask yourself why. Are you helping someone, solving the world’s problems, or is it about you?

If all your answers come back to your own ego, how it’ll sound when you tell people what you do, or how it’s going to impress your parents, then you still have a long ways to go. Big egos can bring down great companies, and if ego is the only thing driving yours, the downfall will be your own.

Don’t base your self worth on inspirational quotes. Trying new things won’t be pretty, and the list of failures on the way to success will be far too long to fit in a catchphrase.

Tell yourself you got it “next try.” You probably don’t. At least not on the next one, but anything that keeps you trying is one step closer to finding your path.




Learning in public for the benefit of others. Skateboarding, Marketing, and the search for self-worth.

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Damon Thorley

Damon Thorley

Learning in public for the benefit of others. Skateboarding, Marketing, and the search for self-worth.

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