Entrepreneurialism-istic-ness (and other made up words)

-Susie Q. –

-Bobbi Lu –

I’m going to rail against the state of things to prove my point. There are some major issues with entrepreneurial pursuits in the world today. The hurdles associated with doing your own thing can be so overwhelming that it has completely stifled the entrepreneurial spirit that was once so celebrated.

The main issue that I see is bureaucratic red tape. It can overload people that they’re stopped before they get rolling. No progress can be made when you’re busy determining whether or not your insurance policy needs an insurance policy to work and if that insurance policy covers each room of the space equally. The bureaucratic encumbrances are stunting the growth of small business and crushing the entrepreneurial spirit to dust.

And now, I am really going for it. Let’s dive into a favorite topic of mine: Trickle Down Economics.

It doesn’t fucking work. It puts too much pressure on small business and has made our society one big box store away from my worst corporate nightmare scenario.

Corporations, like Amazon**, are paying next to nothing in taxes in order to stimulate the economy by allowing them to buy more, hire more and do more. And yeah! That’s working like a treat. I recently saw an article about an automated system that Amazon has which is capable of firing people so no actual face to face contact has to be made. SO that’s what has actually been stimulated- the removal of the human element. Employees aren’t just warm bodies that can be replaced with the next and disposed of with no care. That sort of treatment is what leads to the further degradation of society and we don’t have the space for that tirade.

And, on the note of taxes: I’m a damn dirty liberal and proud of it, but I also think critically, listen to people and I am informed. I have seen friends close their small, unique businesses because taxes were crushing them. Between desperately trying to be in compliance with insurance, sales tax rules, leases, state requirements for licensing depending on their trade, and state and federal rules for the production of their goods, they struggle to keep their heads above water and that is before they even get to the websites, accepting of payments, marketing and other necessary details. The point is, small businesses can’t thrive when they end up carrying more weight than a large corporation. Fair isn’t always equal.

I haven’t seen any evidence of this trickle down approach stimulating the economy. I’ve seen small businesses fail, wages stagnate, and retail vacancies increase. I find it discouraging that we live in this weird lie that wealth will somehow trickle down and lift the rest of us up. It is going to take some revolutionary politicians and entrepreneurs to come along and change this and I am afraid that all of the entrepreneurs that I know are too bound by the red tape at the moment to be available to affect change on a national and cultural level.

**Please do not revoke my Prime Membership. I really enjoy watching Grand Tour and I can’t possibly have that much influence that you need to make an example of me!

I started a tiny, microscopic game design company with my husband. “Company” is a very strong word for what we are. He has always had a game in his head that he wanted to make, so about three years ago, we started. One step. See what happens. Two steps back, turn and adjust, then another step.

Lo and behold, we end up successfully Kickstarting our first game (after we survived the campaign, I wanted it to be our last game!). We sent out games to our backers and then set up our website to sell. We are no big thing. We aren’t trying to be. This is not our income – it is a passion and hobby (truth be told – his passion. I’m just here for logistics and free cookies – it’s what I do).

You might think the most frustrating thing would be dealing with trolls on-line, or snippy people who point out everything they perceive as wrong, or even shipping. And, yes, shipping is a racket and a special type of hell. But, nope, in truth, the most frustrating thing is all the ridiculous ways our government has figured out to nickel and dime small business to bleed them dry. I never understood their frustrations until I dipped a pinky toe into that pool – and I don’t have to do ¼ of what a true small business deals with!

I’m pretty sure it was the city “use tax” that sent me over the edge. Trying to force me to pay city tax on anything I have bought to use for my business that was purchased “outside” the city – to promote supporting local businesses. Really!? My laptop and phone were bought online while I sat in this city – does that count!? There is no local business that makes the laptop I need. You have to really look for the fine print to see they excuse it if you paid tax to someone else at equal the city tax rate, but come on! WTF – as though we aren’t already paying taxes left and right, but now you ding people for using items that were bought outside your city!? Global economy, yeah right.

Then, there are the permits for every little thing you do. You might hope that registering with the state of Colorado would cover things – but no. The county, the city – they all want their slice. And, because you might possibly make a little money, you best be filing your taxes each quarter. I’m not kidding about the “little.” The only way they let you skip filing each quarter is if you make less than $25 a month. Huh?! $25 – not $250, no. Twenty. Five. Dollars. A. Month.

So, register you name, register your titles, register your soul. Get a license for everything and pay the fees to do so. Get a license to breath. Set reminders to renew all this because if you don’t keep up all your paperwork, you must be the worst criminal out there and will be shamed as such. Don’t forget, if you survive all this, but don’t make enough money to satisfy the government (i.e. – don’t make enough to send them taxes) they will not allow you to be a business after a few years. Nope – you don’t even get to decide that if you want to. You will be a hobby and pay different fees, and get different licenses, etc.

It’s an interesting conundrum, as I think about it. On the one hand, we want people to be accountable for what they do and what they put out to the world. On the other hand, we want the freedom to pursue our goals and dreams and the ability to have the pursuit not be limited to the rich only. We have created our own little circles of hell and we don’t seem to be able to find a different way, or we don’t care enough yet to break those circles (dare I say, break the wheel?!). So for now, slog on you up-and-coming business owners. Learn the ropes and the hoops, how high to jump and how to walk just so. Maybe you will make it through. Maybe not.

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