The Entrepreneur Employee.

This post regards something that I am currently experiencing and something that I am confident many other entrepreneurs experience as well.


Because the word ‘entrepreneur’ if most often times related to someone that works for themselves, the question then arises, what if you take on a position with another company?


Can you be an entrepreneur and work for someone else?


For the past year and a half, I have been working tirelessly to build companies.  I have learned so much and I have built some really cool things and even made some money off of some of those cool things.


I have a passion for building things that society interacts with and things that truly can shape a person’s everyday experience.  Part of that comes from my background in Architectural Design.


Over the holidays I accepted a position at Acumen Brands.  To me this is incredibly exciting.  With that being said, someone the other day stated, “Guess you’re not an entrepreneur anymore?”


This question has stuck with me for some reason this week.  Not because I question it though, but because I feel that so many people are afraid that if they take a job with someone, they can no longer be an entrepreneur.


That is completely incorrect.


Being an entrepreneur is not only about owning and running your own Frozen Yogurt Stand or selling an Ipad App, its about problem solving, forward thinking, looking at a company from all perspectives and understanding each, and so much more.


Joining a company like Acumen Brands, I am able to take everything I have grown to be as an entrepreneur, and apply it to another company at many levels.  This does not mean that I am bringing a bag of the ‘secrets to success’ with me and that everything that I have learned and done in the past as an entrepreneur is correct or the best way of doing something.  I can assure that it is not.  That is another thing about being an entrepreneur: you must always be learning, adapting, questioning, and growing.


John James, the CEO of Acumen Brands is a serial entrepreneur.  He has built a number of very successful companies in the past and is currently building the biggest of his portfolio.  John is someone that I have looked up to since the minute I met him.  Throughout our relationship, I have received countless amounts of advice and mentorship from him.


John is now my boss and I couldn’t ask for someone better to call ‘Boss.’  John is sure to tell me when I make mistakes, offer me suggestions and direction, give advice when needed, etc.  He is someone that I am able to learn from on a daily basis in order to continue to grow and develop as an entrepreneur and a person.


John told me once, “I wish that I would have had someone to work with and learn from when I was your age.”  I am very lucky to have that opportunity.  I dont think that you fully realize how important it is to get that experience until you are thrown into it.


To my point: You can be an entrepreneur and work for someone else.  You should work for someone else at some point.  Seeing how experienced CEO’s work and make decisions, getting real world experience with a fast growing company, learning from those around you.  Often times as entrepreneurs we rarely get these opportunities.  The opportunities are essential in the growth of an entrepreneur though.


My advice: If you are a young entrepreneur, look for a CEO that you look up to and a company that you admire and can relate to.  Talk with the CEO and see if you can work with him/her or see how you can get involved in any aspect that will allow you these types of experiences.  I promise you, most CEO’s of their own companies will remember when they were in your shoes and offer to help in some way or form.  If you are lucky you might just find yourself a part of a great company for the long haul.




(I handle Interactive Marketing at Acumen Brands which is the parent company of,, and

14 thoughts on “The Entrepreneur Employee.”

  1. Josh,

    GREAT post. Real maturity in this. I completely concur.

    Couldn’t be more excited for you, bro. It’s going to be a privilege to watch you take over the world in the next few years. I hope you will have a job waiting for this entrepreneur.


  2. I was asking myself this question too and this post is spot on. Is John ok with you working on your stuff too or is it seen as not putting enough effort into your job?

    1. Tudor,

      The majority of my time is being devoted to Acumen Brands and nothing I am doing outside of AB is interfering. With that being said, I am able to work on my outside thing ventures. You know there is enough hours in a day and week to have three full time jobs? I sleep 3-4 hours a day. :)

  3. You’re lucky in that you found a high-growth start up to work for, which invariably lends itself to the entrepreneurial way. Unfortunately, the larger and more established the company, the more true the original question becomes. It’s not so much that you can’t be entrepreneurial, but that it begins to matter less and less.

    1. I think that is all about how you take on the experience. I think there is a lot to learn in all situations, big or small. Maybe not as much as in others but the lessons are there to be learned, regardless.

      1. Definitely still ALOT to be learned, especially to the eager. But you lose the ability to see how you impact the company and the customer(my favorite part about entrepreneurship). “impact dilution”

  4. Hey Josh,

    Congrats on the switch; I am looking forward to see how you and Acumen progress.

    As I mentioned on Twitter, we’re calling my new role (Enterprise Community Manager) at News Corp an ‘intrepreneurial’ position as it has not been done here before. A month ago, I was working for myself and wrote off working for a corporation for the rest of my life… but then News Corp came a knockin’. I was sold on that they were eager to have startup blood in their organization and are launching a very edgy, forward-thinking 53,000 internal community on Jive Software. The reason I took is to help an organization that size shake their 20th-century, industrial revolution era work habits that plague today’s huge corporations. With their voice and reach I am assuming it will fast-forward many of the world’s companies to follow suit and start harnessing the power of mass-collaboration and technology so that we all have the ability to be entrepreneurs in our own right.

    Mike Fraietta

    1. Mike, Thanks! It is crazy how your VBlog ( and my post are so similar. We should both do posts after a month or so to let everyone know how it is going etc. If anything, maybe we could talk. I think it would be very interesting to hear more about how our stories relate.

  5. Josh,

    To go off of what Mike was talking about above, I’ve come to think of entrepreneurship as a mental state of being, rather than a job title. I no longer think of my work as a typical job, but rather a lifestyle. I can’t imagine going back to work in an environment that is a staid, 9-5 “job”. However, if Red Clay weren’t to work out I would be eager to participate in a project/environment that allows me to contribute with the things I’ve learned in my first entrepreneurial role.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *