Yesterday, I mistyped ‘learn’ as ‘earn’ into our company Skype chat… which in a roundabout way started me thinking about the balance between what you get paid vs what you know and how different that is working on a startup like SocialOptic vs a regular paid job.

Learn before you Earn…

In a Startup, you have to do a whole lot of learning before you have any chance of earning. Learning what problem your customers have that you can solve; Learning how to find your customers; Learning how to build a product or a service that people will part with money for. The ‘earning’ bit comes later, much later.  In our case there was at least a year of learning before even the first penny was earned.

Earn before you Learn…

In our Skype chat I wondered out loud what the other end of the spectrum looked like and @caalie pointed out that paid employment is a good example of earn before you learn. From day one in a job, you are paid by your employer despite the fact that you don’t even know where to find the toilets. Even though you may have a huge amount of knowledge in your specific field, all of the learning you need to do in terms of what customers want / how to improve things etc are paid for in advance (in some cases years in advance)

Does Earning = Learning (ever)…

So the, as yet unanswered, question I was left with is… in what situations does the earning and the learning balance? I can’t think of any. I can imagine scenario’s where you start at one end of the spectrum and move toward the middle, but are there any ‘day one’ scenarios where earning = learning ? Feel free to put me right in the comments section.



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