Confessions of a Capitalist: how a serial entrepreneur became a dirty commie

hello I'm American Johnson and I'm a recovering capitalist in this video I will share with you the cautionary tale of how I fell from the graces of the small business community and came to become the dirty commie that stands before you now this is non-compete and these are my capitalists confessions I've had an entrepreneurial spirit since an early age I can remember in middle school watching these infomercials for these Ronco products one of them was a furniture restoration varnish and I thought that what I could do is go around my neighborhood I lived in the suburbs and pick up old furniture from the side of the road bring it back to my house rub some of this varnish on it restore it to its original luster and flip it sell it for a for a huge profit margin furniture that's right that's how my dad put bread on the table another product that I wanted to buy was this food dehydrator that they were selling I thought I could make things like beef jerky and fruit roll-ups elements cool maybe make some kind of a lemonade stand on steroids and just make a fortune selling these of these high quality nutritious snacks to people I have a price here today that'll knock your socks off fortunately my parents didn't go for those ideas I even showed them little like spreadsheets and business plans that I would write out in these marbled notebooks but they just didn't take the bait so I never got to test those business ideas out but I did always have this fantasy in the back of my mind that one day I would be a great entrepreneur fast forward to my college days and I was studying film and marketing and media and I got an internship at this very small little advertising agency and part of the work I was doing was helping with the books and that included invoicing and I couldn't remember very clearly I had the strong memory of sitting at this desk with this big huge CRT Nan flat-screen monitor in my face typing up this invoice and the company was billing a client fifty sixty seventy five dollars per hour for work that I was doing and I was not making that much money I was making like less than minimum wage since this was an internship and you know they did have some expenses they had some overhead they had equipment to buy an s sort of thing but I was helping with the books so I knew this company pretty well and I knew that the finances and I knew that they were making a hefty profit margin on my labor and I remember just having this epiphany that I was not going to be a chump like this for very long and that pretty soon I would turn the tables and I would be in that position where I was the one that was making a dime for every nickel my employees were earning so as quickly as possible I put together a business plan I actually went to this Small Business Development Center got some free consultation made this huge 90 page business plan and and while I was still in college at the age of 19 I had found in my first business so I was able to take out a few thousand dollars in student loans by myself this big old non-hd standard-definition TV camera and some cheap lights that I managed to find on eBay they came from China got some microphones and I went to work I was probably about 22 years old when I hired my very first employee and I can remember just being so excited that I had finally achieved that dream of putting myself in the position where I could send somebody out pay her $10 per hour and I could build the client 50 or 60 dollars myself now as a small business owner I believe that I was doing the right thing I thought that I was becoming a job creator I thought that I was becoming a pillar of my community and I really did care about my employees and the reason I'm saying this is because I want you to know that as a leftist now today as an anti-capitalist I don't believe that all capitalists are these evil monstrous villains I don't think that they are all bad people I think actually what's much more scary is the fact that good people who think that they're doing good work in the world can actually be causing a tremendous amount of harm and that's exactly what I was doing now 2008 2009 rolls around I've got a pretty big client list mostly nonprofit organizations and small businesses folks that have a fairly small budget so they can't afford the multi-million dollar agencies out there and what happens next she's gonna be one of the watershed days in financial markets histories the Dow tumbled more than 500 points after two pillars of the street tumbled over the weekend Lehman Brothers a one hundred and fifty eight-year-old firm filed for bankruptcy I was getting invoices later and later and later and then the money just stopped coming in I had all these employees to pay I had all these bills to pay so I went to the bank and I pulled out a huge line of credit they gave me a ten thousand dollar line of credit with no collateral basically just some cameras and stuff but it wasn't worth ten thousand dollars I had I had an American Express with about five or six thousand dollars on it I had a Discover Card with five or six thousand dollars and a few other credit cards here and there that I was personally liable for and I used all of that money to pay the bills and to keep my employees working even though I didn't really have a lot of work paying work to go around so I was trying to do my best to keep this ship afloat and I was doing it all basically alone now if I could have changed one thing about that situation if there's one decision I wish that I had made it would have been to share that company with my workers to transform it into a cooperative worker owned firm that would have solved so many problems before me for one thing one of my biggest problems was employee motivation I wasn't even before the the economy crashed I wasn't able to pay my employees very much you know we were a small business I had bootstrapped it up and and we didn't have a lot of capital to go around so I couldn't pay them very much I couldn't offer them any kind of health insurance and this is before the Affordable Care Act so you know insurance we've been five six seven hundred dollars a month per employee and that just wasn't possible and so naturally the employees you know they were all constantly strapped for cash well we were all basically poor and it was hard to motivate anybody to work so I ended up picking up a lot of the slack myself I was working 60 70 hours a week it was incredibly stressful and if I had just turned over the business and shared it you know if we had just turned it into a co-op we would all have that same scent of that we'd all have that same ownership in the company and it would've been so much easier to to distribute the work and distribute the pressure so that we call could all have been kind of moving in the same direction it certainly would have been better for myself financially as well because it's not like the company had all that much value in fact it was heavily laden with debt now even if I didn't unload that debt since it was all kind of personally in my name I could have at least shared the future building debt with them and we could have taken on that risk together there are just so many reasons why I wish I had turned it into a cooperatively owned worker-owned institution and why did I not do that why did that thought never even occur to me well it's because of a certain kind of selfishness and it's the most unproductive kind of egotistical pride driven selfishness I had put myself in this mindset where I believed that the company was mine I had built it from the ground up I had been working at this for years I wanted to be in control I wanted to be the owner and that was any other option would never even have entered my mind at that time I felt like I was entitled to the autocratic control direction and ownership of this company and why why did I have the sense of entitlement why did I feel like I had the authority to be the autocratic dictator of this little business the only reason was that I started it you know I was there first what a childish state of mind to be in what a what a terrible excuse to have that much authority and control over other human beings because think about it when you own and operate a business as a sole proprietor like that as a as the capitalist owner operator you have complete authority over the workdays of all of these people that you're working with and it's so unjustified it's such a terrible flimsy excuse for having that kind of power I mean really what excuse could there possibly be to restrict workplace democracy we spend most of our waking lives at work and and these people these these cap like I like my former self you know why would I have that much power over your workday there's just when I look at it now I can't understand the logic it makes no sense for for so much power to be in such a small number of hands and it's not a small insignificant amount of power I mean I was choosing how much people were getting paid I was choosing whether or not they even had a job to begin with I was choosing how they were spending every hour of their day at work it's a lot of power for somebody to have and it's a very arbitrary reason for somebody to have it and I certainly didn't earn that kind of power and that kind of tyrannical position and yet I held on to it for dear life and I I think I you know I got off on being able to call the shots being the boss I think that you know that gave me a sort of a prideful egotistical mindset that was very difficult to get rid of and I know that I wasn't alone because I worked with a lot of other capitalists and small business owners and CEOs do you know my client I had up in my career I've had well over a hundred clients and most of them are wealthy business owners and I will tell you something this is kind of hard to articulate but when I walked into the office of a fellow business owner as an entrepreneur as a person with employees even if my business was smaller and even if I made a lot less money than they did they kind of looked at me as sort of like on their level in a certain way and they would share things with me they would complain about their employees they would talk about their personal lives with me in a way that they do not talk to me when I'm in a worker employer relationship with the capitalist or when I'm in a freelancer client relationship with a capitalist I I know that they saw me in a different light when I was a business owner and I had employees I know that they didn't look down on me the way that they looked down on me now as a freelancer it's a much much different relationship when I go into a client's office as a freelancer as a gun for hire or as the hired help which is probably really how they see me versus the way it used to feel when I walked into their office as a fellow capitalist there's just this and it's not something that was conscious it's not something that we ever explicitly discussed it was a prejudice against working class people that we all shared and I've had capitalists tell me in in discussions online and in real life that I must be a pretty shitty person and I must've been working with some pretty shitty people to have that kind of a point of view about workers but I'm telling you I've worked with a lot of capitalists and if it's not a hundred percent it's in the high 90s it's a predominant mindset with the capitalist class they do not respect working people they do not see workers on equal footing with themselves and I am ashamed to say it but it's true I was in that category myself I looked down on working people when I was a capitalist and I thought that I I was a superior in many ways even though I wasn't making a lot of money I never got rich I never got wealthy but I felt like they were suckers and I was on the winning team as it were and I had figured it out and I was smarter and I was I was superior in so many ways to average working people and remember I started out as a capitalist at a very young age I was 19 years old when I started my first company and I spent very little time in the workforce before becoming a capitalist so basically all of my 20s I was a capitalist I didn't have working-class experience like most people have at that age but now I've had that experience and I and I've seen both sides and I can see that this is just an unjust unjustifiable system that we have here with capitalism the fact is that capitalism is a system where a very small number of people have way too much power they're able to accumulate far too much wealth and they're able to steal the value of the labor of their workers and shame on us you know shame on my former self to have spent so much time day in and day out in that office with those people every day of my life with the sole intent of fleecing them of doing everything that I can to try to make it so that I could pay them 10 bucks and put 50 in my own pocket that was that was my goal with that entire endeavor that took up so many years of my life and so much of my energy and I'm glad that I basically failed I ended up giving the company away to my employees I sold them all the equipment took all that debt onto my own shoulders personally which is the subject for another video about how I ended up basically not paying that debt back but the point of the matter is I'm glad that I'm no longer a capitalist and I'm glad that things didn't work out with my companies because if I had succeeded and if I had become wealthy I would be the bad guy I would be the villain and I'm so glad that my life worked out differently and that I'm standing here today having come out on the other end of this realizing that the work that I was doing for so long was destructive to our society to our planet into my workers and I doubt that any capitalists out there are gonna see this video and if you are a capitalist watching this I'm sure I've probably pissed you off pretty badly by now you probably don't want to hear something like this but maybe there's something in the back of your mind like I think there was something in the back of my mind when I was a capitalist I think I knew that what I was doing is some extent was wrong I think I realized that my employees were getting a bad deal and that the behavior of a capitalist is exploitative but it was deep in the back of my mind and I pushed it down with all that propaganda about the free market being a gateway to freedom and and a method for harnessing human nature and greed to push and propel society forward but somewhere in my mind I knew that what I was doing wrong and that my employees deserved better and that I had never earned that kind of autocratic tyrannical Authority and if you have that voice in the back of your mind and you're starting to doubt this system of capitalism if you're looking at the wealth and equality in our world if you're looking at the direction our society is going talk to me reach out to me let's let's have a conversation let's keep this conversation moving forward I am more than happy to engage in a good-faith conversation with any capitalists or pro capitalist or if you're thinking of starting a small business let's talk let's see if there's if we can find a way for you to accomplish what you want to accomplish in a less exploitative manner and if you're a working-class person like I am now I'm sorry for the role that I played in perpetuating this system I'm sorry that I exploited your fellow workers and I'm sorry that the system continues with such power over your lives and I hope that together we can somehow some day put it into it so that's it that's my confession you now know the story of my rise and fall as a small businessman if you like this video I hope you'll give it a big thumbs up leave a comment let me know what you think and consider subscribing if you didn't like it call me a beta kook and move on with your life I'm American Johnson this is non-compete we'll see you next week take care of each other now here's the host of amazing discoveries welcome to our show today's program is all about hidden treasure got your attention huh but before you go searching for your shovel listen because the kind of treasure we're talking about is in your own home right now just waiting to be discovered you see it's hidden treasure that most of us think is junk let me show you what I'm talking about take a look at this old useless piece of furniture and that belongs in a junkyard or maybe someones fireplace a useless wardrobe turned into a valuable antique in minutes

  1. So you when you were working for a marketing agency you thought they could be paying their employees more money.

    Then you started your own marketing agency and figured out that there just was not that much money out there to pay employees?

    I just don't understand you keep going back and forth between you are making a lot of money of your employees and how successful you are. But then you say you can't pay them more to motivate them, because there was not a lot of money?

  2. I just want everyone to know that I used to work for a "non profit" and the low ball estimate I heard for how much my superior made was a quarter of a million dollars annually. My coworker had been with the organization 11 years and she's living out of her car.

  3. You failed at business and gave up as a capitalist? Can't say that I am very inspired.
    If you would have relinquished a successful business that would have been a story worthy of being told.

  4. I looked at my mom working 3 jobs and how she scraped and struggled to keep food on our table and a roof over our heads and wondered why are we still so poor? I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I tried the method… But I knew I didn't have the capital it took to really "pull myself up by my bootstraps" and make a investment. I barely made any money when I started working a job as a cashier. Constantly trying to buy and trade stocks and not really having enough to even save (bills, food, ect). I realize now that the Author was like these infomercial people… A salesperson. Someone to sell you a dream or make you think you need to take their advice and I'll make it. Even though they are selling you a dream. I knew something was wrong. I just couldnt figure out what. Then I webr on YouTube and found Robert Riche Contrapoints, and other informative channels, this Channel was the final nail in my capitalist coffin. So now, I spread the word to my friends and others whom are going through the same thing. Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad again…. It's really terrible. Its a long time coming. But I'm glad that now I know. Workers of the 🌎 Unite!

  5. Important story to have out there. Thanks. I’m also curious as to how different exactly the freelance work you’re doing now is. How much difference there in mere word choice. Words words words what do they mean? They still hold influence and power.

  6. A couple of thoughts: if you're making a living as a freelancer, you're still profiting off of the exploitation of other human-beings labor, you're just a few steps removed from it. I'm not saying that this makes you a bad guy, we all have to meet our basic human needs. What I am saying is that the capitalist system's so endemic, that until humanity figures-out a better way of being and embraces a post-scarcity mindset, we're all capitalism's "beta-cucks".

    I'm trying to make it as a visual artist and right now the only model under which I know how to attempt to succeed under is capitalism- I hope I find some folks that are more creative than myself who have come up with better models or we just have a radical shift that solves the problem for me. Until that time, I'm working toward becoming a "good guy with some money" that can help to fill Congress with proper Lefties like AOC. I'm looking forward to checking-out more of your content and hopefully I can get some better ideas.

  7. You can make a small cash flow in public school by selling home made brownies and other simple pastries.

  8. Had the same mindset in my 20s watched 2008 and got laid off.

    Thought I was gonna be the next no name hot shot day trader making bank from my computer at home watching currency prices in the fire market.
    Failed misreably

    Fast forward 10 year and almost 40 if I had have started 5 years earlier with getting out of the capitalist mind set and into the working class mindest, I'd be making 38 dollars an hour in a union at Boeing now with a house wife and kids all paid for by being a worker instead of a year and a half from now

  9. Grew up liberal, become more conservative over my later teenage years but finally took the breadpill and became an anarchist

  10. You know, whenever I think about 'class' in modern society, I think of the classic economic divisions: 'working class', 'middle class' and 'upper class'.
    But I never thought of applying the old Marxist categories of 'capitalist' and 'worker' (or 'proletariat') to today's society. Doing that completely shifts my view of the political landscape.
    There are workers who make a lot more money than some business owners. An accountant working for a big company will probably belong to the upper class, whereas a convenience store owner might belong to the middle class. But one is an employee, a wage laborer, while the other is a capitalist. The accountant might lose their job because of an upper management decision, or put in extra hours to no benefit to themselves, while the small business owner can have a higher degree of control over their life.

    Now what fascinated me in your video is the solidarity and kinship you felt as a small business owner with wealthier capitalists, and the reciprocity of it. Even though you belonged to different economic classes, you still felt a sense of belonging to the same class of people.
    But the 'big company accountant' will rarely feel solidarity and kinship with a cashier at the supermarket. And a garbage collector will rarely think of themselves as belonging to the same social class as a high level government employee with a six-figure salary.

    There is solidarity among capitalists big and small, but there is none among workers. And wages, I'd venture, is a big reason for that.

  11. Those words you used "owner operator" are not used in any industry more than in trucking. Most owner ops have no employees.

    Im the sole owner and operator of my trucking business. I get paid by delivering building materials and eauipment all over the country. Never took a loan. I just wage cucked until I bought a truck cash. How am I, though maybe well intentioned, helping to hold back society from utopia?

  12. Overall a well-supported argument. I still don't know where I stand after watching this but I will remain subscribed anyway. The one thing that did stick out was 1:13 where "fortunately" his parents didn't support his dreams and creative endeavors (despite the planned presentation, and not some improvised fantasy), simply dismissing it. That would have crushed me as a child. 😥 Good thing he had the fortitude to let that slide!

  13. my partner works for a small business owned by 2 guys. they currently have 2 employees (including partner). the other employee has been talking about wanting to make it a worker's co-op, he is very much a communist and thinks it would be only fair. my partner strongly disagrees tho, and says that the owners deserve to make profits because they took financial risks getting the business off the ground. the other employee says that obviously they should earn more until theyve earned back what they initially sunk, then after that all 4 should earn equal shares. i think this sounds reasonable, but my partner still thinks it isnt fair on the bosses. he says its about more than just the raw monetary value they put in to get it started. its about compensation for their risk, that is the incentive for people to start businesses. if workers co-ops were the norm, there would be no incentive for people to start small businesses, and apparently this would be a problem. i personally am not sure where i stand. i like the idea of workers co-ops but it is true that someone is the one who put in the initial effort and took the risks. someone paid/is paying for all the equipment and facilities. it seems like its not that simple. idk. explain to me how it's fair to just kinda ignore all the stuff that goes into starting and maintaining a business just because profiting off labour is unethical? the workers wouldnt be able to do the labour in the first place if it weren't for the facilities provided by the initial risk by the owners? this is in good faith. i really just want to hear it put in a way i can understand.

  14. sometimes you see a channel in your recommendations and go like "Ehhhh i'll watch it later" then when you finally do you're like "why didn't i watch this before!" and i got that big mood from you homie, keep it up

  15. It's cool that you realized Socialism was the way to go. From the moment I had my first little political awakening till now I've only drifted farther and farther left, especially after having to endure working full time and long time unemployment.

  16. One of the greatest myths in our society today is that anybody can become the driver of their own destiny; the "start your own business, be your own boss"narrative is part of that. Modern capitalism is dominated by corporations, which do not allow much room for entrepeneurship.

  17. I am ready curious as to the evolutionary root of capitalist solidarity.

    Racism, religious prejudice, and nationalism are easy to explain. They are just scaled up tribalism taken to a bad place.

    Misogyny is easy to explain. It is just an exaggeration of natural friction between conflicting male and female reproductive strategies used to justify oppression of women. Who doesn't enjoy some good old oppression of women when give a chance, he said flippantly.

    But the mutual respect that Capitalists have one another reminds me of noble largesse, Heian aristocrats, and faux-familial treatment between bronze age monarchs. Why is that elites seem to grant a kind of courtesy or rights that they extend only to other elites? Stone age tribes were pretty egalitarian. The only think I can think of is that leaders who automatically treated others leaders with respect were better at passing on their genes than leaders who gave unknown leaders the same level of respect as any other stranger.

  18. wooow i was looking for videos like this. all the small business videos i see here is just a sea of amazon fba where people profit off of the cheapest chinese labor. its time for a better perspective, i think.

  19. Wow, what a lovely video & it takes BALLS to say that stuff. Kudos to you & hugs. I could tell it wasn't easy for you, but it's sooo needed.

    I started writing up a LONG comment again & just e-mailed you instead LOL

  20. I agree with you. But then, why didn't you pay them more? Instead of paying them $10 and taking $50 to yourself, you could've paid them $30 per hour and cashed $30 as well?

  21. I've bashed commies my entire life. Better dead, than Red. Imagine my horror when I realised that I , in fact, held primarily communist beliefs. It made me physically ill. But I realize, that for me and a million others have come to use commie when referring fascist authoritarian governments, rather than the societal & financial structure it actually is.

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