Entrepreneur: Positive egoism promotes success in applications and in the job

Oliver Reetz

Julien Backhaus, young entrepreneur, author and publisher learned early on to market himself. At the age of 18 he founded a marketing agency. At the age of 24 he had his own publishing house. He now leads a media group with around twenty employees and has published several books. He advocates the thesis that a healthy dose of selfishness is required if you want to be successful. However, he believes there is an important distinction between good and bad selfishness.

Good egoism is to think of your own goals and to work actively on them – and to put that first. There is no point in trying to please the whole world. “You have to do your own thing,” says Backhaus. That also means that to a certain extent one does not primarily look at the sensitivities of others.

The demarcation from bad egoism lies in the fact that one does not consciously harm other people in order to derive a profit from it – that is, neither cheats nor plays false facts. Bad egoists would not do their own thing, but would try to take away those others, according to Backhaus’ theory.

Positive egoists are not deterred by saying no

In practice, according to the young entrepreneur, good egoism is beneficial in many areas: including when applying. Many fail at the first hurdle – for example, a good cover letter or because they lack one of the required qualifications.

People with a good level of self-confidence and positive egoism would not let that put them off, says Backhaus. “Really good people work for me who first had to convince me that they deserved a chance.” Applicants would have waited in front of his company and sought contact with him. Sometimes job candidates are simply not good at their cover letters and résumé, but they are convincing when you get to know them personally. Others send him creative videos – that also makes an impression, says the young entrepreneur.

According to Backhaus, the manager you are applying to is most likely also a good egoist who has not let himself be dissuaded from his path. “Otherwise it wouldn’t be where it is,” he says. It is important to recognize this egoism and to respond to it. Build a negotiation profile before the interview: What does my counterpart want? What has he already done? Where were his moments of success? What incentives can you use to reach him?

Let the employer know what to expect

Show your potential new employer what you can do. “One reason people don’t buy something is when they don’t know what they’re getting,” says Backhaus. That can be transferred to an application process. If Backhaus recruits another employee because he has seen how well he works, he knows what to expect from his new employee. Many applicants are completely alien to him – and therefore have to draw attention to their abilities.

For example, if the young entrepreneur is looking for an editor, he needs work samples. It doesn’t have to be texts in the big media, a blog is enough. “Something that shows me that the applicant is passionate about the job.” Because, as Backhaus says, he is not only a positive egoist himself, he also prefers to hire her. The reason for this is that people with this quality show a lot of passion and are very interested in their topic. “You are often better at something you love,” says Backhaus. Positive egoists have the drive to make a career – and therefore also to achieve a lot.

Such an employee is an important cog in every company. “Then the employee has his boss in hand to a certain extent,” says Backhaus. Because then the employee can make demands or threaten to move elsewhere – according to Backhaus, good entrepreneurs usually accept the demand with positive egoists.


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