The Why To of Choosing Self Employment

Choose something that you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. This ancient proverb, which has been attributed to Confucius (although this is debated), reverberates into the 22nd century and was the epiphany for my choice to hire myself at age 28. In a 2009 study by the Pew Research Center, it was reported that

“Self-employed adults are significantly more satisfied with their jobs than other workers. They’re also more likely to work because they want to and not because they need a paycheck.


The Pew study shows that nearly four-in-ten self-employed workers (39%) say they are “completely satisfied” with their jobs, compared with 28% of all wage or salaried employees.

Here are some of the reasons why the self employed are happy.

Work Style and Life Style .                                                                        Live While Working. This is an interesting phrase. When I was in my early teens, my father sent me to work on a farm one summer and I discovered that life and work intertwined daily. Life didn’t stop at 7 AM and then restart again at 5 PM. This epiphany of an idea led me, before age 30, to start my own enterprise and, to then fine-tune this business model into one that gave me a great deal of flexibility. I took my core skills in writing and design and joined them with a newfound ability to sell, forming my own small ad agency in the process. For nearly 40 years, I was able to grow my business, support my family and still have time during the work day to spend with the kids, go running or otherwise participate in my personal interests. Life didn’t just happen on weekends.

Crafting Your Career, Sculpting Your Life                                                 In the modern American workplace, especially in white collar jobs, people seem consumed with work. Many large corporations build attractive work campuses to encourage people to spend longer time at work. Exercise centers, team building outings and off-site activities are all designed to increase your sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself: i.e. belonging to the company. In fact, you already do owe your time to something bigger than yourself and that is LIFE!. Your family, your friends, your life interests should all take precedence, or at least equal measure, with your work life.

Focus on Opportunity, not Security                                                       ‘Get a good job with good benefits and you’ll have no worries.’ Well, that just ain’t true anymore. Job security went out the window years ago and employee benefits are being trimmed. Want job security? Hire yourself, create an enterprise that is determined (for the most part) by your own wits, skills and determination. For those truly interested in self employment, the first task is to retrain your brain. Forget job security and start thinking about opportunity. Is there a way you can use your skill set to make money? You won’t really be losing all that much as various studies show that the self employed and employed earn about the same annual median income.Where it really varies is in the long term, where the self employed tend to out-earn their employed peers. The difference is in the freedom to capitalize and build on opportunity.

Determine What You Want From Your Work                                 Over my many years of speaking in front of businesspeople, and working with smaller businesses and professionals, I have seen how making the decision to be self-employed, for the wrong reason, can come back to haunt you.  There are many ways to be self-employed, successful, and happy.

Find a work-style that works for you, for example:

• You like structure and organization at work, but you don’t want it to be someone else’s idea of structure. Then choosing to start a traditional business, perhaps with employees, may suit your life style.

• You like to have direct contact with customers/clients, and enjoy doing the work or creating the product with as little outside interference as possible. Then, perhaps you should consider being an independent contractor or running a solo enterprise.

• You’re interested in wealth accumulation and retiring early enough to enjoy it. Then you’ll probably want to focus on an enterprise that offers passive income potential, such as selling products which offer an ongoing return.

For many self-employed people, success is not only measured by money brought in, but by freedom of ideas, of creativity, and of time to live life.