The Case for Self Employment

Recent studies found job satisfaction at an all time low

wage-slaveMost of us have already spent a large chunk of our lives in a job. And by job I mean working for somebody else, picking up a wage slip at the end of each week or month and normally feeling as if it doesn’t show anywhere near enough ££’s for the hours you spent tied to that desk, to that till, to that mop or to that driving wheel. Whatever it is you do for a living, even the phrase “for a living” is a bit of a mismatch. Let’s face it, this isn’t living, it’s existing.

The alternatives? Signing on? Well that’s not an option for many people – either your partner works so you wouldn’t be entitled to anything anyway, or it just doesn’t sit right with you that you are capable of work and have a job. So the only other option is to go and work for yourself. Thats the purpose of this blog post, to discuss working for yourself. So, lets start by looking at the main arguments against shall we?

  • You have no guarantee of income
  • You have to be incredibly self motivated
  • It isn’t “real” work
  • All that paperwork!
  • My friends / family / peers all say its not what sensible people do

Change comes from withinAll of the above are very real concerns, and are things that ran through my mind MANY times in the past. In the end, we are conditioned from birth to get a good education, get a job, work 40 – 50 years doing the same rubbish day in day out, perhaps get a promotion or two so we can do slightly different rubbish for a few years, buy a house, retire and die. This is what society tells us is “life”. Personally I don’t really see much room for living in there. Please don’t misunderstand me, I know there are hundreds, if not thousands of people out there who absolutely love what they do. But I am guessing by the fact you are still reading that you might not be in their midst.

Do you find yourself wondering if there is more to life than this? Wondering why there is always too much month at the end of your money? How other people you know always seem to be able to afford stuff you can only dream about, or how they don’t seem to have anywhere near as much debt as you do? Do you post updates on FaceBook about how you hate your work, grumble to your friends about your hideous boss or your smelly workmates? Fed up with the ridiculous policies at work which mean you spend huge amounts of your time on pointless tasks? Get annoyed with the customer always being right when you know full well that they are actually about as wrong as you can possibly be? All sounding a bit familiar isn’t it…..?

So, lets go back to those reasons why you should stick to the safe employed job you have right now and avoid self employment, but lets try putting a slightly different viewpoint on them…..

  • You have no guarantee of income. Do you have a guarantee right now? How many businesses have gone under with zero notice leaving staff with unpaid wages? How many times have you heard of or known people to lose their job through no fault of their own? How about instead we look at your income. Do you honestly believe you get paid the amount you add to the value of your workplace? I can answer you very simply – you don’t. It would not be worth an employers time to pay you unless they were getting more out of the deal for themselves. Trust me, I have been an employer in the past – if I paid a member of staff £500 in a month, that member of staff HAD to bring at least £750 extra in to the business every month. Does that seem fair to you?
  • You have to be incredibly self motivated. You hate your job, and yet you still drag yourself in every single day, stay there all day and go home ready to do it all over again the next day. Myself, I think you are already incredibly motivated. Now imagine directing all that motivation in to something you LOVE doing.
  • It isn’t “real” work. True, most self employed people do things they genuinely love doing. And when you love what you do, you don’t normally think of it as work…..and yet you still get paid. I have NO idea how this is a negative to self employment! Those premier league footballers collecting hundreds of thousands per week….that isn’t real work either, but their bank managers seem pretty happy with their income levels.
  • All that paperwork! This largely depends on what you do. However, I can honestly say that my paperwork in total probably amounts to one week per year of work. How much paperwork do you have to do right now in your job? More than 2% of your work time? Think I might be ahead on the paperwork stakes here….
  • My friends / family / peers all say its not what sensible people do.  And I am guessing that they all go to work, and a fair chunk of them hate their job too huh? Life would be pretty dull if everybody was sensible. Don’t you owe it to yourself to do something you love?

What do you want your life to be all about?

Your Future is YoursWould you like the next 20-40 years to trudge past, then look back and wonder where the time went and why you never pushed your boundaries? As if you have wasted what you were meant to be just because you listened to your friends and family, you listened to the way school conditioned you that this is what life is all about?

If you KNOW that life is meant to be so much more, then you really should at least once in your life try working for yourself. I would never dream of telling you to quit your job or to tell your boss exactly what you think of them (although it would be so good for your soul if you just could do that!), but perhaps you should try working for yourself alongside your job.

    1. Working for somebody else means you are giving them more of your time than you have for yourself – If you work a 40 hour week for your employer, 5 days a week you are giving them more of your waking hours than you have for the rest of your life. Does that seem like a sensible arrangement to you? If you look purely at this fact, you would think you were looking at conditions of a prisoner, or a serf in medieval times. Surely the person who should have most control over what you do in your waking hours is YOU?
    2. Working for somebody else is a dangerous comfort blanket. Knowing you have a “guaranteed” (see previous point about just how guaranteed this is) income can mean you don’t ask yourself those important questions like WHY it is vital to fill in that stupid form, or WHY you need to spend 4 hours doing a risk assessment before carrying the shopping indoors. You are allowing somebody else to set the rules for your life, and because you accept their control of your time you stop questioning what they are doing with that control.
    3. Working for yourself is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you will ever do. Sure, if things go pear shaped its all on you. But what better motivator to get it right? We all know that things can and do go wrong. I would never tell you that things are always perfect when you work for yourself. You WILL have horrendous days where nothing goes right, and you will have days where you get stressed, anxious and second guess your decisions. However, when you get those decisions right you will find the most rewarding and amazing experiences. Knowing you did it all by yourself is the best sense of achievement possible.

There will never be a better time than now

So, if all of this chimes with you, if it is starting to make sense, then you are ready to take the plunge and start working for yourself. Perhaps don’t jump in with both feet straight away – consider setting up by yourself as a part time venture to begin with. But now is the time, today is the moment. How do I know this? Two really simple reasons – you will NEVER be younger, and I promise you that you will NEVER get more prepared. No matter how much research, talking, investigating etc you do, self employment is guaranteed to throw things at you that you never predicted.

The best preparation is experience, and the only way you will ever get experience is by doing it. You will need a chunk of courage, you will need a massive dose of determination and you will need to find energy from places you didn’t even know you had. But you will be doing it for YOU. For your FAMILY, and for your FUTURE. If that doesn’t motivate you, nothing ever will.

Sacha x

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