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Thursday, September 2, 2010

43 Reasons to be Self Employed

I love being self employed. Even during difficult times, even when I don't know where my next contract is coming from, the freedom of setting my own hours and having a wide margin of control over my work just can't be beat. Here's why you too should consider starting your own business:
  1. Your OTJ meltdowns should be less often (and less drastic) than this.
  2. The internet allows you to to take care of most of your business yourself; you don't need an advertising division, a secretarial division, and an accounting division, like you did in decades gone by.
  3. Start up costs can be minimal--websites are cheap, Skype is cheap, mailing costs are free (via email), etc.
  4. You can write off a whole bunch of expenses on your taxes which you can't do as an employee.
  5. You can charge less than big firms yet still make more than if you actually worked for a big firm.
  6. Staying small allows you to stay flexible. One part of your business isn't doing so great? Change it or dump it. No biggie.
  7. You can often work from anywhere (although why people choose to work in noisy, distracting coffee shops is beyond me!).
  8. You can pick your clients and your co-workers. Don't like a client? Don't work for them.
  9. You can be way more creative than in a run of the mill job.
  10. You can work as much or as little as your want.
  11. You can work without limits. In "regular" jobs you have to be careful of "showing off" by working more/better/faster than your co workers. You have to work certain hours. You have to follow policies and procedures. Ick.
  12. You can develop multiple businesses until you find something that really clicks.
  13. You get to build your own brand...which can be kind of fun.
  14. You can make decisions that make sense. Many businesses operate the same way "because that's the way it's always been done" whether it makes sense or not.
  15. You don't have to work with power hungry middle managers, hostile underlings, and disconnected bosses. In fact, most social wrangling falls away when you don't have a water cooler to gather round.
  16. You can relocate much easier by taking your business with you instead of having to quit your job and find a new job after you move.
  17. You can change your job to meet your needs. Don't like having to be in a shop doing dog grooming? Just develop a mobile dog grooming business. Simple.
  18. You can set your own hours (ie: you can start working right after your morning poker game).
  19. You will have a cool title. Instead of being a cog in the wheel, you can be COO, XO, or CEO of You, Inc.
  20. You may be able to cut your commute (and commuting costs) to nil.
  21. The sky's the limit with how successful you can become.
  22. The sky's the limit with how much money you can earn.
  23. You can retire when you want...or just take really long vacations.
  24. You can leverage the power of the net for just about everything--advertising to millions instead of just the people in your community, selling to million instead of just the people who see your ad in the local paper, doing something amazing that "goes viral" and makes you an overnight sensation.
  25. Overhead can be minimal--these days you don't need a huge office, secretary, and an expense account. Now you can have a laptop, an outsourced secretary in India, and you can make your own coffee at home.
  26. You won't be alone. Now more than ever you will find people through blogs, forums, and other online source who are self employed just like you.
  27. There's almost nothing you can't learn online. Henry Ford used to have a staff to answer his questions and do research, now you can use Google.
  28. Your business and life will flow seamlessly together (usually). No more "thank God it's Friday" since your business will become an extension of your life and vice versa.
  29. You can literally start with nothing and grow your business through to an IPO and beyond.
  30. You can focus on work that you enjoy. Hate certain parts of your new business? Outsource or contract out those parts so you will have more time to focus on what you do really well.
  31. Your stress level will decrease...probably dramatically.
  32. Your value system will feel renewed. Working for less than ethical and/or less than honest people can wear on you.
  33. Your new business can take you as far as you want to go. As a cog in the wheel you are rather limited in your time and connections, but as a business owner you may end up hob nobbing with the Rotary, successfully running for office, or impacting policy at state and federal levels. Cool.
  34. You will learn new stuff. Most jobs you can do on auto-pilot, but with a business, you learn new stuff daily in many business and non-business-associated areas. Continual learning is a good thing.
  35. You are free to make changes. Whether you are changing your business model, service model, or product model, you never know...your business might create massive change in your industry.
  36. You will quickly learn about the most important aspects of business--making money and having happy customers. From there you continue to refine your process so you will keep increasing both of the aforementioned items.
  37. You will gain confidence and skills. Your basic job may entail sitting at a desk and typing on a computer. As a business owner, you may end up making speeches, advising others, and maybe even extending your reach by writing a book or giving workshops.
  38. You won't have to worry about your lack of credentials. If people only move up in your company based on how many degrees they have listed after their name, take heart in the fact that in the real world, action and outcome matter more than a person's title.
  39. You can make a business out of just about anything...carving pumpkins, building websites, taking people fishing, etc.
  40. You can create your own job category. If no particular jobs catches your fancy, you can meld together a handful of things you love to do and create an entirely new job.
  41. You don't have to worry about being riffed, downsized, or laid off.
  42. Self improvement will be your new mantra. At a corporate job, people usually keep their head down and do the work they are assigned, however in the competitive arena of self bossers, you need to continually evolve and be better than others or you will be left behind.
  43. You will be in charge of your own destiny. 'Nuff said.