I’ve been self-employed full-time for over a year, and I love it. Deciding to start a business, for me, has literally been a dream come true – every day I wake up and I sometimes feel like pinching myself. Even after 12 months, I still feel kind of amazed that this is really my career, and that I’m succeeding at it. I always tell people, “I can’t believe I’m getting away with this!”
So What Do I Love About Self-employment?
- The Freedom. As a self-employed person, whether you’re a sole proprietor or incorporated as an LLC, every day of your life is truly your own. Ever since I started working for myself, I haven’t watched the clock once. I’m never truly bored, and when things are slow, I get up from my desk and go for a walk outside.
- The Schedule. No more waking up early to get to work on time, no more whiling away the hours on a beautiful summer afternoon. If I need to sleep in late, or take the afternoon off, I can do it. If I feel productive late at night and I need to burn the midnight oil, I can do that too. As a self-employed person I can relax when I really need to, and be productive when I really want to be. (Most of the time, I want to be productive!)
- The Money. I make more money being self-employed than I’ve ever made at a traditional job. And although money wasn’t my primary motivation in choosing this line of work, it sure doesn’t hurt. As a self-employed person, there are no limits to how much you can earn (although there is one drawback: small business taxes are a bit more complicated). The only limit is your own choice of which goals to pursue, and how to use your time.
- The Challenge. Being self-employed is a learning experience like nothing else. Every day I’m learning new things, meeting new people, adapting to new demands, and pushing myself in new directions. Not many traditional jobs could give me this kind of variety and constant growth. As a solo entrepreneur, I need to wear many hats. I have to be my own marketing strategist, CEO, CFO, customer service team and collections agency. I need to motivate myself to get the work done and reach my goals. Every day, I need to make something happen and figure out what I’m going to do next. Sometimes it’s really tough. Some days I don’t feel like working very hard. But the constant process of taking that first step, digging deep into your internal resources, and finding that extra level of energy, is deeply important and fulfilling.
- The Relationships. As part of my work being self-employed, I’ve been fortunate to get to know dozens of really amazing people all over the world. I’ve worked on projects with people from London, Tokyo, Australia, Germany, Denmark, France, Panama, Canada and all over the U.S. I’ve gotten connected to an exciting network of entrepreneurs and innovators in my local community who are doing really great work. Being self-employed has opened up a whole new world to me. There’s a certain kind of person who starts a business – they’re trying to create something new, do something that has never been done, and make an impact on the world. It’s exciting to be around people with that kind of mindset and positive energy.
It’s true that you can also get many of these things from a traditional job. You can have autonomy, great compensation, constant challenges and powerful working relationships while employed at a company, too. But from my experience, if you want to have the highest level of “creative control” over your own life, starting a business can’t be beat. It’s like the difference between being a passenger on a cruise, and being the captain of your own ship.