- January 28, 2012
Money, freedom, and lack of petty stuff are reasons we work for ourselves.
When you walk by an Anthropologie store you see some of the greatest DIY artwork in the windows. Fantastic displays that incorporate ordinary objects into beautiful creations. The store windows change every month. It makes you want to go inside, where there are even more scenes set up around the store to complement the products on display. My friend Emily makes those actual displays, and has been a visual merchandiser for Anthro for more than a year now. She has been promoted to one of the top performing stores, and recently got an hourly increase. Her pay raise was less than a dollar an hour. Do you miss working hard all year to get no monetary benefit from your efforts from the company you worked for?
You work for yourself and get three key benefits. You get the benefit of more of the money you earn, you have the freedom to set your own hours and productivity, and you can cut out all the petty things that come with someone else’s work rules.
I used to be a 6-figure corporate executive. I effectively paid half my earnings in taxes every year. Even 6 figure bonuses could turn into half that amount very easily after taxes. Now all the money earned from customers goes into the company bank account, and you choose how it is spent.
Yes, you now have office overhead, payments to vendors and health insurance. But you can still maintain the same standard of living by earning less money in total. Because many of the things you used to pay for with after-tax money is now a business expense and paid for by the business.
Take into consideration the possibility that there is no longer a cap on how much you can make. Before, you had a salary and maybe some additional monetary perks. Now, if you do something great, you get to keep all the profits generated by the activity.
What actually happens is you make as much gross income as before, but you just get more out of it because effectively many of your old expenses are paid pre-tax instead of post-tax.
Your kid has a school event in the middle of the day? No problem. You have no pressing work on Friday? Take the afternoon off! The flexibility to manage your own work hours many times means you work at non-traditional times of day. But it also means you can do what’s important to you, and schedule your work when it’s convenient. This is in contrast to the 90% of workers who are stuck at work for 8+ hours a day and have to manage their personal lives remotely without their boss finding out.
Many business owners I talk to cite the freedom to control their work timing as a key non-monetary incentive to never go back to a paycheck job.
No Office Politics, Dumb Rules
The bigger the organization, the more effort you have to put in to office politics to get your projects moved forward. Layers of approvals, meetings to get consensus, who needs them? One of the advantages of having your own business is cutting out all the useless crap that takes up your day and keeps you from doing actual work.
Who said you have to be there before your boss, leave after your boss, go to endless meetings? Rule makers who are concerned about command and control, not volume of work output. With your own business you can throw out all those silly rules that would keep you and your employees from being as effective as possible in the least amount of time.
No Ceiling, No Safety Net
On the positive side, there is nothing that limits your income except your own ideas and efforts. The down side is there is no net that gives you a paycheck even if you have not done any work. (Unless of course you have trained your employees so well that you can make money without having to show up at work!)
The jobless economic recoveries are becoming the new norm. More and more people will give up (in)secure paycheck jobs and start doing the same work on their own. Embrace the fact that you are already out there, hustling for work and in control of your money, freedom, and free from the annoyances that employers impose on their employees for control. You are the new workforce that will define this next new economy for your secure future.