Freedom, Flexibility, and Other Twisted Notions about Self-Employment

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Freedom, Flexibility, and Other Twisted Notions about Self-Employment

When I decided for the first time in the 1980s to go into business for myself, my father thought I was crazy. “Why would you want to work 12 hours a day for yourself when you can work 8 hours a day for somebody else?” he asked. “Because they are the 12 hours I choose, Dad!  I might work 12 hours today, but I can work just 4 tomorrow, or even take the day off… my choice! And – I get to do what *I* want to do.” My response was intended to help Dad better understand the flexibility of being self-employed. But he didn’t really get it. Not then anyway. And, it turns out, neither did I. To many people, it seems like the working-person’s nirvana: the notion that when you are self-employed, you work for yourself, call all your own shots, and can be as flexible as you want to be. No boss to lord over you or to require you do things you would rather not do. No having to call in sick if you don’t feel well enough to work. No co-workers who drive you nuts. No having to work with nasty people. No having to justify knocking off early one day, or taking a long weekend – or not even working at all. Freedom… flexibility…. the ultimate way to make a living! But the truth is – that flexibility is often a crock. It’s a figment of the soon-to-be self-employed person’s imagination. Turns out – Dad was at least partially right. Today I’ll share with you some important distinctions that neither of us realized then, but have become so very apparent since. Since that conversation with Dad, I’ve been self employed on and off for about 21 years in service-related businesses (not advocacy, but the basics are the same); long enough to provide you with the real low-down on the flexibility misconceptions of self-employment – with the important addition that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Let’s begin with that “No boss to require things from you that you don’t want to do”…  In fact,…


 

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