Corporations or partnerships have an advantage. Several people work together nicely (at least they are supposed to). Corporate employees depend on one another, train one another, cover for one another. They’re in the business together, develop loyalty toward the widget/service, band together for the corporate cause. They’re team players.
They need to be. They’ll be replaced if they aren’t.
I’m self-employed. It’s a much different game. I’m not totally alone; I have my professional confidants, my friends, and my team of loyal contractors. But I don’t have a boss to ask for guidance, or coworkers to ask to cover for me, or employees to manage. I’m not told what to do or given manager training sessions to show me how to do it. When I make a mistake, the blame doesn’t get lost in a sea of employees. I’m the kid with the hatchet in his hand next to the chopped down tree, and I need to ‘fess up and own it.
I live with a major handicap: I’m on my own.
The advantage? I’m on my own. It’s nicer than you might think.
- I don’t need to slow down and ask permission of my boss. The market is my boss, and I’m in the driver’s seat of innovation.
- When an opportunity comes my way, I am able to jump in it. No need to submit a request or make a presentation to a committee or a board. I am able to take advantage of the opportunity. Or not.
- I don’t have to manage a workforce or maul over job performance interviews. I simply hire contractors (for me, those are my writers and coaches) and focus on the job that needs to get done.
- If I don’t know how to do something, I figure out how to do it – I go to a seminar, walk through a self-help video, buy the required software. Whatever it takes to get the job done.
- I still make mistakes, just like any corporate employee. But my mistakes really aren’t mistakes. They’re growing experiences. I’m able to learn, adapt, and do better next time around.
I’m free, really. I’m self-reliant. Free to do what I love – then build it, work it, sell it. It’s risky (I can fail just as easily as succeed), but I believe it’s worth it.
Do you think so? I suspect there are many people who fear the idea of self-employment. I’m doubtful that the fears are justified. What’s your take on it? I’d love to hear from you.