There seems to be a popular misconception out there by people that work as employees that self-employed individuals have nothing but free time and are on vacation 24-7, while the rest of the world is grinding away at a J-O-B. Ask any entrepreneur if this is true and, after they manage to get their laughter under control, they will agree that this is the farthest from the truth.
While the huckster on the TV infomercial hawking a get rich quick scheme would like you to think that if you only had the courage to kiss your day job goodbye, you would quickly find yourself in the land of expensive cars and big houses, sipping a frothy drink at some exotic seaside location, nothing could be further from the truth for the average entrepreneur. Being self-employed is not about sitting around eating bonbons and sipping margaritas poolside – it is about something much more important.
It’s About Freedom
Once you get a taste of it, you never want to go back. Even when you factor in the ups and downs associated with being the one steering the great ship SS Entrepreneur. Even after feeling the daily stresses associated with being your own boss. There is no turning back after you have gotten a taste of freedom that goes along with no longer working for the man and being in full control of your destiny.
What exactly is this freedom that the self-employed enjoy? Here are a few examples:
- No boss – What would you act like if you no longer had someone telling you what to do, breathing down your neck? Would you sink or swim? Would you be a success or just another statistic? Having no boss means you are in command and can no longer look for assistance from someone who should know better. It also means freedom from a tyrannical supervisor who is about as clueless as a newborn.
- Do what you want, when you want – I don’t mean that you only work 30 minutes a day spending the rest of your waking hours lounging around (unless you have stumbled across a great secret, and if this is the case, lets talk!). What I mean is that you can organize your time in the way you see fit, working on whatever part of your business needs attention right now, ensuring everything gets done in an efficient, timely fashion. This also means that if you have the opportunity to go for a walk in the park, then take it. After all, you don’t have a boss chaining you to a desk telling you what you can, and will, do between the hours of 9 to 5.
- You are in control – For the good, and the bad, you are the one that makes the decisions vital to the success of your business. You no longer have the luxury of pointing the finger at someone higher up when things go bad. It is scary to have this kind of responsibility, but it is all very freeing and liberating to be the one in control.
Where Did My Free Time Go?
Contrary to what Tim Ferriss would have you believe in The 4-Hour Workweek, the average self-employed individual puts in many more hours than someone working 9 to 5. Let’s not forget that the idea of a day off, or a vacation, is foreign to most entrepreneurs. To many small business owners, the concept of free time is something from their past, and something that they hope to encounter somewhere down the road. Being your own boss is a lot of very hard work and is all consuming.
Before too grim of a picture is painted, let me remind you that working for yourself is not about free time – it is about the freedom that one gets from being their own boss. To achieve this kind of freedom, sacrifices must be made, including giving up free time. In the end, it is often times worth it for those few individuals that take the risk of stepping into the great unknown of entrepreneurship.
It’s Not All Rainbows and Unicorns
Any entrepreneur will tell you that everything isn’t always rosy in the land of small business, but most wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Well, maybe they would trade it for millions of dollars so that they could live the life of exotic cars, mansions, and white sandy beaches that the pitchman on TV promised. Short of that, the idea of throwing in the towel and going back to work for someone else sends shivers down the spine of most entrepreneurs. It may not be all rainbows and unicorns, but it sure beats the alternative!
Marshall Davis runs Talking Small Biz, a website dedicated to exploring all that small business has to offer so that those that want to can realize their dream of being free from working as an employee. Through is new interview series he highlights entrepreneurs that are working hard everyday to build a successful business that lets them enjoy the freedoms associated with being self-employed.
SimplifyThis is an online invoicing and web appointment scheduling tool that gives entrepreneurs greater freedom from administrative tasks.