As many long-time readers of any of my sites may know, I have been self-employed for about 5 years now. I left corporate America to strike out on my own, and I hope to never ever look back. Sure my income is a pittance compared to the money I was making working for “The Man”, and I definitely don’t live anywhere near as care-free as I used to, but I have many reasons why this is perfectly fine with me and is a trade I consider totally worth it.
I’m probably going to have to work into my retirement years unlike many of my friends who have been putting aside a ton of money, but the difference is that I won’t have just spent 45+ years doing something I hate just to retire “on time” in old age. Of course I can’t say that everyone hates their job, but I rarely ever hear someone say that they love what they do from 9-5 Monday through Friday, and I refuse to let that be me. So with that in mind, and maybe to encourage any of you thinking of making the switch to self-employment to go ahead and do it, here are 10 things I love about being self-employed.
1. The ability to control my own destiny. I make my own hours, my own choices in projects I will take on, and I take time for myself when necessary.
2. The concept of a “secure” corporate job is a myth not to be trusted anymore. No matter your position or employer, your last day could be today — there is no more corporate allegiance to employees.
3. I can travel at will, taking my job with me. Whether to the coffee shop or to the other side of the world, I have free will to go where I want when I want.
4. If I want a day off, I just take one.
5. If I want a month off, I just take it. No waiting for corporate sabbaticals, the unemployment office, or a lottery win to give myself any much needed time off from work. Most European countries have it right in that they require companies to give workers much more time off than we get here in the U.S., as time off for responsible employees makes for much happier employees.
6. Most of my work days I do have to hustle to make enough money to live on. The old days of boringly staring at the clock until 5pm in my over-sized office are gone for good, thankfully. There is nothing worse than being bored somewhere that you have to stay at at all.
7. My efforts online will usually pay out more than just once. What I mean is that for almost every article I publish online, regardless of the subject matter chances are I will continue to earn some income from it for at least a few years if not longer.
8. No more commuting. I hated commuting, especially here in Los Angeles. My commute now is from my bedroom, to the kitchen for coffee, and to my office in the other bedroom… all while in my pajamas.
9. I am voicing my opinion and getting paid for it. How many people get to do that for a living? Sure, I’m not a political pundit appearing on CNN or an entertainment reporter showing up on Regis and Kelly, but my work is seen by thousands and thousands of people each and every day, many of whom take the time to let me know how it has helped them. You just can’t beat that reward for doing your job, and it’s something I never received in corporate America.
10. I’m happier than I ever was reporting to my desk at the office.
Once one can eliminate money as the sole reason to continue working at a job they aren’t happy with, the options are limitless. In the end, all the money in the world isn’t going to make you happy and/or help you live to 200 years old to enjoy everything you accumulate. I have gladly traded a high income for a much better quality of life that works for me; could it work for you?
Have you made the jump already to self-employment? Thinking about it? It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure, but I bet there are a ton of you out there who wish you could ditch the corporate job for something more fulfilling. It’s all about putting the idea of “I need to make a ton of money” to the side and instead concentrating on what would make you truly happy. What do you think?
(photo credit: mudpig)