An old mentor of mine said, “I’d rather have my income come from multiple sources instead of relying on one source.” When you think about it, that makes incredible sense. There is a famous idiom that applies to this very idea, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” So, if getting your income from multiple clients with your own business makes more sense than getting all of your income from one company, why do so many people work for companies? Because they buy into the myth of security and consistent income.
According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, the median tenure of workers ages 25 to 34 years is 3 years. Meaning that most college students, after graduating, will work for at least 3 companies within their first 9 years in the workforce. This day in age they may be working for a startup with the hope of hitting it big. There is one problem. More than 90% of startups fail, due primarily to self-destruction rather than competition. So, by working for startups, even if you were hopeful that you could get married, buy a house and have a child, the chances of you being able to support your family, are slim. It’s not only that you may not be able to keep your job, but that while you are there, you won’t have any time to meet your future spouse. Silicon Valley Tech Workers spend 55 to 70 hours a week at their jobs. Whether you work for a startup or not, the hourly work week has gone up. The average person works 47 hours, not 40. So, with no security, no work/life balance and no consistent income, maybe the idea of being an employee for a company isn’t as attractive as we thought.
I have found it interesting that over the years, half the people I meet are surprised that I have been self employed as long as I have. When I tell them that most days, I get to take my daughter to school, pick her up, help her with her homework, make her dinner and tuck her into bed, they don’t believe me. The truth is, I’ve been doing it for years. I love it. The only way I’ve been able to do it, is to be a self employed contractor. The biggest myth with working for yourself, is that you work less. You still work a lot, but you work on the stuff you like to work on and you get incredible flexibility. It’s true, when you are self employed, it doesn’t feel a lot like work. You can literally work a lot or as little as you want. You can make a lot of money or just enough. You can have conference calls while you are walking your dog and send emails to clients while waiting for your daughter after school. You have to be resourceful, tune in to opportunities and love what you do. If all that sounds good to you, you can do this forever.
I think everyone should have their own business. Even if you work for someone else, you should have your own business going on the side. When you know what it’s like to create something from nothing, it’s magical. You see the power in it. You see the freedom in it. Your priorities change and your personal life comes first. Knowing that bill’s are coming and you need to make a certain amount, just so you can pay that bill, gives you more understanding about running a business than most companies I’ve met. Running your own business is not for everyone. I’ve met plenty of people that think they want their own business, but really need that social attention and self importance that an office provides. In addition, some people feel they perform better. Maybe for them, having a business going on the side, would let them hone their skills to bring back to the office and help that company succeed.
I am not company bashing. As a self employed contractor, I work for and continue to work for, great companies. The best part is that I get to choose those companies. I can choose to work for them and decide when to stop working for them. It’s limited risk for the companies, because they don’t have to incur the expense of hiring a highly skilled employee and it’s great for me, because I get to work from home and spend time with my family. If I decide to stop working for companies and do my own thing, I can do that too. After awhile, you start to realize that the concept of risk is relative and can be manipulated, minimized and even set to the side. When you start to see the benefits and possibilities of running your own Web Development Business, the opportunities are so vast, you might ask yourself, “So where is the risk again?”