Author Topic: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?  (Read 3482 times)

BookLoverL

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 248
  • Location: England
Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« on: December 04, 2017, 06:39:29 AM »
Self-employment and entrepreneurship have both advantages and disadvantages compared to typical full-time employment. I wanted to see what reasons people here had for taking the leap to self-employment.

Personally, after I graduated and made a series of attempts to begin the standard employee career path, I realised I just wasn't cut out for 9-to-5 life or office politics at all. I was so happy when I discovered Mustachianism half way through my first job, because that meant I could leave in 10 years rather than 50. But later, I realised that while I could play the part of the good employee initially, my burnout rate at a job was closer to 3 months than 10 years. So that was when I took a good look at my skill set and preferences and decided that I had to at least try self-employment. I decided to try freelance proofreading.

Now I'm self-employed, I'm already much happier. I still have a fledgling client base, so my income isn't that high yet, but I haven't had to set an alarm in months, I don't have to wear uncomfortable outfits or shoes, and I only have to put on my professionalism face if a client rings me or if I set up a meeting with one, rather than for 40 hours a week. Even if I end up "failing", I'll still have learned a lot from the experience, and I'll have gained valuable freedom during the prime of my life. But here's hoping I never have to go back to the office.

Rubic

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1054
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 07:54:24 AM »
One major advantage for me when I was self-employed (i.e. prior to forming a real LLC with employees),
was having 30+ clients.  I had just left a stable, but boring job at a University and my parents were
concerned about the risk I was taking.  However, I was able to point out to my father that I was in a much
better situation than most employed people.  The worse loss of any one client would be a 5% decrease
in income.  When you are employed, job termination results in 100% loss of income.

There were also obvious retirement account and tax advantages.

One disadvantage -- for me -- was that I could never take a proper vacation because I had to be
available for client emergencies.

SC93

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 607
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 02:59:58 PM »
I was a loser working dead-end jobs. If I hadn't of started my own business I would be that guy trying to stay with everyone... finding new 'friends' to stay with them.... always borrowing money. No way could I ever hold a job for more than 6 months. Some I showed up and quickly left because there was no way I could take 1 day! lol Working for someone else just was not for me. I still don't know how anyone can do it. I am amazed every time I hire someone and they show up for work!!

Then my first business was mowing yards. At that time.... Wow! I can make $15+ an hour mowing yards? Cool. Then I started doing other work for my customers, I added on a helper although I could never find anyone to work a straight week. Now I knew how my old bosses felt. But my new feelings were.... I can make more in a day mowing/odd jobs than I could in a week working for someone else. I was hooked. Then I started a cleaning business with my now ex-girlfriend and from there it took off. The cleaning business afforded me to start other businesses and live a nice life. I consider myself very lucky to have found something that kept me from being a bum.

wordnerd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1071
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 04:25:12 PM »
I decided to try freelance proofreading.

How did you get started in this? Were the clients professional contacts you already had? Or did you find them some other way?

BookLoverL

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 248
  • Location: England
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 03:23:12 AM »
To be honest I only have a couple of clients so far, in the friend or the friend-of-a-friend category. I've only been doing the self-employed business for a few months, though, so I'm sure I'll grow to a larger number of clients in the future. I think once you start producing good work for a couple of clients, people will start recommending you to people more by word-of-mouth.
In terms of skills and having some sort of qualification to present to potential clients, I took some of the online courses from the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, which seems to be the most well-regarded group for this field in the UK.

I am glad that I'd discovered Mustachianism beforehand, though, because that meant I've got a buffer of savings to help me along until I start making a larger amount of money. I'm still much happier already - whilst the careers I had been thinking of before I became disillusioned completely with 9-to-5 work were potentially more lucrative ones such as teaching and accounting, like SC93, I knew already that I'd never find a job I actually wanted to hold for even one year.

bwall

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 440
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2017, 07:02:27 AM »
I was thinking about this thread last night as I watched the football game at a local watering hole. I overheard a fellow at a neighboring table talk about the person he'd just met the day before and how he could work as a brand ambassador for his company. He was genuinely excited at the concept of 'a great job/opportunity' to work for someone else. I was surprised at how surprised I was to hear this. I guess that's the result of 20 years of 'eating what you kill'.

I didn't chose self-employment, it chose me. I went to Uni in a foreign country where I didn't have a work visa. So, formal employment was off the table. I earned money teaching English, translating and other odd jobs. Then, just before graduation I met a person who wanted to sell items in the USA. So, I returned to the USA. I remember looking at a map of the USA and trying to decide where I wanted to live. At the time I recognized it as a luxury that many people never have in life.

After about six months of the self employed life and lifestyle, I was hooked. No going back for me. Some years I didn't make much money at all, some months I made more than many people here would consider a great annual salary. Within 15 years, I was FI.

For me, it's freedom more than anything.

gavint

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 29
  • Location: Germany
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2018, 07:45:38 AM »
I have a huge problem with authority figures.  I had big problems with my parents until I moved out (now we're great friends), hated school and dropped out of uni, and have always had friction with bosses. 

I'm good at what I do, so I've never been fired, but I was never happy as an employee.  In my field, bosses tend to be bipolar, micromanaging jerks, so it's just not fun for me working for others.  I found bosses to be constantly nitpicking and critical, and stingy with praise, the worst was my last employer here in Germany.  Even less fun was being a foreman, constantly taking shit from two sides.  Trade that in for comments from satisfied customers on a daily basis... way better.  In general I feel the service provider - customer relationship is much more equal than is the boss - employee relationship.  I'm much happier now.   

It's a big freedom thing, being able to design your own day, complete projects how and when you want to, plus earn what I feel I'm worth.   So a big boost in income is also a major plus. 

cjtorkelson

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2018, 12:56:20 PM »
I am still in college at the time studying business and I think I want to find a way to start my own business sometime in my life. I have talked to and even worked for someone who built his seed sales business through Pioneer Seeds and he just recently sold it and got a job higher up in the company. He didn't like having his own business as much as he thought he would because during the spring it he was so busy that he wasn't able to be with his family as much as he wanted too since his kids are young. So I learned from him to make sure you think about all the time you are going to put in while trying to build your business and whether or not you want to give up some of your other hobbies or in his case, being around his kids while they grow up.

FreelanceToFreedom

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2018, 11:02:00 PM »
I guess I'm unique in that I never actually had a normal job. I've always been a freelancer, since I was 16 or so.

nara

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 187
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2018, 06:19:05 PM »
I work in a high burn out field where I was changing jobs every 2 years on average. I realized that I no longer wanted to work for companies that were forcing a heavy caseload upon me and burning me out. I became an independent contractor and saw that I could make the same amount of pay working half the time. It was a great life for a few years--but then I started thinking about the future and thought it would be a good idea to hire employees so that eventually I could retire. At the point I'm at now, my business is more of a full-time job than any other job I ever had. There is no coming home and being finished with work. The work and and stress never ends , but financially it is very rewarding and will lead me to FIRE faster than index funds.

SilveradoBojangles

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 314
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2018, 07:59:00 PM »
I didn't choose it, it chose me. I was in grad school, and people began approaching me to do some consulting work on projects. And it kept happening. I was rapidly figuring out that academia wasn't for me, but I did really like the freedom and flexibility to set my own hours and work from anywhere. So I decided when I graduated that I would finish my current project and then get a real job. Now I've been at it for 5 years, and the work has kept coming.


SeattleCPA

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1234
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Redmond, WA
    • Evergreen Small Business
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2018, 06:21:28 PM »
Some really good comments here.

+1 to @Rubic +1 to @gavint

BTW, I think self-employment is basically an alternative to the standard MMM or Bogleheads approach: Small Business Entrepreneurship Route to Financial Independence.

Here, BTW, are my seven reasons for starting a small business...

Wichito8

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2018, 01:16:45 PM »
I'm glad I found this blog with its solid topics about financial independence.  Reading all your responses make me feel good that I'm not crazy about thinking of going on my own.

This won't be last post for sure.


ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3589
  • Age: 27
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2018, 02:19:43 PM »
GF is a photographer, and has been self-employed as such ever since she's been able to support herself with photography (~4 years ago, age 22).  She's so specialized that it's basically her only option (nobody is looking to hire a full-time showdog photographer), and she loves it.  The money she makes is directly tied to how much work she does, she can take weeks off at a time, and she can turn down shitty clients.

trollwithamustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 566
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2018, 09:27:38 AM »
I got into it after a small company boss encouraged me to try being a 1099 (easier for him!) and I wanted to try to put 50K a year in my 401k.

I've stayed with it as its let me work as a real engineer. And I make more money on short term assignment rates than I would otherwise, or would have to become a manager to make.

controlling how your benefit dollars are spent is pretty nice too.


Fishindude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1840
Re: Why Did You Choose Self-Employment?
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2018, 10:45:00 AM »
Kind of stumbled into it.  The boss said he was about done and asked myself and a couple others if we would like to take over the business.   It was that deal, or likely be out of work.   We worked out a deal that got him paid off pretty quickly and the rest is history.   Having spent 30+ years self employed, I would encourage anyone to do the same.   You have so much better control over you career, than working for the other guy.