I haven’t had a job in more than thirteen years, and I couldn’t be happier—or feel more secure.
While people far and wide, from one end of the political spectrum to the other, worry about who will create jobs and whose fault it is that there are few choice jobs (or job choices), I am happily running a flexible and abundant business.
When people complain that they can’t find meaningful employment, I suggest they try working for themselves. These people often react to my suggestion with a litany of reasons why it’s impossible, unfeasible, or not an option.
Security is Relative
I find it sad that many people have been snowed by the idea that a job = security. Security is a relative concept and one that is built on fear of loss. The idea of security is sold to those afraid of losing things—whether material goods or something more ambiguous, like status.
There is no security in collecting a paycheck from a single employer. None. And lest you think that a corporation, an entity, has your interests at heart, allow me to set you straight. It doesn’t. But you know what? That’s ok. Armed with that knowledge, you have the freedom to make a choice. The choice to determine your future and the work you do and for whom, or to relinquish control to the whims of an employer.
As a self-employed person, I create my economy. I support, in part, the lives of others: my talented team and merchants I use for business needs. Working for myself is also helping me get closer to financial independence and greater freedom, in general.
I rest with the assurance that the various payments I collect from a diverse group of clients are a hedge against the precarious position of working for an employer. Have I lost business over the course of the last thirteen years? Indeed, but there has always been another client or project around the corner. I don’t need faith in the market, I have confidence in myself, and I’m damn good at what I do. I’m also fortunate I have colleagues and clients who refer me; who know my team and I provide creative and stellar work.
But, I understand that autonomy is not for everyone.
The self-employed life is not always comfortable, but I would much rather go through life awake and self-directed—instead of numb from job boredom or clock-watching as I wait for some guy in an ill-fitting suit to tell me when I can take a lunch break. I’m too independent and smart for that. And I have a feeling that you are, also.
Self-Employment & Financial Independence
So what does self-employment have to do with financial independence?
I believe that anyone, regardless of income, can find freedom through financial independence—whether that income comes from a job or self-employment. I also believe that working for one’s self is the quickest path to freedom—financial and otherwise.
Consider this: when you create your own work, you choose when you work (mostly) and if you’ll take on other gigs to meet your goals. Also, most people who do leave a job for self-employment find that, over time, their ability to earn increases—and the time spent on work decreases. If you work a 40-hour a week job, plus commute, there’s little time and energy left to create other income streams. To me, this is the opposite of security.
Financial independence isn’t retirement; financial independence is the freedom to stop working for money–whether you choose to do that or not. Self-employment and financial independence give you options. Options to live life the way you want, according to your interests and values.
Having the financial resources to be independent of the need to work for money (true security) is possible for everyone—regardless of life stage, age, or income—you just have to want it and to follow a few simple (not easy) steps to get there.
As my favorite financial guy, Jim Collins, would tell you, nothing beats having “F-You Money.” Collins continues,”There are many things money can buy, but the most valuable of all is freedom. Freedom to do what you want and work for whom you respect.”
Check out Jim’s book (and blog) for more on his money philosophy: The Simple Path to Wealth: You roadmap to financial independence and a rich, free life
So, whether you work for yourself, or are thinking about it—or it sounds like the worst idea in the world—I’d love to hear about your relationship to job security. Have you thought about financial independence? Are you working toward freedom—financial or otherwise?
I think it’s how you view and prepare for the choice. I prefer to work for an employer because my partner freelances and their work is not always steady, despite their incredible talent and experience. If we relied only on their income and/or I freelanced as well we would struggle to keep a roof over our heads AND food on the table AND save for retirement, this despite the fact that we don’t live above our means nor are we in debt and have some savings. I am okay with working for an employer but I will not work for one that does not value my contributions. I have walked away from bosses who did not respect me. After one particularly bad experience I made a plan to put away enough f-you money so I have that choice, and it really makes a difference. I urge anyone who doesn’t have that to start planning right now. I was able to find a job I like with a good employer and I don’t mind my commute. Since I don’t have to drive I can meditate, read, or just stare out the bus window, and I rarely work overtime except during our short busy season.
You’re definitely doing the job thing the right way. If an employer doesn’t value you, move on. And that F-you money is critical for everyone–not just freelancers like me 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
Very nicely done post, and not just because you were kind enough to mention me. 🙂
Also, you have a beautifully designed site and what sounds like an inspirational story.
Enjoy the journey!
Thank you for your kind words–you are my money smarts hero!
I appreciate that you stopped by and took the time to comment and I hope to see you around these parts again (more sensible money talk to come)!