What’s the upside of self-employment?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post by Derek Sivers on the upside of self-employment…

I have been my own boss for 26 years now. It sobers me to realize that I might not have had the guts to make this decision if not for three things:

  • The newspaper company where I was working had a buyout offer on the table — they were offering me money to leave!
  • I had recently given birth to three infants  (triplets) and was deeply motivated to be able to work from home.
  • My husband had a good job so even though I definitely needed to work, we were not 100% reliant on my income.

But even without all of these incentives, I now can see I would still have succeeded. My business has been profitable from year two. I’m a careful person. I plan well and I’m good at budgeting. I’m always willing to roll up my sleeves and work very hard.

And, for me, the benefit of not having to answer to anyone else has more than compensated for the inevitable downsides of self-employment. (Long hours, weekend work, occasional cash-flow issues when clients are slow to pay.)

I thought about all of this when I encountered a Derek Sivers blog post under the headline, “Rock Stars Have a Boss?” Read the piece yourself if you’d like to see Sivers’ take on the benefits of being self-employed.

I particularly liked the way he concluded the piece:

But you only have a boss if you choose to! Nobody is making you serve these masters. Of course, if you don’t want a boss, then everything is up to you. Less promotion, but more freedom. Less help, but keeping all your rights. Riding the back roads, not the highway. Serving no one but yourself. Never forget you have the choice.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on March 5/18.

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