Should you work for yourself or for someone else is becoming a more and more common question people are asking themselves. We’re in the information age of idolized Silicon Valley start-up entrepreneurs, social media powerhouse personalities and off the beaten track vagabond CEOs.
The general public is becoming more and more aware that getting a job isn’t their only choice. Getting a job is no longer the default choice for fresh graduates entering the “real world” and it’s becoming an ever increasingly attractive option for veteran employees. But working for yourself instead of someone else is still the uncommon route.
Working for yourself is still seen as the riskier option. There is this perception that a pay check every month isn’t guaranteed and that the chances of business failure is far greater than getting laid off from a job. And it's not completely false, but it's also overly dramatised to scare people off.
The headliner statistics aren’t helping either. Only 20% of businesses survive the first 5 years.
That’s the popular statistic people like to throw at you. But how well does this statistic represent the whole picture of entrepreneurship?
I’m going to argue, not so well.
That famous statistic encompasses every possible type of business in every industry and market. You can imagine the success rate of a brick and mortar toy store in an aging neighbourhood compared to a hot dog stand at a tourist attraction.
The statistic is also horribly outdated. The statistic was from the early 2000’s where e-commerce was still in its infancy and small business financing was limited to traditional banks.
The number one reason for business failure is insufficient cash flow and banks use to never favour small businesses. (especially if you’re a first time entrepreneur) But now with crowdfunding, and low cost ecommerce business models; cash flow isn’t as big of a problem anymore.
Another thing to note is that many business owners sell off and move on from their business before year 5. Many serial entrepreneurs start businesses with a clear exit plan in mind. That exit plan is often to cash out.
The reality is many small businesses are able to fulfil their intended purposes for the business owner.
But that’s not to say working for yourself is completely risk free. I’m just saying it’s no more than working for someone else.
We have deeply ingrained cognitive biases that support employment over entrepreneurship. Our exposure from a young age is heavily skewed towards working for someone and becoming an employee.
Our parents are statistically more likely to be employees themselves, almost everyone we know in real life will also be employees. Our education systems are built with the sole purpose of preparing the youth to get jobs.
So although more people are thinking about this big question “Should I work for myself or for someone else?”, not many actually decide to work for themselves.
Even when the average person will get laid off 3 times in their entire career.
Even when more and more fortune 500 companies are making mass layoffs to cut costs.
Even when job security is so heavily linked to the health of the economy. (and economies are increasingly turbulent with the increase of information transparency)
People are still choosing employment because it’s familiar to most of us. That inherently makes us think it’s “safe”.
In fact, I fell into this cognitive bias myself, but in the opposite direction. My parents retired early from being serial entrepreneurs. Most of the adults in my life while growing up where also business owners and the amount of people that had careers or a job were actually the minority.
I grew up thinking entrepreneurship was the default choice. I saw businesses fail just as how others saw people get laid off, but I also had far more examples of business success.
Extreme success actually.
This entrepreneurial environment I grew up in made me think early retirement is normal. It’s made me think working for someone else is risky because I’m handing control of my financial security to someone else. It has made me think that if I’m going to work hard, I want to reap the bigger share of the benefits.
So I started working for myself right after University.
Has the decision been risky?
My honest answer is no. There’s been moments of doubt, challenging periods of time and many failures, but the decision hasn’t been risky at all. I’ve successfully created 6 different streams of income for myself, 4 of which are passive income that gives me time freedom over my life.
I didn’t start elaborate businesses with financing from a bank nor from friends and family. I didn’t start a business in industries my parents or other close family friends could have mentored me in. I didn’t even start a business with much or a business plan! And I still created a better financial situation for myself compared to most employees.
I managed to do this by minimising the most common problems businesses face. I chose businesses that required little set-up capita. I chose an industry and market that was already developed and proven. I also chose a business that had a relative small learning curve.
All of this helped me find success against all odds.
Just as people choose to major in areas that provide better paying jobs in industries with high demand and low supply. I did the same thing, but for entrepreneurship instead of employment.
By now you should understand the answer to whether you should work for yourself or for work someone else isn’t a matter of which is riskier. Instead, it’s a question of how much control do you want over your life.
That’s because the difference between working for yourself and working for someone else is the amount of control you have.
Control over your work when it comes to what you do, how you do it and when you do it. Control over your life outside of work when it comes to how long you work and how flexible your work schedule is.
Obviously working for yourself is going to provide more control, but working for someone else will minimise your responsibility. The responsibility of thinking about employees, satisfying end users and ultimately business success.
So I suppose at the end of the day, work for someone if you’re not comfortable with the idea of being responsible for your livelihood. Otherwise work for yourself and start a business because the high level of control gives you unprecedented freedom in life.
You don't want to regret not trying. You don't want to feel like you wasted years of your life by the time you have the courage to quit your job.
Working for myself has allowed me to put my family first when I manage my time and I’ve also had the pleasure to travel extensively. I get to choose the direction of my business on what I want to do and at what pace I want to do it at.
Every business, product and project I work on is something I fully support and am passionate about. I wake up excited to work and I love there’s no limitations to my earning potential as a business owner.
These are some of the perks of having control over your life gives you.
Check out my Kindle publishing page if you have decided working for yourself is right for you. Kindle publishing was the first passive income business I created and it has provided me $2000+ every month without fail for a few years now. It’s also a business model that minimises all the main risks of business failure.
The set-up cost is as low as $250 and the learning curve is minimal compared to most other businesses. You can effectively learn the whole process within a few days and hone your skills within months.
The market audience is huge and reliable thanks to the business model leveraging Amazon resources. But the best part is the ability to make it 100% passive within