These are tied to my own personal experiences, but I’ve been pondering a few great reasons (in my opinion) why you should take the path of working for yourself. They are fairly simple and fairly shallow. These are in no particular order and I’m sure I’m also missing MANY great reasons. I’d love for people to comment and add them so I can add to the list!
Reason 1 – A Salary Guarantees You’re Not Getting Paid What You’re Worth
Pretty self-explanatory on this one. If you’re earning a salary, it’s because a business owner felt they could save money by charging you a flat fee for hours as opposed to have you working on a per-project basis. If you feel like the amount of work you do isn’t justified by what you get paid, pray you don’t have a smart boss because you will likely not be in that position for long. A salary gives you a sense of security, which saves many headaches (and heartaches), but working for yourself is the ultimate in determining your true value. Going to the root of money as a store of value, unlocking the ceiling on how much money you make gives you potential to be valued as much as your talents will allow.
Reason 2 – You Will Work Less
This reason is ridiculously misleading and kind of a trick. Work becomes life, life becomes work. You become your brand and every action you take has an influence on what happens. For those who exemplify desirable qualities, this makes things easy. Ideally, you are spending every day doing what you love, or a goal that you love doing. It’s arguable I suppose, but I think working until 4am doing something you love is a great problem to have.
Reason 3 – You Won’t Get Rich Any Other Way
This is tied to Reason 1. I often get asked what the straw was that broke the donkey’s back and made me realize that running my own business was something I wanted to do. I was sitting at my computer working away and letting the latest ‘salary review’ results set in. I looked around the office and made a crude calculation of everyone’s salary, added up all the office equipment, estimated the cost of the building we worked in and all the amenities, and figured out a yearly cost of operation based on those only (didn’t take into account other likely costs like travel, office supplies, etc. etc.). I then calculated the cost of things I knew the owner of the business owned (house, Porsche 911, recent vacations, etc.).
It was at that point that I realized that I was not going to get where I wanted to be from a material possession standpoint doing what I was doing. Not even if I earned double or triple (I was getting paid an average or maybe slightly-above-average new-graduate salary), would I get to where I wanted to be. It was at that moment that I no longer saw a point in working at something that wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be. I put in my notice not long after this revelation. It may sound bitter but I harbor no ill will at where I worked. I’m young and can afford to sacrifice the security of a salary. Just remember, you don’t get rich being a gear in a machine. You get rich by owning or being the machine.
Reason 4 – Make Business Cards and be the Envy of Your Friends!
There are a few different reactions to my being a business owner I’ve seen in the nearly 3 years I’ve been running Denote Communications. Initially, going to friends with news that I ran my own business was met with either open or secret skepticism. Nobody really believed I’d go far with this and I’m sure few thought we’d make it past selling advertising for school agendas and newspapers. I’m sure, secretly, many wanted me to fail. I think most people want to do their own things but don’t have the confidence to make that leap.When they see someone they know do it, they become disdainful. I’m sure some of them (friends mostly) have known me through high school and university and that my ridiculously fun life could not translate into success in the real world.
Two years later with a magazine (We hope Profile Halifax can help in spite some people to take that leap) and several high-profile clients under our belt, many of those nay-sayers have made complete 180 degree turns and gone from hating and mocking ideas to asking for advice or promoting us to others. It’s happened to us…heck…it’s even happened to some of the businesses we’ve helped clients setup! Again, no bitterness, I just think it’s human nature. I’m happy to have great people surrounding me with support and ecstatic to all our current and past clients who hired us before we started becoming a known presence. Their ability to see talent and work with us gave us the opportunity to really showcase our skills and abilities to the world.
Anyway, after you get through those initial growing pains, people seem to love you when they realize that they are interacting with things you’ve created (don’t even have to be big things) on a daily basis. If you think it’s great being able to see something you’ve created go public, I assure you it’s even better when someone else says they saw it. I also think it’s pretty neat that Steve Jobs’ Wikipedia page is longer in word count than Apple Inc. Even if they were the same length or Jobs’ was a bit shorter, I think it’d be impressive.
In reference to the ‘business card’ part of the line. You’d be surprised how much more serious people take you when you have cards and how affordable they can be if you already have a design. If I knew this, and had the Adobe CS skills I have now, I would have had 10x the fun and business success in high school and university. Of course, Denote Communications can help you with your branding and design every step of the way. Contact me personally, and I’m sure we’d be able to help an enterprising young student as well.
Reason 5 – You Will Experience More
Things I have done or learned since starting Denote that I am certain I would not have done otherwise (I’ll even keep it to the ‘without a doubt’ level and not include grey areas):
- Get a job in advertising
- Go from 0 experience to running a 16-Page print magazine of 5,000 circulation. I now know everything from where the paper comes from and what influences its price, how mass printing works (plant tour and all), to how to assemble a team amazing enough to operate the magazine on a regular basis.
- Represent Nova Scotia on a trade mission to Indonesia and Malaysia
- Convince someone to buy something they didn’t know they needed, and saved a business
- Negotiated an advertising deal at midnight at a business owner’s house while surrounded by suspect individuals selling suspect recreational products
- Get a demand letter from a lawyer
- Get legal advice on how to defend myself from a demand letter from a lawyer
- Successfully defend myself from a demand letter from a lawyer
- Have my heart melted by client testimonials for Denote like “You are amazing at customer service and it has not gone unnoticed – it has been great working with you.”
- Help multiple people turn their lives around through running their own business
- Develop personal relationships and frequent correspondence with Presidents, CEOs, and Owners of some of Canada’s and the world’s largest and most successful companies
- Have personal meetings and dinners with the CEOs and Presidents of multi-million dollar corporations
- Meet the Prime Minister of Canada
- Meet several Premiers, Cabinet Ministers, and MLAs in one-on-one situations
- Having a Vietnamese ambassador on Yahoo Instant Messenger
- …lots of things I can’t even talk about for one reason or another
Without a doubt, this is an incomplete list. That said, I really am trying to keep these things short so people will actually read these things. If I missed anything, I’d LOVE it if someone could post below and if I agree, I’ll add it!