By Andrew Neitlich

Thanksgiving for the self-employed

By Andrew Neitlich

Well, it’s Thanksgiving here in the USA, a great day to give thanks for all we have (and drink and eat a lot, too; I must confess to being a bit buzzed on champagne while escaping from in-laws to write this).

In terms of business, here is what I am thankful for:

– Being 100% in control of my own destiny. I get out what I put in.

– Not having to report to a boss that I don’t respect.

– My commute is 15 seconds, from my bedroom to my office.

– Lots of clients, instead of just one employer.

– No risk of a random layoff from an executive team that neither knows nor cares about me.

– I can choose my own clients and assignments.

– In this world of broadband and virtual teams, I can call on world-class resources anytime from anywhere.

– A network of top notch resources and business partners to keep rolling out and testing new ideas.

– My time is my own. If I want to work at 6 am, walk the dogs at 11 am, play tennis at noon, and work again in the afternoon (or see a matinee of Sponge Bob with my son, or go to the beach), I can!

Life is good, and I am thankful.

How about you?

  • Andrew, I’m pretty much in the same boat, though doing a somewhat different thing. I’m doing it for all the same reasons you mention, and then some. Mostly, for me, it’s about control. I enjoy having advice from knowledable people, but I could never reliquish control on major decisions.

    I’m getting out of the home office thing, myself. Too many distractions, not enough room, and I’d like to hire someone as an assistant. The anywhere in the world with broadband thing is really intriguing to me, and we’re toying with the idea of selling the house and moving to Europe. With services like Vonage, I can even keep my current phone number.

    Maybe I can free up more time for golf by next summer. :)

  • webnology

    Very motivating words. I am just trying to start, yes trying. I know I should say: I am doing it. But I want to test the waters, while keeping my day job as a security. Which gives me a big problem. I have no time enough to really focus on my second job. But after reading these nice things, I just just give it a try. What can go really wrong, anyway ?


  • BetaCygnus

    Well I can relate to webnology’s comment. I’ll be shifting from forty hours to thirty-two hours in a month or so, to have more time as a fledgling designer. To me, it’s more of a creativity thing: in my current day job (for which I *am* thankful), I don’t seem to be able to employ the gifts and talents the Lord has blessed me with. I long for more satisfaction in my daily work. Breathing space. The big skies. I long to spread my wings and fly. For now, it looks like a *HUGE* step to take. I reckon it’ll all look different once taken to flight…

  • lanzaman

    I have worked for myself for so long that it is difficult to remember what it’s like not having the freedom to do what I want, when I want.

    That being said with advancements in technology and communication links, I now find myself being able to work when I want more than ever before.

    I work with top quality people from around the globe, yet I can still pick my kids up from school everyday – well almost – without it being a problem.

    I live on a small island barely 50 miles long and compete for business on a global scale as and when I choose.

    Sure, self-employment can bring its own problems and has different issues to deal with, but I for one wouldn’t want it any other way.

    Life is certainly good.

  • saltwater

    Good to hear you guys, for me its just an aspiration as yet.

    One day maybe, one day!

  • Ikarys

    The reasons I like working for an employer.

    I have contracted for a couple of years, but I don’t find it enjoyable.

    – im in control of my own destiny. I can contract if I want, or I can change employer.

    – you get what you put in. Everyone has the ability to change their work environment, or process. Changing a process to be more streamlined, efficient for everyone is a team is great. This applies to contracting also.

    – I can excel some weeks, go out and have fun, and slack off the next. I get paid regardless, and I still have a drive for quality and productivity. I just have a buffer for those lazy days.

    – I have a good job, my bosses respect my knowledge, and allow me to communicate my ideas. I try to make this happen at every employer I’ve been at. If it doesnt occur, I change.

    – My commute is my excercise :) And its nice to have a defined reason to excercise each day. Im a tech geek, and i probably wouldnt leave the house to much without this drive.(damn you sony)

    – Lots of clients. I dont have to find the work, but i still give technical direction.

    – While clients and assignments are selected, not being picky leads me to a diverse adoption of skills (moreso than when i was contracting).

    – I have human contact all day every day. Work at home was too boring, monotonous, dreary and lonely.

    – I dictate my price as i would in a contract. (i get paid my contract rates in full time salary at the moment, but i was very lucky)

    – If I get laid off, I get benefits.

    – I have task of training juniors, so hopefully Im increasing the quality of the industry (unless i dont know what im doing heh).

    – I dont have to worry about tax, or super.

  • cob

    I am currently working towards that. Although I’m not in any rush, I haven’t found my niche yet.

  • Joseph

    Yea, mine still on the planning stage. I’m still afraid to make that step.

  • I’m thankful, starting to get ahold of OOP in PHP.

  • thorbergdt

    HERE HERE !!!

  • Randy

    Drunk before noon? LOL

  • jguad1

    It’s gotta be 5:00pm somewhere in the world(wide web)…

    Don’t be afraid of being your own boss: be PREPARED. Read up on how others did it, what they wished they had done differently, etc.
    And get a good accountant whom you can trust! Taxes are not pretty; but for accountants they seem to be…

  • You have listed the advantage, here are some disavantage :-)
    1. I don’t go out so often like before, my health is getting worse.
    2. Smoke more since I can smoke at any time, no meeting, no discussion.
    3. Have to accompany my girlfriend whenever she wants, because she knows I’m always free.

  • 2. Smoke more since I can smoke at any time –> get over it

    3. Have to accompany my girlfriend whenever she wants, because she knows I’m always free.
    –> yeah you got a point there :D

  • Somchai

    I totally relate. Computer Consulting gave me more money and freedom, etc… Though I don’t do it anymore (retired at 34), I’m a techno-evangelist for the younger kids that need a little push in the right direction.

  • guenter

    One thing to thank for especially: To know this “Down to business” blog which is inspiring me and my small business since summer 2003. Thanks Andrew!

  • jdat2020

    I’ve searched high and low for a relavent home business that would suit my talents but everything I find requires such a big investment. I have found that this is a hugh draw back and keeps people like me from ever getting started. I dream of working from home and being my own boss but it seems impossable for your average joe like me. Then I find this site and it refreshes my hopes. So I’m thankful for the good people here that share their advice and success stories. Thanks.

  • Tiffany

    RIGHT ON! The ONLY thing I miss is my guaranteed regular paycheck – but I’m only in my second year. Things are looking up and LIFE IS GOOD!

    Snellville, GA.

  • Eva U

    Agree with all the good things about self-employment,..this is the first 6 months for me and some hard lessons learned, but definitely more flexibility with my young son etc, and if you’re sick (as i’ve just put my back out at the moment) its great not to have the phone the unbelieving (usually !)boss and do the grovel thing…downside is no sick pay of course ! So focusing on the good things help you deal with the down side, e.g., uncertainties about winning clients etc, uncertainties about pay. The good sides are achievable with lots and lots of positivity, professionalism and hardwork..the usual !

  • articleworld

    I also love to be a self-employed. Working on my own timings, no boss and I am enjoying.
    Check out this introduction article on Self employment:
    4.Tax implications

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