5 Reasons to be Thankful for Self-Employment


5 Reasons to be Thankful for Self-Employment

Thanksgiving is an occasion to reflect on all the things in our  lives for which  we’re grateful, and share that gratitude for the people who  have helped to make it all possible. This year,  as small  business owners adapt to great economic and social  challenges posed by the pandemic, the National Association for the Self- Employed (NASE) offers five big reasons you can be thankful for self-employment.

1. You are your own boss.
Even in tough economic times, independence is one of the biggest blessings of owning a small  business. Being your  own  boss means every bit of work  you do is for yourself.

You own your own time. No one tells you what to do, and no one places limits on your potential. Your time is your  own,  and that means your  earnings are  your  own,  too. With that freedom comes the responsibility of being self-motivated, of course, but it also means the sky’s the limit.

You define your  skillset. When you work  for yourself, you own  your  intellectual property and talents. You also  define what those talents are, both by honing your  professional skills and by recognizing the strength of “real world” experience beyond formal education.

You call the shots. What’s more, being your  own boss means you make the rules. No dress code, no timecard, no requests for vacation days. When you’re working on the clock for someone else, important family events and even basic self-care take second place to the demands of the company. Working for yourself means putting your  priorities in proper order.

You can take risks. If you believe in yourself and your  vision,  that’s  the key to making it happen. No supervisors and bosses and boards to convince, no begging for budgeting and buy-in;  if you want to make it happen, just  roll up your  sleeves and get to work. Whether you’re a freelancing contractor or a small shopkeeper, building a small business on your  own terms is empowering and liberating. There’s  a lot to be thankful about when it comes to being in charge of your  life.

2. You have amazing customers.
When you’re working for someone else,  you may find yourself dealing with prickly clientele who, through no fault  of your  own,  see you in adversarial terms. Tough client relations are  a regular source of stress among workers in sales, customer service representatives, and retail. What’s worse, when relations do go sideways between a business and client,  it’s often employees – not  the boss – who  end up bearing the brunt of a customer’s dissatisfaction. Friction  like that isn’t just bad for your  career. It’s bad for your  health.

You decide who to work with: While a small business owner can’t prevent all friction between themselves and their clients, they have a lot more control over  who  they take on as clients in the first place. Freelancing and small  business contracts are  about mutual agreements, not  compulsion. Clients  choose you, and you also  choose them. Choosing your  own clients can  head burnout off before it ever sets in.

Value-based, respectful relationships: You can build  your  business on your  own ethics and goals, and take on clients (and  vendors) that align with your  vision. As a result, a small  business relationship is a lot more like a partnership. Independent businesses often develop long-lasting, respectful relationships with their customers forged on collaboration, loyalty,  and trust.

Variety of services: Another plus  in the clientele of a small  business is project variety. Your business from day-to-day is built around the custom needs of your  clients. That means less  monotony and more engaging work!

3. Your work-life  balance is (really) realizable.
In the past couple of years, millions of Americans joined the ranks of the work-from-home workforce to find a mixed bag  of positives and negatives.

For some, the overly  long office meetings were replaced with overly  long emails and Zoom calls. Some appreciated cutting the commute out  of their day, while others just filled that extra time up with more work.  Some enjoyed spending more time with their family; others were overwhelmed with the needs of homebound school-age children. Some simply  found they missed the social  aspect of the workplace.

One  thing that’s  clear from the pandemic’s massive work-from-home social  experiment is this: If you’re not  working for yourself, you’re not  enjoying as many advantages of remote work  as the self- employed and small  business person.

The much vaunted “work-life balance” is more realizable when both aspects – work  and life – are actually under your  control.

Being self-employed means being the master  of your own schedule. For the independent business owner, working from home means getting up and walking  away from the computer screen when you need it. It might also  mean working early  in the morning or in the evening, when it’s most convenient for you and the rest of your  family.

Work from home – or not! Flexibility can  also mean working away  from home. Maybe that means an office, and maybe that means taking your  work on the road.

Take your show on the road. In fact, small businesses are  increasingly experimenting with the delivery model of service that once was  the domain of plumbers and pizza places. Now, accountants, financial advisors, beauticians, and others are making house calls.

Bon voyage! Beyond your  own  community, self- employed people have almost unlimited mobility. The internet allows  us to find clients all over  the world, and do work all over  the world. For you, that might mean the coffeeshop a short walk your home. It might also  mean the coffeeshop a short walk from the beach.

4. You determine your own future. Beyond the independence of day-to-day work, a small  business grants you the possibility of determining your  own  future. Working for yourself means carving out  your  own  career path and even creating the foundations for a business that your family will carry  on after you’re gone.

You’re in charge. To be sure, there are  risks. Nothing is guaranteed in self-employment: no one is putting money away  and planning for your retirement but  you. But unfortunately, playing it safe with payroll employment doesn’t always translate into secure retirement, either. Millions of workers have dedicated decades to companies that have turned around and yanked retirement pensions out  from under them. A small business owner plans for their future with clear eyes about their own  responsibilities, relying only on themselves.

No regrets. Working for yourself is about pursuing your  passions in your  active working life, not delaying them until you’re all done with work.

Self-employment means you never look back  and regret a chance you didn’t take.

5. You have help.
When you launch your  own  independent business, it can  feel like you’re stepping into unknown territory. But you aren’t alone.

Local resources: Your local business development center, small  business and trade associations, and other small  business owners are  right  there with you. They offer  a wealth of wisdom that will help you find low-cost vendors, small  business loans, and other invaluable connections.

National resources: Beyond your  community, resources like the federal Small Business Administration (at sba.gov) and NASE are  focused on answering your questions and connecting you with business support. NASE membership includes 24/7 access to experts to answer questions about taxes, law, accounting, and more. Learn more at nase.org.

Show gratitude for the little  things. Your friends, family, and community are  also there to cheer you on, support your  decisions, and watch you thrive. This Thanksgiving, take a moment to reflect on all the ways  your  social  support system has helped you grow  your  business. It’s not  always flashy.  Because they come from the heart, some of the most meaningful forms of support can  almost escape your attention.

Advocates come in many forms. Maybe you have friends who  share your  social  media posts. Maybe you’ve got a few golden customers who  praise your services and send new  business your  way.

Or maybe your  spouse or kids have taken over some of the household chores you used to do so that you can  focus more on growing your  business in the evenings. The little things that our  loved  ones do every day add up. On this  Thanksgiving, take stock of these blessings and show your  gratitude.

Courtesy of NASE.org