One of the scariest things I ever did was quit my first (and only) “real” job so I could begin my own brand of creative work in the world.

I became – gasp! – self-employed.

I was warned of the risks. I was told I’d lose my benefits and security. I was told it’s “hard out there” working for yourself.

The assumption so many people base one of their biggest life choices on is that working for yourself is risky.  After 16 years of making a living on my own terms – I believe the exact opposite!

So, here’s my 7 reasons why the biggest rewards come from taking the risk of starting and building your own business…

1. Having a job (let’s face it) is risky!

When you have a job, someone can take away your income in two words: “You’re fired.”  This is happening more and more as companies crumble in the face of global changes.

If you ask me, there’s nothing secure about that.

In your own business, when a client or customer moves on – then guess what?  You get to say, “Next!”

2. No Bonus Pay for Messing Up.

When you mess up at your job, you get punished, maybe even a pay-cut. Then you have to run around “making nice” to the people who might lay you off or promote someone else who’s younger and “hungry.” (Hungry for what? More time at the office?)

When one of my clients faces challenges in her business, I remind her to be excited. She’s getting paid to learn!  Every mistake teaches her more about how to succeed.

Instead of getting an MBA – she’s getting a TBF. (Trial by Fire!)  TBF’s yield a high ROI!

3. Your Job Ceiling isn’t Adjustable.

Often, I show clients multiple places they can generate income in their business within the next few months.  Their eyes light up as they realize that the possibilities are endless.  They stop thinking in terms of “hours for dollars,” and start thinking of passive income.  (Hey, why not get paid while you sleep?)

In a job, you can’t adjust your income based on the value you provide. Instead you have to ask for a raise.  Not fun.

4. Pantyhose.

As I write this, I’m working.

I’m wearing a Tarheels baseball cap, a t-shirt, and jeans. I’ve got my feet propped up on the deck railing as birds sing at the feeder.

When I had a job, there was a dress code. And rules about what you could have on your desk. There was limited time for lunch, and no time for creativity.  And don’t even get me started on pantyhose!

5. Your Money Doesn’t Go As Far.

Did you know that employee income is the most heavily taxed income in the U.S.?   As an employee, almost half your salary will go to taxes.  You get to spend what’s left on living expenses.

One of my first self-employed discoveries was that my money went MUCH further – because I could invest in myself with pre-tax income.  Any good accountant will help you make your dollars expand in your own business.

6. Focusing on your Weaknesses.

Have you ever heard of a “360?”

That’s when your co-workers and supervisors (and anyone else who wants to chip in) analyze your job performance. You learn all about your weaknesses – and you get a review outlining the ways you need to work on them. Often, people leave these “360” reviews in tears.

In the world of the solo-preneur, we don’t mess with our weaknesses. The motto is Strengthen your Strengths. Hire your Weaknesses. In other words, as you become aware of your weaknesses, you don’t waste your precious energy fixing them.

7. Negative Environment.

Many office environments don’t encourage creative thinking or positive focus. Instead, there’s lots of negativity among employees who feel powerless.

In your own business, you set the tone, and you choose who enters your environment. You become personally responsible for every aspect of your life.

This is often more uncomfortable than sitting back and blaming “The Man,” but it will absolutely free you.

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Tell me your reasons!  In the comments below, share with us about your own relationship with risk. Did you have to get over the fear of starting out on your own? Did people warn you of the dangers? How did you handle it?  (Someone out there needs your story!)

 

 

27 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • wisdom

    Hi Christine, another great article!!! What would you say is the number one cause of procastination, having the ideas ready and knowing what service to provide but simply not taking enough steps maybe per week to make things happen?? Its like leaving one’s dreams in the future as opposed to what you do which is to go to the future and take those dreams and make them happen now, and serve others with those ideas, services and products. I say this in the context of people who say, ‘someday’ i will write a book, ‘someday’ I will start my own business, turns out many have gone several years whilst this business or book lives in the future. Would love to hear your take on such behaviour.
    Wisdom (Melbourne, Australia)

  • Pam

    Thanks for your great blog, Christine. I really appreciate the way you make such clear and sensible points.

    For much of my professional life, I stayed within organizations out of a wish for affiliation — not realizing that such affiliations can be illusory. For me, #6 and #7 resonate the strongest. Ironically, medical training and medicine have a great deal of bullying, hostility, and pain within them. Some organizations are trying to change this type of culture, but there’s a long way to go. In the meantime, thinking differently can be dangerous.

    Creating my own vehicle of service to others is scary, and what I do every day seems weird to most people. The work is harder than any I’ve ever done before. Yet the results people get go way beyond what I was ever able to offer in my previous methods. So, onward I go — and thank you to YOU for helping me see so many things about the business part that I never even thought about before!

  • Glenn Rieker

    We owned our own successful small company for 20 years, my sister passed away 5 years ago so we sold the company and moved back to the midwest to be near family. I thought hey I’ll just work for a big company and collect the big paycheck and share my passion and experience with others in the company and my new clients.

    The first day I sat in my cubicle collecting my almost six figure annual paycheck I new I had made a mistake. one and a half years later at the height of the recession in 2010 we once again started our own company not knowing anyone in our new location in Wisconsin. We are now booked a year in advance and loving life…

    I think I was supposed to work at the big company so I truly understood how fortunate we were to have the freedom and financial gain a small by choice company provided for us, for the previous 20 years. We ride our bikes each morning, sit down to a 3 egg white omelette and then go to work……….life is a gift, that is why they call it the present! There is no need to retire when you love what you do……our small companies have allowed us to work 9 months and take 3 months off every year for the past 15 years thanks to a long time mentor teaching us the numbers side of our business……..just like Christine does.

    • Christine Kane

      Thanks Glenn, for the extra cool insights here! And kudos to you for having a coach! Going it alone doesn’t work!

  • Natalie Morisset

    Thanks for the reminders, Christine, I needed them! From my cubicle I want to add number 8: Having little sense of purpose. There is no guiding vision in my workplace, and little prospect of having one anytime soon. Thankfully I reinforce my sense of purpose daily by working on my business.

    • Christine Kane

      Natalie — A sense of purpose changes everything! Here’s to your business thriving so much that the cubicle becomes a thing of the past!

  • Kimberly Sherry

    I love your “The motto is Strengthen your Strengths. Hire your Weaknesses.” and “getting paid to learn!” When I opened a retail store years ago I viewed it as an opportunity to be in school…TBF University. It was my first chance after 38 years to connect to the outside world after having been raised in an isolating cult. For me it was more about learning how to make connects to real people. Since we teach what we are learning….I am now learning how the H.E.A.L. as I allow my Heart to Expand to Allow Love. Now I get the direct satisfaction of helping another person improve the quality of their life….instead of helping someone else at a J-O-B get rich. I LOVE what you do Christine!

    • Christine Kane

      Thanks Kimberly! It has been inspiring to watch you manifest all of the success you have manifested over this past year! yay!

  • Gladys Strickland

    I’ve held a job my entire adult life and it has never felt “right”. Am finally moving toward self-employment to honor what my soul is calling me to do. It is beyond pantyhose and a dress code – it is a whole lifestyle of setting my own course through each day. I am printing out this list as a reminder to myself AND to show all the people say “what will you do if you get sick and don’t have insurance?”

    • Christine Kane

      Gladys — Most people live their lives like they are driving down the highway with the sole focus of avoiding the other cars – rather than going where they want to go. At some point, you have to set your sites on your destination and drive there – rather than obsessing on all that could go wrong. Here’s to your Upleveling, girlfriend!

  • Kay Williams

    Christine,

    As a public school teacher who has been through many “360’s”, I appreciate the reminder that these evaluations do focus on weakness, regardless of how many times we are told otherwise. The first time I received a negative comment (from a parent who had never darkened the door of my classroom) I was devastated. That was 18 years ago, and to this day I can feel the shame that came with that comment. Needless to say, this does not promote positive morale or inspire one to be more creative.

    Although I am still teaching, I’m loving every minute of moving toward being in business full time. Uplevel Your Life was the catalyst for my first steps of this journey. I look forward to the time I will be able to be a part of Uplevel Academy!

    Many Healthful Returns, Kay

    • Christine Kane

      Thanks Kay! (And I would encourage you to do some deeper work on that comment that still haunts you. There might be something there for you to work with. I don’t love the 360 model – but I do think that begin able to hear criticism without diving into shame is a powerful place. If you’re still getting triggered or if it still makes you shudder to remember it, then it’s worth clearing out because her/his comment probably latched onto something bigger, some bigger voice, that was already there in you. I hope this makes sense!)

  • Alexandre L’Eveille

    So true, sister! Being in marketing meant, first one cut: least valuable/necessary asset, (really?); last hired (because marketing jobs are always the first to go); old boys network (women—least valuable–always the first to go); successful work gets results and kudos (jealous bosses—first to go). I just didn’t have the head-down, stay invisible, cubicle worker mentality that is what’s needed to thrive in most corporations. After banging my head against those white corporate walls enough times, I figured out that there is no stable corporate job. At least if I hit a slow patch, I know I can change it.

  • Anita Bist

    All those reasons resonate with me especially those work critiques! During my corporate days, I used to get so upset because ‘the boss’ wouldn’t see all my accomplishments but just focus on petty things that had nothing to do with getting my work done. Also, I remember the negative environment as well. The amount of back-stabbing that went on with the co-workers was just incredible! I waved goodbye to all that nonsense years ago and have never looked back. Now, as an entrepreneur, I feel so much more empowered and am free to pursue my dreams!

    • Christine Kane

      Anita – I hear those same stories of negative workplaces time and time again. (It’s one of the reasons I have a zero-tolerance for drama and gossip at our Uplevel Headquarters!) I like to imagine that this trend is changing now that so many small businesses are driven by a bigger vision!

  • Jennifer Flint

    I think the worst part of having a job your whole life is that you never have time to figure out who you actually are, and what really makes you unique.

    Before I left my old workplace, I did data management and spreadsheets and that sort of thing. Nothing wrong with that, of course! But now I give intuitive aura readings and make custom spiritual jewelry. Guess which one feels more authentic?

    And even if I do need to go back to a standard job someday, I will take that information with me. Now I know what I was made for, and that’s good information to have! 🙂

  • Adil

    Thank you, Christine. This really helps and motivates me to take the plunge 🙂

  • Avadean

    Thanks for this excellent article Christine, reasons 1,2,3 and 7 are why I choose to become an entrepreneur. I enjoy the freedom, which helps me maintain a positive attitude and keeps me motivated.

  • Jan Schochet

    Nneka, you are funny!

    Love these 7 reasons, Christine. And they are all soooo true.

  • Nneka, Working Mystic

    LOL! Just had to stop at pantyhose and post:-) LOL!!! My thing, black slacks and black shoes. When you mentioned business casual for Uplevel Live! I squirmed. All I could think of was black slacks, black shoes and blouses!

    I want sundresses and sandals with the occasional slacks and blouse:-)

    • Gloria

      Nneka, I was squirming with you. Sundresses and shorts are the norm here and most of the time I’m barefoot. Pantyhose? OMG! Do people still wear pantyhose?

    • Christine Kane

      Well, Nneka – you’ve now been to one of my events – so you see how I dress for business! And — As I comment to your comment, I am in jeans. 🙂

  • Kama

    Christine, I worry most about the time involved in not only doing the work I’d be hired for, but the additional work of marketing, bookkeeping, etc. I realize that at some point I’d hire other people to do that. But I fear there’d be a period of time in which I’d be working 80 hour weeks because I couldn’t yet afford to hire someone, but the business would fail if those tasks weren’t taken care of. Because I have some physical health issues, I get really concerned imagining myself in that situation, doing all that work and probably just … giving out and failing.

    • Nneka, Working Mystic

      Hi Kama, I’m not Christine, but I felt compelled to respond. In the book Your Money or Your Life, there’s an exercise that shows you exactly how many hours you are spending on your work. It’s an eye opener. You may find that you probably work close to 60 hours already.

    • Christine Kane

      Kama – I will add to the wise comments above by pointing out (gently!) that you are making movies before you’ve even taken steps. Back when I was a performer and musician, I used to teach songwriting to beginners who would fret for weeks about how their song was going to turn out – and they’d never even sat down to write once. You are letting your mental rumination determine your action steps – which is a convenient way to never have to face the discomfort of getting started.

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