Self-Employment Is the New Security

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We had been struggling, dealing with diminishing checks, lack of security, fear of having no health care (or bad health care coverage), and that’s back when my husband had a regular job. Now we’re self-employed and for the most part, those concerns are gone.

My husband is a computer programmer and about a year ago, when he was laid off again, we were beginning to find out that the high paid jobs were probably the least secure—this was just more of the tech bubble bursting. What we found is that the more “flash and cash” a company showed, the flakier they seemed to be.

At the time I had been diligently building my own business, doing Web sites, and internet marketing. Mostly for moms with businesses who understood that I worked at home and sometimes the kids were sick and I’d have to take a week off. It was a great “gig” but we needed my husband’s “secure” job. I say this because as time went along, we realized that his job was anything but secure. So, the last time he was laid off, he joined me in my business venture and we’ve never looked back.

We have now been working on our own for over a year and it’s been interesting—navigating the world of quarterly taxes, insuring ourselves, dealing with the ebb and flow of cash, and realizing there is WAY more to a business than just doing it. However, we love it and we’ve never been happier. We are probably as financially insecure, but now it’s at our mercy, not the mercy of some employer who can lay you off at a moment’s notice. We also have the potential to make a lot more money and not by groveling for a raise.

So, what do we get for this trade off for the “regular job” versus the insecurity of our own business? We have flexible hours, but that also means working some weekends. We get to spend a lot of time together, but we have to spend a lot of time together! We work at home, but we have the potential of getting sick of our home. It’s a trade off, but for us, it’s a perfect fit.

This morning, I scanned the paper and caught an article about all of the current lay offs. Thousands of people are being laid off from “secure, good” jobs. These are the kind of jobs my parents once assured us that if you took, you were secure and could stay there until retirement. In the auto industry, for example, there are people who have worked for the same plant for generations. I just wonder how common that will be among our generation. It seems like more and more of the big companies are the least secure and the least interested in retaining quality employees.

I had a client years ago, a photographer, that pointed out having a “regular” job is like having one client. If you lose them, for any reason, you’re unemployed. If you go into business for yourself, chances are you’ll have many clients, and so, yes, some might cut back but at the same time, others can be ramping up. It’s all about balance.

So, here’s my challenge, if you’re at all entrepreneurial and fairly good at all around business (or willing to hire someone to help you) now might be the time to take a chance and jump in. If you’ve been laid off or downsized, this may be the perfect time to take a risk and try it out! I know it won’t work for everyone, but the backbone of this nation is small business and it takes the brave ones to move forward and be a success! Who knows, you might be as happy as we are!



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