Some people go their whole lives without considering the prospect of working for themselves. For many, it’s nothing more than a dream;
something to occupy their minds each time they find themselves unfulfilled in their current job. And then, there are the ones that actually go
out and start something: entrepreneurs. It’s an undertaking that’s glamorous and ugly; exhilarating and depleting; the path to wealth and ruin;
all at the same time. So, how about you? This issue, we’ll outline a few things to consider if you’re wrestling with the dilemma of finding a job or
starting business for yourself.
Paycheck to Paycheck vs. Project to Project
One of the most important factors in your decision will be the issue
of money. In most cases, working for someone else means getting a
steady paycheck. While the size of that check may be another issue
entirely, the biggest advantage is its dependability — a consistent
stream of cash you can organize your budget around.
Working for yourself can be a whole different story — especially in
the beginning of your endeavors. Depending on how many clients you
secure, how well their business does, and how much they rely on your
services, you may find yourself in a “feast or famine” cycle of income,
with your bottom line varying quite a bit from month to month.
In the end, the biggest difference from a financial standpoint
is that as a business owner, your financial success, rather than
being dictated by a set salary, is directly tied to the success of the
business. In banking terms, it’s much like the difference between the
old reliable savings account and the thrill ride of the stock market.
And just the same, the latter is not for the impatient, the weak of
heart, or the poor planner.
Each issue, we’ll be analyzing a point of consideration in the world of
the creative professional. We’ll look at numerous factors of everyday
dilemmas, try to see what makes the two sides tick, and offer
some insight on how to best approach issues in your own life.
We are two highly-informed, creative
professionals with strong opinions and
a sincere interest in helping others grow.
Punch-clock vs. Internal Clock
For tax purposes, the distinction between a salaried employee and
a “1099” or freelance worker is the degree to which the employer
dictates their work time and location. While not every employer
will expect you to check in with a punch-clock at 9 am, the
majority will expect you to work on a regular schedule — both in
terms of number of hours and the time of the day.
As your own boss, your hours are only as regular as you choose
to make them. If you’re the type whose creative juices start
percolating sometime in the late night and flow until 3 am, you’ll be in
a prime position to take advantage of your unique bio-rhythms. Of
course, it’s not a total free-for-all. When your client wants you on call,
or needs to meet during their business hours, that’s a request you’ll
have to take seriously. To some extent, as long as someone is paying
for your service, you have a boss to answer to.
Conscious reminders of the way you’re managing your time are
prevalent in the workplace because, as a salaried worker, someone
else has a vested interest in helping you do so. On your own, it’ll
be 100% up to you to develop a routine, track your hours, and
maximize your productivity to ensure you’re earning a living.
Mentorship vs. Control
Control may be hard to come by in the early stages of your
career. If you’re working as a paid employee, chances are the
organization you’re working with will be filled with people who
bring more knowledge, more clout and most importantly, more
experience to the table. It should come as no surprise then, that
these people get a lot of control over what you do on a day-today
In exchange, giving up control early in your career can bring
opportunities that would be rare, if not impossible, to score on
your own. However, it gets to a point for a lot of us free-spirited
creatives where we just have to try things our way. Call it ego;
call it drive — whatever you label it; you’re not going to want to
be second (or third, or fourth) in command forever. You’ll want
to do it smarter, differently and better than the people you’ve
been groomed by. And if this point comes before you’ve been
able to climb the creative ladder, breaking off and starting
your own thing will be the natural way to quell that hunger.
The impending journey will be filled with growth, a different
kind than you learn from day-to-day mentorship, but arguably
beyond what you’ll ever get working for someone else.
Leadership Learning vs. Business Burdens
A lot of that “different” kind of growth and experience that you
only learn when running a business is just that—how to run a
business. If you’re a creative working for someone else, there’s
a good chance you have very little to do with the business
operations of that organization. Someone else keeps the books,
files the taxes, pays you, pulls in the new business, manages the
projects/clients and takes the financial risks. When you’re running
a business, it’s up to you to do all the administrative things you
might otherwise take for granted — plus your creative work.
Sadly, some great creatives fail when they set out to start a
business simply because, by nature, they’re not savvy business
people. The extra business-related responsibilities can be very
time consuming and seriously eat away at your free time.
Of course there are still significant freedoms involved in running
a business. As the owner or partner, you get to call the shots—
exactly what type of work you do, where you physically work,
who you will (and sometimes more importantly won’t) work
with. To the right personality type, this kind of power makes the
sacrifices well worth the investment.
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. [to Neo who is choosing the red pill] Remember… all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.