Tuesday, June 16, 2009

To Be or Not To Be

Several years ago Reader’s Digest published the fact that if you are in business for yourself you only have to work half-time; and you get to pick which 12 hours you work. Those of you who are self employed, or do commission sales because that is the same thing, know that this is true.

Self-employment does carry the disadvantage of potentially very long hours, estrangement from your family and friends, and burnout. However, it also offers the advantage of self fulfillment, choices, freedom, and no limits to your income or success.

I have a friend who thinks I am crazy for working for myself. He can’t understand my need for freedom and choices and he is especially baffled by my never knowing how much or when my money will come in. In his case he is lucky that he has a very high level position that pays him an above average salary. He is particularly satisfied knowing exactly how much and when his money will be available. This allows him to plan, to the penny, his budget and expenses. I see this as boring and lacking in excitement.

Obviously, from this example, there are two different personalities at work here. Some of us like the adrenalin rush of the unknown. If we have worked smart enough we will have a financial cushion available that will alleviate crisis, but still let us experience the challenges of our indefinable future. The other personality is not comfortable with uncertainty. They have to know exactly what to expect; they don’t like surprises. They probably don’t even like surprise parties. If they are lucky enough, like my friend, to make an above average income they have lots of choices of how to live their lives. Unfortunately, most do not have this luxury so there are restrictions to their choices. Open-ended opportunity is only available if you work for yourself or do commission sales where there is no limit to your earnings.

Which personality are you? If you have always dreamed of having your own business, this is one of the most fundamental questions you must explore. Having your own business is a wonderful thing, if it fits your style; if it doesn’t you are setting yourself up for heartbreak and failure, and there is very little you can do to change this course.