What does that expression mean? It is typically understood
that to be sefl employed is to work in your own business, as
opposed to working for someone else's business. What I want to
suggest here, though, is that you start working for yourself
even if you are working in someone else's business.
Stop Being an Employee
Look, I don't want to play a game of semantics here, and you
will be called an employee when you are working for someone
else. However, you don't have to think of yourself as an employee.
You can think of yourself as self employed. Even if you are flipping
burgers, you are in the business of selling your labor. Seeing
things this way can change everything.
For many people, the concept of "employee" carries
connotations of slavery, as in the expression "wage slave."
At the very least it is usually associated with a loss of control,
a sense that the "boss" is the one calling the shots.
What an awful thought! There is a better way.
You're in Business Starting Today
I never could think of my employers the same way as others
I worked with. They were afraid of them, and felt as though their
life goals were somehow dependent on them. I basically felt I
was in the business of selling my labor. If I didn't like the
terms or price, I could negotiate or go elsewhere. In this country
especially, there are opportunities everywhere.
What did this attitude mean? It meant I never felt trapped
in a job I didn't like (and I didn't like most of them). When
working as an assistant manager of a restaurant, I wanted time
to start a little business, so I told my employer I would work
Sundays only, as a shift manager. This is what I was willing
to do, and if they didn't like it they could hire someone else.
They said yes.
On the other hand, when working at a casino, my attitude of
being in business for myself kept me from quitting a job I didn't
care for. It paid well, and in any business you have to sometimes
work for customers you don't like. Other employees, however,
were very bitter. This employer didn't treat them well, and as
a reservation casino they could get away with not paying minimum
Now, this is tough to understand, because we made more than
any of the five other casinos in the state. Thanks to the tips
we received, we were paid well. Still, most of the workers felt
that the employer wasn't doing what they were "supposed
to do." As a self employed person, I could look at it objectively
and see that they were paying more than other potential buyers
of my labor. I didn't think they were a good customer otherwise,
but I sure wasn't growing more bitter with time, as many were.
How to Be Self Employed
To have this approach, it helps to have money in the bank.
As I said, "wage slavery" is only true to the extent
that you've put yourself into that position. Always put a little
money aside, keep out of bad debt (debt for business and investment
is good debt) and keep your fixed expenditures low. Look, it
only takes a few weeks to find another customer (job). If you
ever feel that you can't quit your job tomorrow, you are probably
not arranging your financial affairs properly.
Always thinking of yourself as in business, selling your labor,
skills and knowledge, opens your mind to the possibilities of
better jobs and even entrepreneurial activities. These are nice
advantages of taking this perspective, but not the best reason
to. The best reason is that you will feel free, and never feel
dependent upon another. If you want to be, you are working