Sure, running your own business can be super stressful. What if I can’t find any clients? What if nobody will pay me what I’m worth? What if I’m not motivated enough to do any work? What if I hate it? How do I pay taxes? How do I send invoices? What if everyone thinks I’m shit? (Okay, so that last one never crossed my mind.)
Plenty of stuff to put you off running a business, for sure. Most people are perfectly content to stay in employment, knowing they’ll have regular money coming into their bank account and that they’ll get sick pay, holidays, a pension, people to actually talk to on a daily basis — all that good stuff that comes from employment.
But for those of us who aren’t content to follow someone else’s rules every day, who want to do work that matters to us, who want to do shit our own way… all that fun employment stuff is a sacrifice worth making. We’ll take freedom and autonomy over rules and set working hours. Why the hell should we start work at 9am, just because someone says we should? Why do we need to stay for a certain amount of time? Why can’t we just fucking leave once we’ve done everything we need to do? Ugh.
Here are a few good reasons to start your own biz, and the things that compelled me to do so:
Do What You Want, When You Want
This is the biggie, isn’t it? Everything comes down to this, essentially. Because seriously, we really do only live once… and isn’t it weird that most people spend their lives doing things other people think they should do? Instead of what they think they should do? Weird. So weird.
Travel and Work at the Same Time
This was my biggest reason, personally. Ever since I left uni, I always told myself I would ‘start my career after I’ve done just a bit more travelling’. I hated the idea of settling down in a ‘proper’ job that I’d eventually have to quit if I ever wanted to do long-term travelling again.
I tried to come up with many solutions before I landed on running an internet business. Work a job that gets long holidays in the summer? (Teaching.) Do something that’s desperately needed in many other countries? (Radiography.) Just get a job I could easily pick up on the road? (Bar work.) Actually, those were about the only three things I could come up with. All my other ideas sucked. In fact, so did those ones. Running a writing business that deals exclusively in the online world, it doesn’t matter where I am — all I need is my trusty ‘puter (he’s called Rebel) and an internet connection.
Set Your Own Working Hours
Who decided on 9-5, anyway? Don’t answer that. I’m pretty sure it was something to do with the industrial revolution. Point is, it doesn’t matter any more in most jobs, but plenty of employers still have set working hours during which people have to come in. Doesn’t it make more sense for working hours to be based on like, you know… how long it takes to get the work done? Stupid.
When you run your own business, you get to decide when you work. Need to take a couple of hours off for a physiotherapy appointment mid-morning? No problem. How ridiculous that people have to ask permission to do stuff like that. Fancy going for coffee with a friend after you’ve done three hours of solid work? Have at it, your brain probably needs a rest anyway.
Okay, maybe this is the most important one. There’s just something completely wonderful about being the one to decide what’s important. What you need to do today. And on top of that, you don’t have to work with any asshole clients if you don’t want to. You can just tell them to shove it, and focus more energy on working with people you actually like. It’s kind of like being able to fire your pain-in-the-ass co-worker — the one who always sniffs over your shoulder and tells you you’re doing it wrong — except this is a thing you can actually do.
Want to create a course to help people kickstart their own meaningful writing business? Do it. Want to write a blog giving away free, useful advice? Do that too. Want to provide a service that actually makes a difference to people’s lives? Do it do it do it. Do whatever the hell you want, so long as it matters to you!
Form Better, Healthier Habits
When you work for yourself and set your own hours, you get the last say in what time you go to bed, what time you get up, what time you exercise, what you eat for lunch. Not so easy when someone else is dictating your working hours — but come on, getting enough sleep, finding time to exercise, and setting aside time to make proper meals are all pretty important to your health. And if you haven’t got your health, what have you got? Fuck all, baby. Fuck. All.
Get Paid for Your Skill, Not Your Time
Here’s a secret: before I started working for myself, the most I’d ever earned was £7 an hour. Looking back, I now find that completely ridiculous. Seven pounds? And people are expected to live on that? And like, be happy and stuff? Fuck me.
Just a couple of weeks ago I did £700’s worth of work in one day. I’d have to work 100 hours a day to earn that if I still worked in a bar. AND THAT’S NOT EVEN POSSIBLE, GUYS. Even if I worked four solid days, I still wouldn’t have earned the same amount. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I get £700 a day every day, but it’s nice to know what’s possible. And to be valued for what I do, rather than how many hours I slog away at it.
So the Words ‘If You’ve Got Time to Lean, You’ve Got Time to Clean’ are Never Uttered in Your Presence Again
Y’all who’ve worked in bars know what I’m talking about. And didn’t you just want to stab your boss right through the ear with the fruit knife? Never again will I have to scrub a filthy floor at 1am because I’ve just spent the last 12 hours dripping beer all over it.
So that’s me. And probably a bit of you, too. But tell me more — what’s your favourite thing about running your own business? Or, if you haven’t quite got there yet, what’s your biggest motivator?