You: The Business

One of the things that people ask me about most often is why I’m always trying to start new businesses. I’ll admit, I’ve tried my hand at a few, and most of them don’t work out. But, while it is discouraging at the time, I don’t treat it as the end of the world.

I try to take a lesson from every single setback. Whether the product fit wasn’t just right, or maybe we were too early to market, or I just flat-out gave up too soon, there is a lesson in every setback.

But one thing I am certain of, is that I will never stop trying to create a business. I believe our economy is undergoing a radical shift in the way we work. Businesses are outsourcing work to freelancers more than ever, and while many believe this is inherently bad, I don’t hold that view. While there are certainly trade-offs for not being a traditional employee (employer provided health insurance, 401(k)s, etc.) being a freelancer, or more accurately, You, Inc., is a pretty darn good thing.

If you are good at painting, carpentry, software development, organizing, or any other number of things, those are extremely marketable skills that people will gladly pay money for you to do. And even if your desire is to just make a little extra money, it can very quickly turn into full time work. But even if you begin working for yourself “full-time”, you will have control over that time, and that is what is most important to most of us; freedom.

Time is our most precious resource, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate it more and more. So even if you are working the same number of hours or even more, you will be working for yourself, and in control of which gigs you take and don’t take. That freedom is a very powerful thing.

When you start thinking of yourself as a business, it is very empowering, and there are many other financial and tax benefits to that. I won’t get into that now, because it’s way beyond the scope of this post, but I’ll say that the naysayers who think being an employee is so awesome can keep thinking that while you, as a freelancer, take advantage of all sorts of tax breaks that aren’t available to a traditional employee.

Be a business unto yourself. Start part-time. Bid on some gigs. See where it takes you.