Back to the index

Working for yourself

Table of Contents

Should you work for yourself, or have a job? I am still very unsure of the below. I seem very risk adverse, but also like freedom and ownership, so am torn between the two.

Having a job is more stable?

Maybe. You are relying on a single source of income, whereas many self employed people will have multiple customers. It is easier to pivot if you work for yourself, whereas if you company goes under, you can't necessarily do much about it.

Having a job is easier?

The advantage of just getting a job, is that you don't have to work out a way of making money, you just do what you are told (obviously this is simplifying things, you probably do need to work out ways of making money, but the company employing you likely already has income, so this is not a life or death struggle. Most employees really are doing what they are told, at least in some ways).

Of course, you might need to do more things you dislike if you are working for someone. There might be cases where you are forced to do something you believe to be unwise, this can be difficult. If you are in an especially unpleasant job, it is very likely harder than some things you could be doing where you work for yourself.

The real advantage of having a job is that you get a stable income without having to work out a way of getting people to give you money by yourself.

Having a job makes you less free?

See Responsability gives meaning. It makes you more free in some ways (less responsibility) but less in others (less control).

For example, you do not need permission to start something yourself, whereas to find a job you need multiple people to sign off on you.

Why doesn't everyone work for themselves?

If you could make more money working for yourself, you would expect people to do that until the premium dropped to 0. In this world, you would expect the average self-employed person to make a similar amount to salaried people (on average – accounting for higher variance amongst self-employed people, and capital requirements maybe limiting how many people can work for themselves).

In my mind, starting a business was outside of my comfort zone, felt very risky, seemed very hard. In recent experience starting a few things, it has been easier than I expected to make an amount close to a decent salary, with much lower input of hours. This is not to say that I could scale this by working for longer (although likely could scale it somewhat), but it seems I may have overestimated how hard this would be.

I was likely projecting my own preferences on others when considering the tradeoffs between working for yourself and working for others, I saw the world like this:

  • it seems like people who work for themselves make more money
  • they clearly have more freedom in a lot of ways
  • they don't have to take orders from a boss (although maybe from their clients)
  • however, not everyone is doing this. Therefore, I must be missing something. Presumably the average income, taking into account benefits and pensions and slow periods is about the same as a salary.

What I was maybe missing was:

  • People are even more risk adverse than me, and (falsely?) assume that a salary is less risky than having their own source of income
  • People are lazy, and being self employed is harder work. It requires much more effort. You need to self motivate. You need to think.
  • People may think there is more bureaucracy required than there really is (at least in the UK, starting businesses, taxes, getting registered for various licenses, etc. is very simple)
  • Many people value freedom less than me, value stability and ease more than me.
  • Likely doesn't affect that many people, but it makes visa applications a bit easier

Based on my preferences, and the fact that having your own business clearly has much higher upside, without necessarily having a particularly high risk of ruin (as long as you don't need too much capital to get going), then I should definitely work for myself exclusively.

Back to the index

Last modified 2019-07-17 周三 15:58. Contact max@maxjmartin.com