Young: Rising tide of self-employment

Of all the advice I was given when I left the company (otherwise known as my government career), I recall what a friend of mine told me.

Of all the advice I was given when I left the company (otherwise known as my government career), I recall what a friend of mine in Saskatoon told me.

He had launched his own entrepreneurial venture at the time, and he said to me: “Self-employment, Joel, is not for the faint-hearted.”

It has become clear wherever my footsteps have taken me since that downsizing has become a sociological norm in many corners of our world.

And, with the job market tight, and with many specialized positions at a premium, self-employment becomes a more  attractive option.

In my previous government/corporate life, I recall the mantra that we are all self-employed.

It was a call-to-action on how we should treat our internal customers as if we were in business for ourselves.

It was good training for operating your own company because whether you are employed or self-employed, it’s all about getting and keeping customers and building solid, meaningful and long-term relationships with them.

So, in your own enterprises, practice being self-employed. It may shine a whole new light on how you relate to your customers/clients.

In the world of the self-employed, the greatest reality is you only get paid when you work.

I do miss my government and corporate days when eight hours was a pay cheque even on those seemingly slow days when I caught myself “surfing the net for a time.” I still got paid. I got to eat lunch. I even got paid when I went to the nearby mall to find a birthday card for my wife during work hours.

Contrast being employed by any organizational entity with being self-employed on the surface, and you’re probably saying, “I don’t want to take the risk, I like it where I am just fine, I like the benefits, I like the daily routine, the security, the bi-monthly pay cheque.”

Guess what folks, I miss that too at times.

Mostly, I miss the daily interaction with colleagues, friends and clients. But, there are rewards and trade-offs in the world of self-employment.

The freedom is intoxicating, that feeling of accomplishment is self-assuring, the sense of success is rewarding and working without a safety net is a real confidence-builder. For me, it’s a real adventure not to be missed.

Remember, with self-employment via the entrepreneurial way, you control your own destiny—and your income.

Getting up in the morning and walking down the hall to your home office brings on a different kind of “rush.”

Plus, there’s not much traffic to deal with in your house as opposed to Highway 97 at 7 a.m. It’s really not that bad.

So take a good look at this option for your life’s journey. It’s a choice facing a multitude of highly skilled experienced professionals and career workers across our Okanagan region today.

You never know when you might have to trade in your assigned parking spot at the office. Ultimately, we are all self-employed, aren’t we?

So let’s look a little closer to this new horizon.

The challenge of self-employment can be overwhelming to a person who has always worked for someone else.

The very idea of self-employment sends ripples of fear and anxiety into the hearts of traditional workers. Traditional people, it seems, do not seriously think about stepping into the unfamiliar world of self-reliance.

Simply put, most people are followers who don’t wish to be independent. Society has spawned a compliant workforce that happily does its bidding.

Why would you really even contemplate joining the ranks of the rising tide of entrepreneurial self-employed? Isn’t working for someone else less risky and just plain and simple easier?

Quite possibly so, but that is no consolation for some of us, in fact, in to-day’s world as we must step outside the box to find and experience a real life experience.

It’s not about freedom, people, as no one is truly free. It’s about the challenge and satisfying an inner urge for living life to its fullest.

In the end, it’s about finding your true self that you may, unknowingly, had hidden for an abundance of your life.

Perhaps your approach to entrepreneurial pursuit may be personalized, but in the final analysis your product or service that you arrive at may already have been done over and over in the marketplace.

But, there is one big difference between you and the others that have gone before you. That ingredient, that magic pill that spawns greatness and the dream machine outcome is you.

You are the factor in the entrepreneurial spirit formula. The depth of your endeavour depends on your ability to perform. You must prepare to dedicate yourself for battle by making certain you can face the challenges ahead.

Joel Young is an entrepreneurship educator and founder of Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society.



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