This article was originally written as a letter to my brother who is self employed doing computer repair. He has plenty of customers without even doing any advertising online but every now and then things do get slow. He is worried about getting and keeping a steady stream of income and has been thinking of going back to work for someone.
There is no such thing as job security. At any time when you work for someone else for any number of reasons you can be fired, laid off, have hours cut back, take a pay cut, be forced to retire early, etc.,. If you quit or get fired whatever customer contacts you had are lost and you could end up with no references and thus no way to get a better job. Even if you are laid off you can't take your customers with you without violating a non-compete clause. The only thing you have to show for all the years you worked for someone else is perhaps a pension or retirement plan if you had signed up for one. If you had worked for Enron all those years and had taken part of your pension in Enron or GE stock, the pension would have become practically worthless. Can you imagine having that happen in your old age? What would you do? ...go back to work again-yeah right-maybe bagging groceries? How mad would you be? Who should you be mad at? Think about how it feels when you get laid off or canned for no good reason. Do you want to put yourself thru that emotional rollercoaster.
Look in the mirror-you are the one that signed up and put your trust in your employer all those years-so it is your own fault if your retirement fund or pension becomes worthless. How satisfying is a gold watch to look at when you know you've devoted the greater part of your life to making someone else rich.
If you are already self employed and want a pension than sock away 10% of what you make each month into an IRA if you need liquidity. Put part of it into raw land in Florida if you don't care about liquidity-historically real estate especially here in Florida goes up in value. Even the swamp land here has appreciated. Create your own Golden Parachute, figure out what you will need when you retire to live off of and then sit down at a computer using MS Word Task Launcher/Works Spreadsheet/Financial Worksheets/Investment Projections to figure out how much you need to sock away today to reach your retirement goal. Will you be able to live off of $3000 a month when you're 65? How much do you have to put away each month to have that when you turn 65?
You are better off scraping thru the slow times being self employed and gathering new customers over the years than you are working for someone else and making their business grow. If you are a productive employee you will surely make your employer rich and happy but what will you have after you leave that business other than what you managed to save from your paycheck.
Being self employed for many years you will always have your network of customers, friends and your business as an asset that you can sell or pass on to your children. Even a web based business can be passed on to the next of kin as long as the hosting fees are paid. I had a customer who did just that after he passed away...you can leave a web based business as a legacy to your children. That's a whole lot easier for them to manage than leaving them an apartment building, restaurant, convenience store or whatever.
There are always slow times in any business, that's why employers lay people off. So if you are experiencing your own slow times look around you-August is historically the slowest month for everyone (retailers tell me that every year) -it all picks up after labor day. So that's when they have their end of summer clearance sales. So maybe you need to advertise a special rate in August-10% off, buy one hour-get a half hour free, or something like that.
Don't give up on being self employed, just advertise more...if you haven't advertised your service business on the internet because you think it will make you too busy than shame on you. You are only as busy as you want yourself to be...don't let your business run you-you run your business. If you are tired of the phone interrupting you than let voice mail answer it. Get out of the habit of answering the phone when you are in the middle of doing something. If you are afraid you will have to drive too far away then just give yourself a comfortable region to work in and stick with it. Don't take jobs you don't want. Just because someone calls doesn't mean you have to help them. Learn to say no or setup a network of other people in the same business as you that you can refer customers to that you don't want because they are GUD (geographically undesirable). Someday they may refer a customer back to you for the same reason.
Don't forget about all the freedom being self employed affords you. You can take off work at any time...no one is making you work...you are your own taskmaster. There is no one watching you, looking over your shoulder, monitoring your computer usage and emails, no one you have to like that you have to be nice to or work with that you really don't like. No boss to answer too...no 6 month reviews, no paycuts, no sheepishly asking for a raise and feeling so demeaned by it. You can go outside, go shopping and do your errand running at anytime...you don't have to fit the rest of your life into the few hours after work and on weekends that is all you have when you work for someone else. You don't have to sit in rush hour traffic if you don't want to....how you schedule your life is completely up to you. How important is that freedom. Would you miss it? What is that freedom worth? When you work for someone else will you be getting paid enough to justify having all that freedom taken away and aggravation added to it? Does your spouse depend on the freedom you now have to take care of everyday matters? How will losing that freedom affect your relationship? Will it make both your lives harder?
Think about all these things before deciding to go to work for someone else. There is no shame in working from home or being self-employed. All employees dream about it. I get emails and calls from people all the time wanting to have their own business. They hate their jobs and their bosses and are looking for a way out. If you are already self employed you are already where they wish they were. Like people who live up north and come down to Florida for vacation and yearn to be in Florida but are never brave enough to actually come down and live and make a go of it to fulfill their dreams of living in paradise. Of course we all know that paradise is where you make it. The worst chance is the one not taken. Don't give up on your home based business, just give internet advertising a chance and get more customers and be proud of what you are doing. You are doing what 88% of the world population wishes they were doing and you can do it right from your home computer anywhere on earth. Email me what you want on your webpage today and I guarantee you-you will be swamped with work locally within 2 weeks. We just put the name of the town and area you are in at the top of the website. And if you get inquiries outside of your service area-so what-just tell them they are not in your area-you have nothing to lose by it. You won't know if you don't at least try it. No charge to you my brother this is my early Christmas present. Love, your sister, Anny.