In the coaching and mentoring circles I frequent, I am often told by marketing gurus that being self-employed is the essence of being free. All you need to do is give up your job, start your own business and you will get immediately a taste of personal freedom and unlimited potential for abundance.
As a former small business owner and currently part-time solopreneur, I know that this is not the case (and I’m sure you know that too). As a business start-up, chances are that you will have felt a bit overwhelmed, more busy than you would like, and likely less financially abundant than within your last employment. There is no job security and financial stability to give you an immediate sense of freedom and of being in control of your destiny.
The reason you stick with your business and your passion, despite knowing all of the above, is the potential you see for gradually building your own freedom. You know that persisting with what you love doing will make the sacrifices, stress and sleepless nights worthwhile.
Likewise, the same gurus will also tell you that ’employment is slavery’ and that, if you are employed, your biggest concern right now should be to ditch your job as soon as possible and start your own business. This point of view assumes that everyone hates their job and that employment is a necessary source of oppression, discontent and drudgery.
There are of course employed people who feel exactly this way. Some of them are relatively new in employment and still finding their way. Others are stuck in a rut in dead-end jobs of which they don’t know how to get out. However, this is certainly not the case for everyone in employment. Many people enjoy the stability, the social networks built around work teams, and the flexibility which is often part of certain job roles.
Personally, I work a few days days a week as team leader for an organization which is supporting vulnerable people in need. It’s a rewarding job, where I have control over significant aspects of my role, overtime is not a regular expectation and it helps me use my coaching skills in a structured environment, where I feel I am making the difference.
In the real world, away from the area of interest of gurus obsessed with the minority of us who are prepared to do what it takes to dabble with 7 figures (apparently 6 figure businesses are so 2010…), most of us are likely to strike a balance between some sort of employment or freelancing work and the solopreneurial hustle of a small business. And one of the things we will learn with time is that freedom is not a ‘thing’, but a process of being you create over time through learning from mistakes, trial-and-error and life experience.
Achieving freedom is about doing what you love and being in control of the hours you are working (whether you decided you will work 10, or 60 hours a week). It is about being in control of your time. It is no coincidence that having a sense of freedom about our lives, is usually something that most of us achieve later in life. It is the result of the complete alignment of our vision, our values, our goals and our daily actions and habits. This alignment will shape our identity as a ‘free’ person, which will in turn lead to freedom.