From Corporate Life to Self-Employment

Knowing of my long history in corporate life, people will ask me if I’d ever go back to it should I be offered the corporate dream job again. The question will come up when I say that I came very close to having THE corporate dream job more than once in my career. I knew when I was in those situations, and I truly did enjoy them; I had learned a lot being Mz. Corporate Manager.

While I have no regrets, the quick answer is no.
I’ll never go back.

Today I realize that even THE corporate dream job has a long, long way to go before it can get close to the benefits I now enjoy being self-employed. Here’s why;

1. Working for myself means I work for my own reasons, defining my work completely in terms of what I consider my ho‘ohana to be. Life is too precious to do anything else.

2. I now understand what my ideas can potentially be worth. There is no question that whatever I write, whatever I create and produce is totally my intellectual property. Thus, I’ll always have it as an asset I can market.

3. In my particular situation I have no establishment or office hours; I work where my customer works, or with their brains (i.e. on the phone and virtually works just fine).

4. Because of number 3. I don’t really have the walk-in effect; I get to choose my customers after interviewing and “qualifying” them. I choose to work with people who are coachable yet who are smarter than me in some way (hence I’ll learn from them too), and who I will enjoy working with. To be perfectly blunt, I don’t work with unpleasant people.

5. Now that I’ve had this 4-year taste of it, I’ll never give up the freedom I now have to tweak my work schedule however I need to (and want to). My time belongs to me. The ironic thing is that I work more hours; the exceptionally cool thing is that it no longer feels like work.

6. The incentives are different. You are never as financially literate working for someone else as you are when you are self-employed, and that kind of intellectual currency is increasingly valuable in today’s world.

7. Similar to number 6, being self-employed equates to being self-sufficient. At first you think it’s more risky to work for profit versus paycheck, but you soon find out that counting on a paycheck is the riskiest thing you can do.

8. This one speaks to knowing myself; I thrive on being totally in charge. I got pretty far up the corporate ladder, yet like most “top” executives I ultimately answered to someone; a boss, an owner, a stakeholder. Today I answer to me.

9. I get more done. I have never before had the amount of self-discipline I have today, because I hold myself more accountable than any of my employers ever could. If I slack off, procrastinate, or try to justify anything I only fool myself. Again, today I answer to me.

Self-employment may not be for everyone, but it definitely has become MY only option. It honestly makes me feel smarter.

So why should you care about all of this? Because I’m hoping you’ll think about joining me sooner versus later. To me, smarter and happier people are not my competition; they add the qualities of enthusiasm and optimism to my world.

It’s not that I feel working for an employer is a bad thing. On the contrary, I think you should milk all the knowledge and benefits you can get out of it while you do it. However I do believe that the day will come that you’ll need a “second act” to life’s play because there is this inevitable thing which happens to all of us; it’s called aging. Age creeps up to deal us this cruel card called, not as employable as younger candidates.

UNLESS, you have something to offer that those younger candidates don’t: Intellectual property that buyers can only get from you. Go back to my list and read number 2. again as the single reason. The other ones are the icing on the cake.

For me, Managing with Aloha is my current number 2. Because of number 4. I know that there will be other things like Managing with Aloha in my future.

What is the intellectual property you are working on, banking it for your future?

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  1. Dean Boyer says

    I think I have heard this before! You continue to be inspirational to the entrepeneural spirit in me. We are on different sides of a chasm; you are on the self employed side and I on the “corporate” side of education. My bridge between the two sides is what I need to find. Thank you for your continuing encouragement and partnership.
    Aging…why is that on your mind? (SMILE)
    ~ Dean

  2. says

    Tis true that my birthday is just a week away Dean, but that’s not really related to this; I get this question all the time and now I can just link back to this answer!
    Pretty fascinating how our workforce demographics are changing right now; like many boomers who’ve already started “second act careers” I have recruiters calling to see if I’ll go back to my old exec positions.

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