If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust? The unemployment reports you've been hearing are just plain wrong—for so many reasons—but specifically they are wrong because some persons are beginning to discover that being employed by another is a risky business nowadays. As such, they are taking measures into their own hands and choosing to become self-employed. Even more important is that some courageous souls are leaving their present jobs in exchange for self-employment. Why? Because they are wise enough to recognize the value in the Law of the Harvest, and have made determinations on who they can really trust.
Trust—a dicey word nowadays when it comes to money. But think about it. Will your retirement really be there when you’re done working? Will you get conveniently terminated just prior to retirement? Will your company’s marketing and public relations efforts be sufficient so that you still have a job tomorrow? Will they create a product that continues to sell or will they screw up royally and create a product that becomes the next recall of the hour? Will your company become the object of a fierce lawsuit and lose everything? Will you suddenly be required to take non-paid furlough days? Will your health benefits get canceled? Will you be replaced by someone else who’s desperate for a job and willing to work for 30% less than you are presently getting paid? How about a freeze on pay raises regardless of merit or work load? Some are even having to worry as to whether or not their paychecks will clear. Talk about stress, right? It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when the longer you’re with a company you have to worry that you might get replaced by someone younger, healthier, and more desperate than you just so the company can save a few bucks. I swear it wasn’t too long ago in which seniority meant stability with a company. But that picture sure has changed nowadays. Is there an alternative reality? What if there was a world in which you get to set your own hours, your own dress code, and when you take your breaks, You never have to demean your role as a parent or helpful friend by asking for time off so that you can be there for an important event. You never have to compound the grief of a loved one passing by calling in to people who don’t really care about you, just to ask them permission to pay your respects. You can promote yourself any day. You can expand or narrow your work on whatever you want to focus. You can wear purple polka-dotted PJ's and munch on kettle corn while you get paid what you’re worth, not what some arbitrary budget dictates. You get to decide who you will and won’t work with. Oh, and you’re the #1 employee every day of the year. Such a world really does exist. It’s called being SELF-EMPLOYED. Clearly, there are some downsides to self-employment of course. Anyone who’s done it will tell you that you don’t really work for yourself, you work for all of your customers. You don’t get to call in sick. And you have to foot the bill for your entire health care costs. You MUST be self-disciplined with no one to report to except your mortgage company, utility companies, hunger pangs, and an undeniable desire for resting on something other than the hard, cold floor. In many cases you work longer and harder than you ever did at a “real job.” The ultimate hard part is that when you’re self-employed, your boss knows you too well and won’t let you get away with anything. But when all is said and done, that harder, longer work provides a heck of a lot more LIFE and real LIVING and feeling in your soul than reporting for the same job everyday that you have absolutely no control over. Yeah, it’s funny. True independence has that effect on people. Seriously though. The number one reason why folks do not consider self-employment is that they don’t trust themselves to be able to put food on their own table consistently. It’s a huge mental shift to go from an “automatic paycheck” to one that is solely contingent on how hard and smart you work. But if you think about it, who is more reliable to take care of you and your needs nowadays than YOU? Which is it? You or that company you work for? Yes I realize that the company you work for may have more contacts, money, and experience than you might at being self-employed. But contacts are fickle. Experience is relative to the job you’re performing, and money—well surely you’ve noticed by now that money doesn’t mean success. Think about it. How many banks have failed lately, and yet they had the luxury of legally charging mounds of money for AIR. You’ve got to be a special kind of stupid to fail at that kind of gig. You don’t have to look far in the news to see that even those companies with deep pockets can crumble overnight. Goldman Sachs was the Golden Child of Wall Street for crying out loud, and yet they were just as vulnerable to the dangers of their own ego. So, let me ask you this again, who’s more reliable to provide for your family than you? Who cares about your family more than you? Who’s more motivated to provide for your family than you? OK. So this really boils down to trust. Let me see if I can help you out there a bit. When it comes to infusing an economy with new ideas, additional streams of money, and stable employment, who is really able to make a difference? A company that has to go through layers of bureaucratic red tape, or an idea that can be executed by a lone, agile, entrepreneur? In a world in which “too big to fail” has come to mean “bend over, taxpayers” do you really think that you don’t have a better chance at succeeding on your own, doing something that you feel passionate about, and providing a tangible good or service that people need? Really? ‘Cause when I look around, I’m thinking that it doesn’t take a whole lot to do a better job than the soulless, “big money” companies out there. What is that old saying? “It’s easy to look like an eagle when you’re hanging out with a flock of turkeys.” Well, what I’m trying to say right now folks is that things are so incredibly volatile in the “real job” world that you ARE hanging out with a flock of turkeys. Thus it won’t take much for you to soar and break from the pack as an eagle! I can remember when I took my first real entrepreneurial jump. Nearly 20 years ago I found myself in Augusta, Maine, sitting at an uncomfortable makeshift desk punching in numbers as fast as my fingers would dance on ten keys, for 8 hours a day. The numbers didn’t mean anything to me. The company didn’t mean anything to me. Adding insult to injury, I was working with a real, honest to goodness bully who saw it as her lot in life to inject a taste of hell into mine. Even worse, the pay only represented another month’s existence in a cramped 2 room apartment with a Honda Accord that had the rear bumper clinging to life with some duct tape. During this time I had interviewed for another job—but this job was straight commission. For every business membership I sold, I would be paid $50 in commission. As I sat there and mindlessly punched in those numbers at my desk the day after my interview, I started calculating something completely different. “What if,” I dared to ask myself. “What if I could sell only 4 memberships a week? I’d make more than I’m making now. And if I could sell six memberships a week, I could actually afford a new apartment and a new car. (Yes, I had different values back then. *grin*) Surely, if I treated this prospective job like this job and contacted X number of business a day, I could sell 4 memberships in 40 hours. I wouldn’t have any more back pain. I could actually interact with people. I could wear business suits. I could have intelligent conversations.” Yup. I totally psyched myself up. To be forthright with myself, I realized that the only part I was scared of was whether or not I could trust myself to sell 4 memberships per week. I decided that afternoon that if I couldn’t trust myself to take care of myself, then I had no value to anyone else either. So I went for it. That first week of work was a typical January winter day in the middle of Maine. Three feet of snow had been dumped on our area. But I had rent to pay and groceries to buy. Frankly, I was afraid NOT to work that day for fear that I would miss my non-negotiable goal of 4 sales for the week. So I trudged out in the snow going door to door talking with small business owners who were light on customers that day due to the weather. By the end of my first day I had sold 5 memberships! The only negative feeling I had amidst the high I felt was the regret that I had waited so long to gamble on my own worth. By the end of the week I had sold several times that number of memberships. It was quite humorous actually when I called my new boss to tell him how many I had sold that week. He thought I was mistaken in how I calculated my number of sales. He told me that no one had ever sold that many memberships in month, let alone a week. I responded to him “Well, I guess they were simply lacking in enough belief and motivation.” Now here’s where you come in. Being self-employed, even if it’s just a side job in addition to your “real job” is the beginning of a grand realization—it’s the realization that the Law of the Harvest is just as real and applicable today as it was when our country was first formed. Nothing will change that because the Law of the Harvest is a principle of truth. We will always reap what we sow. As such, don’t you think it’s more reliable, more trustworthy, and more worthy of your consideration for YOU to be one doing the sowing rather than relying on someone else to do it for you? I have been a commission-based professional for nearly all of my adult life. I have enjoyed the high of making great money in a month. And you know what? I can honestly say that I have NEVER not receive a worthy return in exchange for hard, smart work. I have learned that the Law of the Harvest never lets me down. It always works for you if you will work with it. Even better, there are a compounded number of rewards in doing so in the form of enjoyment, dignity, worth, and satisfaction. In the next part of this series, I will discuss what type of self-employment paths you may want to consider. ‘Til then—may your sowing today reward you with peace in preparedness for all of your tomorrows.
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