Why I’m passionate (read: obsessed) with self-employed and getting everyone to at least try it
Welcome to the self employed nerd podcast. This show is for you nerds out there, making the transition from having your life revolve around a nine to five that let's be honest, you don't like nearly as much as you pretend to, to a life of freedom with time to travel time with your family, time to sleep, time to give due diligence to all 17 of those phantoms and hobbies you have, and of course enough income to support all of the above. So this show is for the geeks, the band kids bookworms, movie buffs, Disney fanatics, stage musical obsessed and otherwise self identifying nerds who are bright, ambitious and maybe even crazy enough to give the self employment thing a shot. So if that's you, welcome, let's get started.
Okay, I'm gonna level on you with this one because I know that for a lot of us, the whole, you know, “I don't want to start a business. I don't want to be a business owner. I don't consider myself an entrepreneur type of personality. That's for other people. I like my medical and all of that.”
Because let's face it, that's what we're kind of born into. That's what we've been raised to want.
I feel for you, okay, and I had a hard time breaking my own head out of like “that is the ultimate goal in life.” Because that's just what we're used to!
That's what we're just… I don't know. Can I say we were bred to think like that? So anyway, I don't want to make it sound like you're some kind of animal that's just been brainwashed or anything but I do want to lay out some of the benefits that might be worth pursuing.
If you'll give me the time to kind of lay it out for you because obviously there has to be some reason why I I'm still doing this because I gotta be honest… like, it ain't for the money right now. I can tell you right now – this is Episode 3? I'm gonna be totally honest. I don't do this for the money because it is not good money at this moment, but it's so fulfilling. And when I'm not like in my “boo hoo poor me” kind of mode
(which, by the way, everyone has, whether you're making a lot of money or you're not making any money, whether you are working for yourself or you have like the ultimate nine to five corner office, you know, top of the corporate ladder kind of job. We all have those moments!)
And I have learned that never goes away. The emotional rollercoaster of just being a human being is just kind of how life is. And so I do want to keep that, you know, at the forefront and not, I don't know, kind of like brainwash you into thinking about starting your own business and doing work that you feel lit up about, is going to change every single thing in your life because you are multifaceted.
You have multiple passions, multiple interests. You also have a lot of triggers, and you've got a lot of trauma and your background, and all kinds of stuff that makes us wonderful creatures, right? And so just keep that in mind that no matter what career path you end up choosing, you are complicated.
You're also pretty wonderful and loved and worthy.
Pretty much destined to be like a total badass.
So just keep that in mind.
But I was thinking about benefits the other day because at this point I'm working a very temporary temp job just to kind of like foot the bills and pay for the insurance and… good old insurance. Yay America.
But you know, I'm working a temp job and it's funny how much we love our benefits until we realize that we don't really love our benefits that much. And here's what I mean, like, let's say, Okay, so in my example, I was sitting, I was standing in Target waiting to pick up my, my Prozac because I take Prozac for depression. And so like, I'm at their pharmacy, which is a CVS, right? And so, compared to when I was paying for my own insurance, and then I went over to pay for insurance via my temp agency.
You know, obviously, like the, the benefits are better if they're are through like a corporation or some kind of big, you know, big company. And so the benefit are technically better than if I just paid for the kind that I can afford by myself.
But I just, I just think this is fascinating because why is it that I love benefits so much? I'd asked myself because I was standing there. And then it came to my turn, you know, they ask you your name, and then they go to the back and they get your little baggie, and then they, they, you know, scan it, they tell you that you can't check out all your other stuff there. You have to bring it to the front and it's like, Okay.
And so I'm sitting there getting ready to pay and then it turned out that it was like my, my copay was zero. For whatever reason, I don't know what it was before. But like, before I started having
my medical paid through my temp company, and I was back when I was paying for it myself. I had to buy my Prozac via the generic way. Okay, so like, you know how pharmacies have the “generic” version of it and it's usually a lot cheaper and then you can so it's like a 90 day supply or something.
For $10 and by the way, if you think I'm crazy for sharing this, like, this is the only way that I know how we can all heal and get better is if we're just honest. Like, I don't mind that, you know I take medication because I know you take medication. I know everybody's taking it and like, why are we all hiding it?
So anyway, that's why I feel comfortable sharing this on a podcast. But like I was, I was sitting there and I was like, “Oh, cool!” You know, this, I was paying. And it costed zero dollars. So I didn't even have to pay for anything. It was just like a sign it, sign it out, and then take it, versus when I used to pay for it myself through my own insurance, and it was $10. And I was like, you know, I love benefits and all but at the same time, I'm not exactly like doing a happy dance here over the $10 that I saved. You know what I mean? I mean, like, I know that we all have benefits and we cover our medical so that if anything tragic happens or if anything terrible happens and we aren't like tens of thousands of dollars in debt, immediately in that though, we get covered, ideally, if you have good insurance. (I mean, like, that's another discussion for another time.)
But, you know, I was like… do I LOVE it? Like Am I really THAT overjoyed about this $10 savings here in Target, pushing my cart, you know, walking away with my little baggie of pills, like,
I'm not THAT happy.
And so that kind of stemmed… I don't know. That started my deep thinking session, and that's what ended up happening and why you have this episode. So this episode's a little longer because I'm actually going to be reading you a blog post that I wrote about all the “benefits” of being self employed, because that's always the number one thing.
People are like, well, how is your medical covered? Well, you know, what, if anything happens to you What if, you know, do you have enough money to cover everything?
Yes, you can have your own insurance. You can pay for your own independent insurance me personally, like as a single no kids person in America, generally it costs about like $300 to $400 to cover me per month. And that will either make you cringe, or that'll make you go, “Huh. Okay.”
And that's it.
So just keeping that in mind. But also, I mean, like, obviously, I'm very biased, I want you to come over to this side, I want you to take the leap and figure out a way to make it work. And so I have here a blog post that's 11 reasons
why you should go for self employment and why everyone should start a business. And I think the subtitle is like, everyone should start a business, but it's also terrible, but it does have some benefits. And so here's the blog post. And I hope it kind of opens your eyes a little bit.
What self-employment is:
Your method of self-employment is your key to doing what you love and getting paid for it.
I’m pretty open about the definition of self-employment — it could be starting a business, becoming a coach, setting up a company with the intention of selling it and starting over because you love the process so much. Or setting up a side hustle, or freelancing, or monetizing your hobby that you spend too much time on anyway (cosplay, anyone?). Or simply creating a brand for yourself, so you become known for your values and passions rather than an hourly fee that your boss is paying every week just so they can continue to be bitter about your production value. Or creating something that will help a cause you feel passionate about. Any and all of the above.
I also love this definition of self-employment:
The act of employing oneself;
Pretty much choosing not to sign up for the “how do I fit in and make it in my job so I can impress my parents with my choices and not actually live my life until later,” option.
(insert “because that's what heroes do” meme from Thor)
Self-employment is the future of college education (and student loan debt relief)
It solves the problem of college students thinking their choice of major and grade point average will dictate their future.
If every college student was forced into the path of “you’re going to have to make your own job and pitch yourself instead of filling out pre-existing applications for jobs you never fantasized about when you were a kid” then we’d have far more conscious decisions about what we study and who we choose as our mentors.
I didn’t work when I was in college. I’m still paying student loans for my architecture degree that I’m never going to use. I’m grateful for summers off and the time I spent sleeping and resting. I don’t regret it, but I do wish I had been making some kind of money in college to offset those private loans. Wouldn’t that have been nice if I had already had a passive income stream going while I was in school?
Creating income streams using as few resources (time and money) as we can, validating things before we invest, and getting paid to learn and implement should be a skill everyone knows by the time they finish college.
Self-employment will help our children avoid abuse and bullying
We don’t teach or embrace failure enough. And that’s because we don’t value vulnerability. We think we’re stable and safe in our miserable jobs that make us cry in the parking lot but hey, at least we’re doing work related to our major.
But how many people do you know have retired and not had enough money to live on?
I don’t have children and I don’t know if I ever will (probably not, honestly, I’m getting up there) but I often look at my nieces and nephews and hope that by the time they’re 18, they don’t have to go through the anguish that I did over picking a major. I hope their parents will be just as receptive to them starting a business as they would about majoring in biochemistry. I hope their parents will allow me to hire their kids for an internship so I can teach them how to make money solving a problem they genuinely care about.
I hope young adults in the future have an elaborate (legit, safe) network of global friends they can call on if they need to escape an abusive situation. That’s what we learn in college via internships and study abroad programs, that the world is bigger and there are resources out there.
If children are trained in a well-rounded way, they’ll know how to set boundaries and make decisions using their own intuition and experience. They’ll feel more comfortable in their own skin, having curated social feeds and not even being exposed to negative messaging (or at least limit it to smaller mounts) and they’ll be able to mitigate those triggers because they’ll be educated with real life experience.
If we embraced self-employment and entrepreneurship, children will be used to disagreeing and failing and won’t let it derail them as adults who are so set in their “must be safe and survive” ways.
If we turn off feeds, unfollow people purposely, and are very careful about where we spend our time and energy, more people in the world (first world anyway) would be a lot happier. Happiness + tools to cope = less bullying and abuse.
Self-employment makes personal development and mental health more mainstream
If more people start and maintain successful businesses (doing “all the things” right – being vulnerabile, sharing the process, helping people transform, lifting one another up) then it’s inevitable that more support will be shown for mental health and personal development.
I’ve got a story for ya.
In my third year of self-employment I hit a few milestones in my development and income, and I was at the point where I was juuuuust starting to believe I might know what I'm doing and be REALLY good at it. Maybe.
And I was walking with one of my friends in a bookstore. You know those tables where they have all the books piled up and the sign in the middle has the topic? I told my friend “I have a LOT of these books.” I started pointing at each one I’ve read. “This one, and this, and this, and that one. And those two on the other side.” And then I said, “I have a stack of these 3 as library books.” “I’ve read that one, but I don’t own it. I’ve borrowed it on Hoopla a few times though. Oh wait, I have it on kindle. That one, too.”
Something clicked for me in that moment, being able to say I’ve read all those books and own a lot of them. And I said, “Wow, it’s working!” and she understood, because she had been by my side the whole time I was building my business and knew how I was making some big steps.
Because this is what we do as small business owners: We take ownership of our current situation, because we are literally creating from scratch and practicing self reliance. We value mindset to the point where it’s actually kind of annoying. We make suggestions for books and develop ourselves consistently, all day, all year. And that’s the thing! A lot of us would not be doing this if it wasn’t a requirement for our businesses to be successful. It takes our natural tendency to be motivated by money and income to the next level.
Pursuing self-employment makes you smarter about money and the concept of happiness
Money makes happiness tangible. That doesn’t mean that if you don’t have it, you have a reason to be unhappy, or that you need money to be happy at all.
It’s not just something for beautiful, famous people with expensive DSLR cameras on tv reality shows. It can be your own kind of freedom, according to your rules.
And I gotta tell you, I used to think all the moms in Target at mid day on a Tuesday were stay at home moms with their husbands making all the money at work. Nothing against that lifestyle choice of course, but I never realized that a lot of those moms with babies at Target are actually six figure earners who are going to Target to escape for an hour because they’re launching something new in their online business. I was like whooooa when I realized that a lot of the coaches I’ve learned from were working from home and in the same economic class as me. So it’s not just for “the rich people.”
It turns out that people who choose to become traveling nomads CHOOSE that nomadic life. When you start a business, you have to be clear about what you want and what you don’t want. It turns out that it’s perfectly okay for me to enjoy living with my elderly dad and adult brother, and that my version of freedom is being able to wake up at 9am and planning Disneyland trips every 6 months, and playing video games at home as my chill-out method.
It’s also perfectly okay for someone else’s idea of freedom to be a million dollar mansion, speaking in front of thousands, hosting her own conferenc and launching her own product that fellow millionaires will buy from her e (I was temporarily very jelaous of a specific person with these goals!) .
It’s also perfectly okay for someone else’s idea of freedom to be that they stay at their corporate job, work the hours, stay away from drama, but still have enough money to buy every iteration of the XBox that comes out, buy all the games and DLCs, upgrade their internet to (what I personally consider, but actually isn’t) atrocious premium high-speed package to game with friends every night in a studio apartment.
It isn’t the choice that you make that leads to your own version of happiness and freedom. It’s that moment when you legit don’t mind that other people are different, and you’re happy for “all of us” because we’re all living the life we’ve always wanted.
We design our own life and we follow the strategies that will lead us (with our personalized, unique approaches, desires, tendencies, and goals) to that outcome.
Being self-employed checks your ego when it comes to jealousy and thinking other people are entitled and privileged.
Don’t get me wrong — I get it. I’m a plus sized, short, brown girl with a deep voice, a wide nose, and extra flat feet. I have things I’ve been thinking my whole life about tall white girls. I know of one who made it through domestic flights and airports without her ID because she forgot it at home, and still have a twinge of “oh that privileged bitch, no TSA person would have ever let me through” in me, I’m sorry to admit.
But having to take responsibility for myself, work on myself, and basically have NO ONE to blame by myself for my current circumstances really put me in check and got me to sober up about how much I can and can’t accomplish if I’m really honest about it.
It also teaches me to appreciate my own privilege, being straight and cisgendered (I have never had to reidentify as anything I wasn't born into) and middle class (I have never gone hungry for lack of funds or food), brown but not black, female (and unlikely to be accused of stalking/molesting children I'm around or looking at), full use of my full body, and no chronic pain.
Starting a business teaches you true introspection and vulnerability. Brene Brown, anyone?
Because this is what we do as entrepreneurs. We’re constantly checking ourselves and incredibly aware of jealousy, because that motherfucker literally fucks everything up if you let it.
Are you considering starting a business? Are you on this crazy roller coaster of entrepreneurship? What “benefits” make it a great experience for you?
Share below, in the comments!