Set your own hours. Make more money. No annoying boss. You call the shots.
For millions of us, the dream is to have our own business; we love to imagine being self-employed. If that’s the case for you, then I have good news.
To get started we need to quickly define what it is we’re talking about. What is self-employment? My definition varies slightly from the traditional dictionary. If you know me, you know that my definition of a lot of things varies from the population at large.
The dictionary will define self-employment something along the lines of “Circumstances in which someone works for themselves rather than working for an employer that pays a salary or a wage.”
My definition would be more like “Circumstances in which someone sells a product, service, skill and/or labour to someone else at an agreed upon price, in order to profit.”
A business offers what they have of value to others in a marketplace. So does an employee.
A business attempts to get an individual or institution to pay them for whatever it is they offer. So does an employee.
A business provides something of value to the individual or institution at a price higher than their cost to produce it in order to make a profit.
If a business can sell their product or service to someone else in a marketplace at a higher price, they do so.
Are you seeing it? You are an independent business. You sell your skills, knowledge and/or labour to the business you work for.
Now let me tell you a very important point about how you are running your business.
Some very, very large multimillion dollar businesses have gone out of business very suddenly as a result of one flaw in their business plan. Too few clients, and in particular, having one client upon which they depended for the bulk of their business. It might have been a government contract, or a contract to one large corporation. Then something happens. Perhaps a competitor underbids them and takes the contract. Perhaps a competitor develops an innovative or superior product or service and takes the contract away. Regardless, the result is the same. Depending on that one main customer left them vulnerable, and when they lost them, they lost their business.
As an employee, you are like a business with only one customer.
Now understand, I am not suggesting you run out tomorrow and become an independent contract worker, or start a more traditional business without performing reasonable due diligence. What I am suggesting is that maybe you view your circumstances of employment in a new light. Maybe you should take the time to reflect on things from a new point of view.
Are you running your business well?
Are you providing the best value to you customer? Why would your customer value you as a supplier and want to retain you?
Are you evolving and innovating in order to remain, or grow in value to your customer?
Can you diversify your customer base? Is there an innovative way to sell your products or services to more than one customer in order to achieve greater security for your business?
Take a little time to think about this today. If may only result in you doing a better job for your customer so they come to value your service and you become a little more “indispensable”, or it may result in your breaking off from committing full time to one customer, hiring more staff and reselling their services to more customers. Who know the possibilities?
Whatever the case, it is something all “employees” should reflect upon from time to time.