Why People Who Work For Themselves Are Happier Than Those Who Don’t
I’ve said it before, multiple times, I LOVE being my own boss. I can’t imagine anything better, and every time I work for someone else – much as I enjoy working with other people in a different environment – I yearn to be back in my business again pretty quickly.
Every day I spend running my own company, despite the challenges and the occasional 3am worry, is a happy day.
I’m sure, on balance, you’d agree.
However, I understand that someone somewhere might be reading this blog today feeling rather despondent or disillusioned about their own business. Perhaps it’s you? Perhaps you’ve had a tough time bringing in clients, or you’re finding it hard working on your own; or maybe you’re overwhelmed with work and can’t find time to complete it all – let alone keep an eye on the business bit of it too.
Whatever it might be, I wanted to write this for you; to remind you why you started, and why – even though today might be a tough day – working for yourself is likely to leave you happier than working for someone else.
Let me start by telling you why I started my first solo business.
I’d been running a, very successful, business with my ex-husband, when we split up. We’d been living a wonderful life - big house, fast cars, lots of holidays, a son in private school - and I lost it all in the blink of an eye. When he left, he took everything with him and left me with nothing; no income, no security, not even my car. I had to start all over again.
I spent the next nine months working for someone else, finding that job was hard because most employers didn’t want someone who’d been running their own business working for them, but I managed it. However, not only did I realise that I wasn’t very good at working for other people, much better at working for myself, I also found trying to juggle childcare, school, work and home so tough that I decided the easiest thing would be to go back to self-employment; so I started my first solo business at the beginning of 2006.
It was one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done.
My self-esteem and confidence were at an all time low due to my marriage breakdown. I’d been facing financial ruin, as I had no monetary support from my sons father, and as my husband had run off with someone else having been having an affair, it also affected my view of myself.
I didn’t like myself very much, if I’m honest.
But my business? It gave me back my self-belief. I realised I wasn’t a failure, that the end of my marriage didn’t define me, and that I could do a better job of keeping a roof over my family’s head by running my own business than I could working for someone else.
And I did.
I won’t deny, it hasn’t been easy – I’ve had some seriously low moments – but I still stand by my initial comment; I wouldn’t change being my own boss for the world.
And although the self-employed may work longer hours and earn less on average, they are happier and more satisfied than those who work for someone else (Telegraph,25/5/14).
Being your own boss enables you to work around other commitments, be more flexible in your life decisions, and do something you love. It gives you a sense of achievement and purpose, as well as a better chance of reaching financial goals in the future (not all business owners earn less working for themselves!).
How many employees can say that?
Every business founder and owner I’ve worked with has told me that the day they started their own business was one of the best days of their lives. That they have developed something using their skills and experience that they can be proud of. Some have provided employment for others, some have created a business they can pass on to their children or other family members. All have achieved economic independence.
They’re all happier than they would be working for someone else; and very few of them would ever entertain going back into employment.
Think about why you started your business. Go back over the goals you set. Search out your first business plan and remember the excitement, and trepidation, that you felt knowing that you were about to start on a journey full of promise (and a little bit of fear!).
What have you achieved? And, on balance, aren’t you glad that you took the leap?