4 big reasons to work for Yourself

I’ve just come up on the 1 year anniversary of forming my own company and working for myself 🎊. Now that I’ve had some time in the trenches, here are my big reasons why I love working for myself.

1. Flexibility

It should be no surprise that flexibility is a big reason to work for yourself. While most full-time jobs now offer a flexible work schedule, very few have ultimate flexibility of when and where you can work.

As a freelancer in the digital age, this can be taken to the extreme going on a program like Remote Year. Or you can take the plunge on your own and move to Columbia on a whim.

I’ve travelled all over the world — I’ve found that in most countries in Europe, Asia, and South America, Internet and Wi-fi is pretty easy to find. In some places (Vietnam), its even easier to find than in the US.

This means that you can work on a schedule that works best for you. I’ve been learning more about how to best organize my time, and its certainly not a 9–5 corporate work schedule.

My work in technology usually consists of Deep Work. So for me I work best if I have a few hours of uninterrupted focus time. If I’m “In the zone”, I continue working for as long as I can. This way I can get as much work done as efficiently as possible (and then have time to watch the World Cup ⚽️).

That works best for me, but everyone is different. My bet is that your best way to work is not a 9–5 schedule, but you will need to experiment to find out what works best for you.

2. Time

Other than family & friends, time is the most valuable thing you have. If you are an Investment Banker making $300k/year but working 80 hours/week, you are making $72/hour. Thats not abad hourly rate at all, but its probably not the best use of time.

When working for yourself, you think about time differently. Instead of dedicating most of your waking hours making the company better as an employee, you must dedicate time to making yourself or your business better.

At first, this can be very hard — especially since investing in yourself or your business may not pay dividends in the beginning. But you need to take the long view. You may not see a monetary return on your money now like you would get from a paycheck. But if you invest in yourself you will come out ahead in the long run.

3. New Projects

Its about keeping it interesting. What you can do working for yourself is only limited by your own imagination and motivation. The key is to have have a few skills that you are really good at and be open to learning new things.

Usually there is a learning process when starting a new project or a new job. This can last anywhere between a couple months and two years. After that, the learning curve drops off and the challenges become less and less. However with freelancing and entrepreneurship there is always something to learn.

The key is having just enough experience to get the gig, while “faking” the rest of it and learning on the job.

4. Fresh perspectives

When you come in on a project as a consultant, you are an outsider. While some might view this as a disadvantage, I view at as an advantage. Full time employees get so engrained in the “company culture”, or “thinking like everyone else”, it can be hard to think outside the box.

I saw this first hand at my last full time job. Slowly but surely innovation and new perspectives were silenced, and we were asked to get on with the new company agenda. If you have a product that is working, it makes sense to try to sell it as much as possible. However, if you are a technology or innovation company, this can stifle innovation.

As an outside consultant, you can approach a problem without worrying about the internal company politics. They are paying you specifically for your expertise and outside viewpoint. Take advantage of that.

Call to Action

If you’re thinking about making the jump, consider these 4 big advantages: flexibility, time, new projects, and fresh perspectives. If you value these aspects in work, freelancing might be for you. There’s more to consider of course. In my next post, I’ll talk about 4 big challenges you’ll face when working for yourself. As you’ll see, they aren’t negatives, but they are challenges and adjustments that are necessary to be successful working for yourself.