How to Stay Self-Employed for Life?

 

self employed for life

It’s an amazing feeling, right? Being self-employed. Instead of focusing on office politics, you can focus on doing good work. Instead of having to sit at your desk, you can work flexible hours. No Monday morning blues, or traveling during rush hours. You can choose your time, your place, and work.

Many youngsters are turning towards self-employment today. But only a handful will continue to stay like that in coming years. Eventually, around eighty percent return to the corporate grind because it offers financial stability. But it is not as fulfilling as working on your terms. Not even close.

Sustaining a life where you stay self-employed (and even retire earlier than your peers) is possible. In fact, many people whom you haven’t heard of are doing it well. If you want to pursue a similar lifestyle, here are some suggestions:

1. Excel at What You Do

Competition is bloody today. Robots are taking over humans’ jobs. And the number of people who offer what you do at one-fifth your price has exploded. Guess what it has done to the market?

However, the demand for quality services will never subside. Yes, if you focus on quality, you will have less work than the ‘five-dollar freelancers’. But you will make much more money than them. Less quantity of work enables you to deliver better quality.

Summary: Being better than most of your competitors is a surefire way to ensure that money keeps flowing, and that people don’t haggle with you on prices. You don’t need to be unique. Just be better.

2. Expand Your Horizons

Today, being a specialist is good. But being a capable generalist is even better. It opens many doors for you. And more opportunities mean more money.

I’m not suggesting that you becoming a jack of all trades and master of none. Instead, master around four trades associated with your core skill. For instance, if you are a content writer, equip yourself with a few skills on social media marketing, traffic generation, and keyword research. You don’t have to master everything; just develop some skills which make you a better rounded content writer cum marketer. It helps you stand out and make more money despite being more ‘expensive’ than competition.

Summary: Providing better services is the key to sustainable self-employment. Offering more than your competition is a part of achieving this success. It leads to more money. More money also means that you have a better shot at retiring early despite being self employed.

3. Have an Alternate Source of Income

Putting all your eggs in one basket is better than putting them in many. You can pay more attention to one basket than five. But staying focused on just one source is risky. Author Bruce Kasansoff writes that he knows executives who earned large sums of money, but were stranded when that section of the economy went south.

While the corporate world muffles such impacts for you, being self-employed rarely offers such luxuries. So have an alternate income source, something which continues paying the bills if your main business runs into troubled waters.

Summary: Keep a separate basket for the revenue to flow during difficult times. Thus, you to make more money in good times, and pursue creativity for longer even if your core business is slow to take off.

4. Become Comfortable Financially

Becoming self-employed is amazing, until finances start making life difficult. When renowned investment guru Vishal Khandelwal became self employed, he did three things before quitting his job:

“I paid off my home loan out of my savings and some help from the family – I cut my financial liability to zero. I had enough saved to cover 35 months of expenses (so this was a sort of plan B for me). As a family, we were willing to cut down on our lifestyle expenses. I now earn just 50% of what I would have earned if I was on a job now, but I’m 5x more content with what I’m doing now. All this because for me and my wife, the equation of ‘Earn – Save = Spend” holds paramount.’”

Summary: Make a plan for reducing your financial liability and becoming secure enough to handle contingencies. Eventually, your work will grow wings, increasing your cash flow. And this will lay the foundation for faster retirement and enjoying life.

Being self-employed demands making sacrifices. It takes discipline and resilience, especially during bleak times (and trust me, there will be many). By following a few focused philosophies, you can stay self-employed for life. You can spend time with people who matter, pursue more meaningful tasks, and retire at your convenience. Truly, it is one of the most gratifying experiences.

Vishal is the founder of Aryatra, a venture to help individuals improve their productivity and live more fulfilled lives. He also is a digital marketing consultant helping businesses generate revenue from their online presence.


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