Is Self-Employment More Stable than a Regular Job - picture of young woman typing on laptop

Is Self-Employment More Stable than a Regular Job?

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As I look back on my life, I’ve always had a desire to be self-employed. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I can see now that it was a driving factor in my pursuit of a theatre degree. Through the arts, I had the ability to control my own career and get paid to practice my passion.

Eventually, I realized there wasn’t much money to be made in the field, so I searched for other options. I turned to mortuary science, a profession that could easily lead to an ownership position. Throughout my mortuary career, my goal of owning a firm never wavered – until I burned out. Instead of giving up on my self-employment dreams, I found a less traditional path to reach them.

Being self-employed for 18 months, I could never go back to “real world.” And while everything we earn depends on our own efforts, I think entrepreneurship gets a bad rap. People assume we’re huge risk takers and that living an entrepreneurial lifestyle is dangerous. They dream of doing it, but cower at the thought of making the leap.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to feel the same way. But now that I work for myself, I actually see the exact opposite. To me, working as an employee is a much bigger risk. Here’s why.

5 Reasons It’s Better to Be Self-Employed

You Can’t Be Fired

“Wow! You’re self-employed?” others will ask. “Aren’t you afraid you’re going to lose it all?”

No. Not really.

I’d guess that the majority of people feel regular jobs provide more safety and stability than being self-employed. I know when I worked “secure” jobs, I took comfort in the fact that I was going to get paid whether the company made money or not. I never thought my job would be in jeopardy, and – as far as I know – it never was. In many ways, those that believe regular jobs to be safer are right… until they’re not.

You don’t have to look that far back to see that safe and secure jobs aren’t really that safe and secure after all. Remember the economic crash of 2009? According to this 2014 article, a survey from Rutgers University found that over 20% of Americans lost their jobs in the previous 5-year period. That’s more than 1 out of 5 people, yo! How safe does a regular job look now?

Sure, being an entrepreneur means taking risks – but the risks are calculated. Entrepreneurs create an idea and bring it to life for all the world to see, putting their own financial and emotional capital on the line in the process. There are no guarantees, and constantly putting yourself out there can be scary and stressful.

But when you’re self-employed, you can never be fired. Sure, you may lose a customer here and there; but, when your self-employed, you always have the option to work harder and find more customers. Yes, the business could collapse, but you’ll be the last one standing if it does.

You Can Diversify

You’ve heard the old phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” right? We apply this belief to countless areas of our financial lives. Diversify your investments, don’t spend it all in one place, don’t bet it all on red – the list goes on and on.

But here’s the thing: When it comes to income, most people only collect eggs from one hen. Generally speaking, 100% of their income stems from their job. If they lose their job, their income is gone – kaput – capooy.

Honestly, that’s pretty crazy when you think about it. In no other instance do we believe it’s safe to bet the farm on a single item – EXCEPT when it comes to our income.

As a self-employed individual, I can spread my risk by creating multiple income streams. The more ways I create to generate income, the more stable my income becomes. At the moment, Holly and I have around 10 streams of income. We could lose 3 jobs and still have money coming in from 7 other sources. To me, that is more stable than any 9 to 5 I can think of.

The thing is, you don’t even have to be completely self-employed to do this. Start a side hustle and diversify your income today!

You Control the Amount of Work You Have

In addition to our multiple income streams, we’re also able to control the amount of income we make each month. If we want to make more money, we have options. The easiest remedies are adding new clients or doing extra work for the clients we already have.

When we take vacation, we also have a choice. We can keep our income steady and get ahead on our work; or, we can take a week off and choke down the pay cut. Either way, the choice is ours to make – and not at the discretion of our boss.

Your Income is Unlimited

When you work for somebody else, your income is almost always limited. Businesses have bills to pay and budgets to keep. Unless your salary includes a commission component, you might be lucky to receive a small raise every year – no matter the company’s profits.

Because I’m self-employed, my income potential is unlimited. No joke, I can earn as much money as I want. The larger my market and the longer my reach, the greater my ability to produce more income. If I want to make more, I just have to work harder and reach more people. I can even hire others to help me do this, pay them, and make more money in profits. My income potential is legitimately uncapped!

Related: How I Earn Over $200K Online

You Control Your Hours

One of the biggest benefits to being self-employed is the fact that I control my own hours. It’s a huge perk, and in many ways has changed my life.

I used to hate asking other adults for time off. Lucky for me, my bosses were fairly generous if I really needed something. Still, it sucked to beg for a night off or to find coverage so I could attend a family gathering.

Now that I’m self-employed, I can take as much time off as I need. I can go on vacation whenever I want, and I can quit work early to attend my daughter’s recital. Of course, taking time off also means I’m not getting paid. So, I make up for it by working on nights, weekends, and whenever else I have time.

Wrapping Up

In my eyes, self-employment is more secure than working for somebody else. Although I wouldn’t recommend taking a blind leap of faith, you can certainly dabble in self-employment prior to quitting your day job. Even if you don’t want to work for yourself, you should still consider starting a side job to increase and diversify your monthly income. Plus, you never know where it might lead.

Do you think self-employment is more stable than a 9 to 5? Why or why not? 

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9 Comments

  1. Great points Greg. I agree that if you have a good amount of income, self employment is far better than a salaried job. I hope that’s what we can create for ourselves. We have got a long way to go, but thanks to you and Holly being one of the main inspirations for us, we know it’s just a matter of time.

    Tristan

  2. Nice overview and I appreciate you dispelling this myth. Having recently become an entrepreneur myself in multiple ways (blogging and buying a small business) I can attest to this as well and also the benefits of having multiple income streams (all while still working my 9-5). Becoming an entrepreneur is a path to consider, and I think more folks are coming around to this idea. Thanks for the post!

  3. Self employment really cements the link between smart work and income, but it’s not a cake walk. You’ve got to be able to add value day in and day out to keep on earning, and you have to have the resilience to overcome a setback.

    1. Personally, I like the challenge. At my old job, I couldn’t get fired unless I totally screwed everything up. That job was a cake walk. What fun is that? I enjoy challenging myself and relying on myself to support my family more than I enjoyed clocking in and relying on someone else’s business skills to keep me employed.

  4. I think a lot of people that get arts degrees don’t realize that if they want to make a living with their degree they’ll have to become entrepreneurs unless their arts degree is geared towards corporate work like architecture or graphic design.

    A lot of art programs and specific art colleges don’t teach that though which is why a lot of people don’t “make it” in the arts and go back for a more corporate degree like nursing or accounting. If you look at fine artists and illustrators, the ones that have “made it” utilize entrepreneurship skills and learn about money (how to manage it, invest it, etc.) so they won’t end up “starving artists.”

    Did you know that Michelangelo invested his money? However I’ve found that many artists/illustrators don’t want to do that, they just want to sit in their studios all day and that’s not really how life works.

    Although I’m not sure how one would do that with a theater degree. Maybe start a YouTube channel? That one is a bit tricky. Sorry I rambled, but yes I agree with you I think entrepreneurship does offer more stability.

  5. I think you’re right for the most part. It’s certainly not for everyone — you really need to be motivated, organized, and disciplined — but there are definitely several advantages as you mention. I also like your point about diversification not only from an income standpoint but being self-employed also allows you to do a variety of things so you never get bored.

  6. You really make a great point here in that your income streams are diversified. Losing a couple out of the 10 may hurt your bottom line but that’s of course preferred to losing all income. Not only that it would free up some time to pursue new opportunities. Great post Greg!

  7. As a mom, I prefer self-employment because I can manage my time more and take care of kids. It can enable me to do whatever I want like have more time for exercise, so I think self-employment is more advantageous than the typical job.

  8. Interesting topic, Greg. We have never chosen to view our jobs as truly “stable.” You could get laid off for a variety of reasons outside of your control when you work for someone else. However, maybe people are thinking of that somewhat unstable “start-up” period that sometimes happens at the beginning of self-employment. I agree that once you’ve established your self-employed career it is often much more stable than working for someone else.

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