If you've seen the new George Clooney movie, "Up In The Air", you probably left the theater like I did - completely bummed out.
My heartstrings were particularly twanged by the scene where Clooney's character, a downisizing hired guy, drops the unemployment hammer on what appeared to be a very 50+ automotive industry manager.
You could just feel the energy rushing out of the guy as he couldn't conceptualize what else he could possbily do in his work life other than what he had done for the past thirty-plus years.
Big corporations in particular have worked hard to create this mental bias among Americans that their way of worklife is the only preferred path.
But, I'm here to tell you that we 22-million strong self-employed and small business owners have figured out a way to combine joy and income, something harder and harder to find in a corporate job today.
We know that honest, sincere enthusiasm about what we sell attracts interested customers willing to pay a fair price for a solution to their problem. For many of us working on our own, we've learned that the only real limit to our personal income is how hard we want to work.
In the corporate world, one person can fire you. But to be truly "unemployed" as a self-employed person all of your customers would have to "fire you", and I don't think most of us are so stupid as to let this happen!
Now, I'm the first to tell you that there are unexpected ups and downs in your financial life as a self-employed person. I've certainly witnessed them during my 21+ years as my own boss.
But, let me tell you the key to keeping the joy - the sense of control we feel about the outcome of our work. Happy customers pay generously. In today's corporate world you can knock out your boss with your excellence and you'll still likely only get a 3% bump in your salary each year. So keeping those who control your corporate income happy often doesn't lead to a more financially secure life for you and your family.
In the end, it comes to down to a sharp reality - we get paid for using our talent, skills and experience to solve problems.
What's the best way to help assure continuous income doing this?
- Sell your talent to a corporation who often can't wait to dump you at the first sign of financial trouble, or...
- Sell your talent to a group of customers who become your friends and can't wait to buy from you again.