More interesting is who really supported me at the start - I'm from the upper middle class and people always expected me to go off to work at some big company after college. Most of the other upper middle class people treated me with this sympathetic (and, I think, condescending) type of tone when I was starting out. But most of my best friends are actually from a lower income group (you'd say blue collar or skilled labor), and they and their families really encouraged me and understood I was being ambitious and doing this of my own volition.
Of course, now that my partner and I have 3 employees working for us and are profitable, I don't get much sympathy from anyone any more :)
But it may be more of a class/culture thing, Paul Graham talked about how people like Ford and the other industrialists came from the working class, rather than the middle class because starting their own business was considered too much a risk when you could get a secure job with a really good salary for the rest of your life working at a big corporation.
Or maybe it is just because until fairly recently the price to start a company that would need the skills you would have to pay a salary that would put your employees in the middle class for would cost several million dollars and as a consequence would be rather rare, whereas most of the blue collar workers could imagine starting their own plumbing company, because that isn't such an unusual thing to do.
As an aside, getting into the trades would be a great way to make a lot of money without having to pay of college debt, the work can't be outsourced and since everybody knows you are supposed to go to college, getting into the trades is undervalued.
On the other hand, I guess there are people that would rather risk unemployment than the "blue collar" perceived stigma.
Not to mention that many of the well-paying trades are actually not easy to learn! I have a lot of respect for them.
I don't know if it comes from jealousy, but I do think some people view work differently.
For me this isn't a career, it's a lifestyle. For those who view a job as a paycheck it's hard to think about it any differently.
To them, working is a subset of having a job. They couldn't imagine themselves choosing to not have a job before retirement, and they assume that you look at it the same way.
The bottom line is that one of the hardest things in the world is looking at things from the other person's point of view. The truth is that it's something that all of us have to actively work on.
"I'm currently looking for freelance work"
"I'm trying my hand at contracting"
is much different from:
"I'm a small business owner"
"I'm the principle of an IT contracting firm"
I've been in business for 10 years for myself, and I have always told people I run my own business and nobody has EVER said something about me trying to find a job or being unemployed. Ever.
It must be a vibe he puts off, or the way he describes what he's doing. Maybe he's wishy washy in what he says he's doing, or doesn't speak with confidence.
While this isn't justification for poor communication skills, a conversation is affected by the other's perceived notions as much as the way you present yourself.
I imagine he's saying 'I'm self-employed' which in this state, people just assume you're out of work. Because who in their right mind would try and start a business in this economy...
Sounds like it's not such a bad idea after all.
I also see a similarity between the early Spanish immigrants (started small businesses, farming, etc) and the current-day Chinese immigrants (which usually start their own businesses over here as well).
However for me going independent was a better way to help others. I believe strongly that a good leader has to first be a good follower, though I still have a long way to go as a leader :)
I think successful consultancies put their client's success as first priority, and they use their passion, experience, and talent to achieve that goal. I try to model my relationships after that. If I naturally become the lead in the project, that's great but it isn't a priority.
Her parents own a Chinese restaurant in Paris, but she wanted to work in finance: she went to a good Business School, and was interning in a well-known french bank. While working in finance is considered by many to be a prestigious job, her family is not very supportive of her choice to become a salaried employee.
She told me, that for chinese immigrants, you were deemed successful when you had your own venture, such as a restaurant or a bar. The most respected immigrants run Import companies. Those who take salaried jobs are seen badly.
Confidence is contagious.
Totally agree with "Confidence is contagious"
Where I live - in Sydney, Australia - it's generally understood that contractors/freelancers make more money than typical working stiffs. I think I would always be able to make more money as a freelancer. I would still be doing so, if I hadn't found a great job at a great company.
What puzzles me, though, is the purpose of this blog post. Surely anyone reading it already knows the score. :-)
I don't have a strong agenda for my blog posts other than sharing my thoughts and hearing critical feedback that I can learn from.
That is awesome on finding a great company!
My product pays the bills, but a bit of consulting on the side right now makes it much less of a dicey proposition and pays for trips to see the family and for freelancers and whatnot to work on my next product, and unlike my customers, consulting clients still have work to be done in the summer.
Some of the skills you crosstrain in, like selling, are intensely valuable, and for a variety of consulting engagements you can use your own business as an object demonstration of what you can do for the customer. Plus, your BATNA is much better than the typical freelancers: oh no, if you don't want to pay my ludicrous hourly wages, I'll be forced to spend the time working on expanding my profitable businesses. How ever will I cope.
No doubt after a few years I'll have the urge to start a product again. Luckily I've been able to scratch that itch with my time at Elevator Up.
I've certainly had people criticise my choice to be self-employed (mainly my family), but I've never actually encountered the assumption that it was my only choice. Regional attitudes vary, I guess.
Or I just tell them I'm doing so well that Facebook got scared and tried to sue me out of business!
1. You are not officially self-employed until you file your taxes and officially state that as your occupation.
2. Nobody is really "unemployed." Unemployment benefits are taxed as income. That makes you "self-employed" anyway. To me, calling yourself unemployed is simply destructive thinking.
I'm not sure I follow you. Being employed is trading your labour for income; if you are collecting unemployment benefit you are not trading any labour. That doesn't mean that you are not working but you are definitely not employed. Cf. a stay-at-home parent may work their butt off but is not employed in the normal meaning of the word.
I've always been involved in 'projects' and working on ideas aside from my main gig, and when I take on proper contracts now, it seems most people think of it as a bad thing. As though I've given up or I'm not doing what I am supposed to be doing or something like that.
Am I the only one who gets this kind of reaction? Completely the opposite of the author.
One of the reasons for my move was that it aligned what made me happy, helping others, and making a living all in one. If that's the same for you moving from side projects to your main projects, more power to you!
Out of curiosity, what part of the country are you in?
I know they mean well, but more than once I've growled back self not un.
It's usually easier.
To strike out on your own is to cut the safety net.
"Those that dream," "those that make it big," and "those who strike out on their own," are complex groups with varying degrees of overlap.
Many people "strike out on their own," for a variety of reasons unrelated to "making it big".
Them's the breaks.
Link here: http://store.dieselsweeties.com/products/im-not-unemployed-i... , and no, I have no connection to the website whatsoever.