If you choose to work for yourself, you are joining a rapidly growing trend. I can easily see the day coming when a new graduate chooses a career as a salaried employee only because he or she hasn't got the necessary confidence and skill to start their own business.
"So you got a job at Bank of America?"
"Yeah. I couldn't face the thought of starting my own company and not making a go of it."
"Too bad! Maybe in a few years, you'll be ready to take that step."
Working for yourself is no longer a last resort. There are many highly trained people who have deliberately chosen to leave the corporate world to strike out on their own. Building a business from scratch is the ultimate challenge for many. You get all of the excitement and all of the responsibility.
For many, the risk of failure in a micro-business is insignificant compared to the slow torture of trying to accomplish anything significant in a highly layered corporate structure.
In a micro-business, you call the shots and you learn from your mistakes. If you are a fast learner and quick on your feet, this is a heady experience. You now have tools which make you every bit as efficient as a much larger firm. In addition, you have the opportunity to work closely with your customers and give them a level of service that no large corporation can match.
As Lloyd pointed out in a comment to my last post, a few years ago we would try to hide the fact that we were a very small company. Today, you will see many websites which proudly state, "We are a family-owned business!" or "We are a small company and your business is important to us."
Self-employed people give up salaries, benefits and a measure of security in exchange for freedom and greater control over their work and family lives. For some of us, it's the difference between manning an oar on a galley or paddling our own canoe.
There is a high degree of lock-step conformity in the best of corporations. Along with the business trips to Paris and Singapore, there is a mind-numbing series of compromises you make with your integrity and your conscience in order to keep on receiving that salary and those perks.
On the other hand, most self-employed people earn less than a salaried person and they may work longer hours. Most self-employed people lack insurance benefits, although that may change as micro-businesses become a larger factor in the economy.
In spite of all this, I believe that micro-businesses will continue to grow in number and importance because being self-employed allows people to balance work and family in a way that is usually impossible as a salaried employee with a full-time job.
One huge boost for micro-businesses is the immense marketplace established by Ebay. As a micro-business owner, your biggest problem is reaching potential customers. With Ebay, you have an open market place with unlimited potential.
Some people who have abandoned corporate life are making a living using the resources of Ebay. This article on The Rise of the Mompreneurs is an example. Thanks to Lloyd for the tip. His site is well worth visiting.
In my next post, I will round up some bloggers with micro-businesses, because I think these people have the best of both worlds. They get to make the decisions for their businesses and they get to share their realizations and business experiences with kindred spirits through their weblogs.