In an uncertain economy plagued by unemployment and insecurity, the idea of working for yourself can seem as appealing – and remote – as winning the lottery. How do you get started? What kind of work can you do? Is it expensive to get started? Faced with all that, the lottery starts to seem like the safer bet, even though you probably don’t know anybody who has won the lottery.
You do, however, almost certainly know people who are self-employed. According recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are almost fifteen million self-employed individuals in the United States as of January, 2012. They write for your local paper, they design the websites you visit and the graphics you interact with, they sell cookies and they mow lawns. People are increasingly turning to freelance work to supplement – and even supplant – their traditional income. It is, as we like to say here, the Age of PIE. That’s Personal Independent Earnings, for you new readers.
In this era of outsourcing, downsizing, and plain old fashioned bankruptcy, having your own Personal Independent Earnings can be a lifesaver. In fact, this study, conducted in 2000 by Douglas Holtz-Eakin (former Director of the Congressional Budget Office and chief economic policy adviser to Senator John McCain ‘s 2008 Presidential campaign), found a direct increase in the earnings distribution among low-income individuals who began to undertake their own business opportunities.
In simpler terms – people who didn’t have enough money found they could make more money through self-employment. It’s not hard to see why fifteen million Americans have taken their economic destiny into their own hands and begun working for themselves.
Of course, money doesn’t just fall into your hands. Running a business can be complex. That’s why there lies at the heart of every successful business a solid system for handling all the different tasks of managing a business to enable you to focus on your core competency. The keys are simplification and streamlining – the less time you spend worrying about the details, the more time you can spend building your business.
If you’re thinking about working for yourself, look for simple, inexpensive, reliable tools you can use to streamline your business management and allow you to dedicate as much of your freelance time as possible to productivity. In the coming weeks, we’ll cover some examples of these tools, as well as strategies for making the most use of your time, money, and energy to build a successful business working for the best boss you’ll ever have – you.