My cheek to the kitchen floor I said, "Dad. There's a metal thing hanging down here. Isn't that what you've been looking for?"
My dad, also on his knees, extracted his mid-section from between the washing machine and the wall. He looked slowly at my mother and then to where my finger was pointing. "Yeah, that's it," he calmly said.
In the next three minutes, he was able to complete the job on which he had already spent an hour.
My dad was not a prideful man. He accepted the obvious truth when he saw it, regardless of the source. Today, if I were a 10-year-old little helper and my dad was a professional businessman, I'd say, "Dad. Independent business, isn't that what you've been looking for?"
He'd extract himself from between his job and his financial obligations. Then he'd look at my mother, look at where I was pointing, evaluate the subject, and then say, "Yeah, that's it." Then he'd take action and work over the next five years to do what he hadn't been able to do in the previous 30.
Job's fail 98% of the time. People come out at the end of a 40 year career either dead or broke - or both. Most people stay in that system because it's all they know. Our parents told us to get a good education, get a good job, and then work hard. That advice starts the wheels down that road. Then we get a paycheck and security, and translate that into debt and obligations. From then on there is never a time when we think we can break the cycle of paycheck-obligation in order to start a business - even if we were so inclined. It takes repeated corporate beatings to precipitate an eye opening.
There are times, when our economy slumps, that a great awareness takes place. Like a bear awaking from a winter's nap, professionals rub their eyes and realize that they can, rather need to, get out of their redundant, sleepy day and make some serious changes. Often, these people are forced to review their options. The job they considered secure was considered excess in the eyes of their company. These mid- to late-career professionals have finally experienced this type of loss enough times to be ready to make a career adjustment. Like the bear emerging from his cave, he is focused and determined. He has a hunger that will be fed through the product of his effort; effort that is in distinct contrast to the long winter's sleep of a job.
"We've all talked about going back to a 'corporate' job. The thing is; this is a great life. Why would I want to give it up?" asked Jennifer Overholt, an independent consultant. Working for yourself is empirically and intuitively the superior choice for creating a living when compared to a job. The joy of the independent "is in the work they do and in doing it without the burden of managing anyone but themselves. They own what they earn, but more importantly, they own their decisions." I will not detail the woes of the economy, the fickleness of corporate leadership, or the constraints of a job. I'd rather stay focused on the positives of working independently, while showing you how to overcome the weaknesses of this approach.
I have spoken with thousands of people who dream of being independent. They want to join the estimated half a million annual home-based business start-ups and 8.6 million independent contractors nationally. Most are coming from high level positions in business that demand extraordinary hours and effort, frequent travel away from home, and a limited income. Granted, for most of these people, $200,000 defines limited income. They were looking for the antithesis to their current situation. In general, they wanted to control their schedule, work near home, have unlimited income potential, and the security of not having a job that is kept at the pleasure of their employer.
Simply the opportunity to take this step is something most professionals miss during their job-hibernation. People without a college degree start over 71% of businesses. People with a higher education, years of earnings and experience, and family stability should be leveraging those attributes to craft the exceptional life they want. They are infinitely more qualified to run a business properly when compared to a high school educated, blue collar worker. Our white-collar wearing peers, however, often ignore this truth because of the habit of a job, a substantial income, and insufficient self-esteem that won't allow them to risk their security on their own abilities.
One of the weaknesses of an independent business is that it does primarily depend on the abilities and efforts of the owner. More importantly, however, it depends on their determination combined with their abilities. There are two different issues here, abilities and determination. You can control both.