Re: American thinking all the way
"But, outrage aside, think seriously of it: the stress of being self-employed won't improve your quality of life..."
Actually, whether or not self-employment is considered stressful and a drain on the quality of your life is entirely dependant on the individual.
As for myself, entreprenuership is in my . My dad was an entreprenuer - as were both my grandfathers. I have a total of 9 cousins on both sides, 6 of them are entreprenuers; my husband is self employed and I have helped him build his business for the past 8 years.
Now it's my turn, I am preparing to a launch a web design/development biz.
I know this will sound outrageous to most of you, but I am just now learning how to program, because I recognize I can only get so far as a web DESIGNER. My graphics art background is not enough of a skillset for the types of websites I wish to build. If I don't learn to program the backend, I'll always be dependant on outsourcing or hiring someone else to do the mission-critical programming.
So, I decided to take programming classes at a local technical college. My focus is the LAMP platform, they offer enough in open source technology to give me a foundation and help me to jumpstart my self studies.
I doubt I'll be anything close to a fantastic programmer in less than two years (DUH!), but I promise you this - I'll make money.
I do not, however, agree that all debt is bad. I took out some student loans. I consider them to be an investment in my business plans. My dad tripled mortgaged our home, had to find outside investors, and crawled on his knees to the banks until his pants wore out when starting his business. The money I'll be investing in my startup is peanuts by comparison, even with the education investment.
For me, working for others means not being able to implement my ideas and plans, having to follow the beat of someone else's drum, being dependant on someone else for a pay raise, time off and project selection, not being able to choose to work only with those whose work ethics and standards I respect (the list goes on).
This all adds up to STRESS - the stress of not being in control of my own life. I could never work in a corporate environment - I don't fit their mold.
From my perspective, the added responsibilities of self-employment are welcomed - not stressful.
On the other hand, I was recently talking with a woman who said she wanted her Java Programmer husband to quit his job - she thought he could make more money as a freelancer, especially since their family could get health insurance through her job. My comment to her was "if the fire is not in his gut to be self-employed, then I doubt he'll be successful at freelancing."
As others have said, we all have to choose what's right for us. I haven chosen the path of entreprenuership because it's the right path for me. It's in my . :-)
My decision to pursue self-employment, even to learn a new trade to accomplish this goal, is not a matter of weighing the financial returns of self-employment versus working for someone else. It's a matter of following the beat of my heart.