Are self-employment and side hustles the future? Or are we in the 9-5 for life?
In partnership with Bestow, We've put together a fun infographics (see below) to help you decide which career move you should make.
Well over 57 million people freelanced in 2019, proving that self-employment and side hustles could very well be the future of working. Considering that close to four million more people joined the freelance life between 2014 and 2019, there are some serious draw factors to freelancing.
Being your own boss, being able to work from anywhere at anytime, deciding what you do and what you don't, and having the ability to make your own working hours are just some of the factors that are drawing people to freelancing. For those that yearn for freedom and flexibility, this working style has some serious appeal. Not to mention, the rise of the solopreneur has helped revolutionize working for introverts.
As with anything, those that have freelanced as a full-time position will be the first to tell you that these pros come with their fair share of cons. For all the flexibility that freelancing offers, there is a fair share of uncertainty and instability. Especially for those just starting out, there could be weeks (or even months) between gigs. This unpredictability extends to payment, as there's no accounting department to make sure you get paid. The onus is on you to follow up with clients and make sure they pay, or you could be risking not getting your hard-earned money at all.
That said, stability of pay is often not even a question at a typical, full-time 9-5 job. The same can be said for job security, which is enough to make most people stay in a full-time position even if they're unhappy or want to spread their wings. Stability is a big pull for many people to a full-time position, as they wake up each day and know (for the most part) what their day will look like.
As anyone who has worked one for long enough can attest to, a full-time job has several downsides. For many, the lack of autonomy, flexibility, and freedom can oftentimes feel stifling, and like the creative spark in them is being stamped out by routines, regulations, and the ever-dreaded busy work. For companies that have not kept up with modern benefits, having only two weeks of vacation a year, tightly scheduled maternity leave for working moms, plus limited work-from-home (or remote) availability can feel restrictive.
When it comes down to making the decision between freelancing and full-time work, the real question to answer is what makes you the happiest and will lead to long-term job satisfaction. If you're someone with dependents who relies heavily on structure, and thrives on regulations, then a 9-5 might be the best bet for you. If you consider yourself more of a "free spirit" with ever-changing interests who wishes to explore the world over, a more flexible freelancing position might be the path forward.
Taking what makes you happiest into consideration isn't just an option—it's a necessity. Adults spend nearly 13 years of their total lives at work—wouldn't you much rather do something you're passionate about, or at least inspires and motivates you to do the best you can?
Making the ultimate decision between freelancing vs. full-time work may sound like an intimidating choice with life-altering consequences either way, but you don't have to make this decision alone. Carefully considering the best path forward for you with a friend, mentor, or career coach can help you make an informed decision that is the best choice for you. While making this choice, use this visual from Bestow to help guide you through the different factors that freelancing and full-time work has; from earning potential to the pros and cons of each. This is an exciting decision either way, so remember to be excited about the leap you (and your career) are taking!
"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.
I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.
Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.
Find A Need And Fill It
I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.
I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.
Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.
Have Working Capital And Credit
There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.
I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.
Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.
My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.
Know Your Product Thoroughly
I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?
My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.
My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.
Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!
More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.
Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth
I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.
I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.
Delegate From The Bottom Up
I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.
In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.