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You Always Have a Job When You Are Self-Employed
As the covid-19 pandemic continues to push unemployed workers to apply for benefits at the rate of 1 million applications per week, as a nation we need some different options.
The most obvious solution to unemployment is self-employment.
Larry and I have both been self-employed most of our working lives, so we know a thing or two about self-employment.
I started out employing myself at age sixteen by giving piano lessons to students in their homes. My mother was a piano teacher and one of her students was also giving lessons. The student had more requests for lessons than she could handle and I was pressed into service. Soon all my afternoons were filled too. And because I became known in the neighborhood, I was offered another job directing the children’s choir at the local church.
When I met Larry, he had his own tree service. He had a big old truck and ropes and chain saws and he would climb trees and trim them, or remove trees if needed. He was truly an artist and made each tree he trimmed to look more beautiful. To get work, he drove around neighborhoods looking for trees that needed to be trimmed, then left his card stuck in the front door with a handwritten note.
In my early twenties I worked jobs for about a year and then decided I wanted to work for myself, so I could be in control of my own work environment, work hours, what I do with my time, and how much money I make. Yes, it requires learning some skills, but after almost 50 years of self-employment, I’m sure I’ve come out ahead.
And self-employment gives both Larry and me the freedom to arrange our schedules to do things together and take days off whenever we want to.
In today’s uncertain times, Larry and I know we have the skills to market ourselves in a variety of ways to produce income, as needed.
One of the things I’ve done in the past is to make a list of my skills and just tell people I know that I’m available until someone hires me. This usually doesn’t take more than a few days before work appears. Last time I did this, I ended up making more than $25,000 helping a first-time author write and self-publish his book.
We belong to Nextdoor.com and our neighbors are constantly posting odd jobs they need help with. And they are posting good reviews about start-up businesses in the area. Just this morning a neighbor posted about a new bike repair service that had great service at a good price.
I was observing this morning that the whole idea of “having a job” where someone else pays you to work for them is actually a recent occurrence and has its roots in industrial manufacturing when farmers left their fields to come into cities and work in factories.
Prior to industrialism, people made everything by hand from the natural materials in their area, and different members of a community would specialize in particular skills that could be traded, but each worker was a craftsperson or farmer and each person was self-employed. Amish communities are famous for their cooperative efforts, such as everyone gathering to build a barn or harvest a field, knowing that your barn would get built and your field would be harvested too.
Self-employment doesn’t mean you are always working alone, Some of my best self-employment has been working as a consultant on projects as an independent contractor rather than being an employee.
While jobs offered by employers may be scarce and uncertain at the moment, I see opportunities wide open for self-employment. Just look around and see what needs are and fill those needs. Ask around and see what products or services are needed and wanted. Make a list of your skills and what you love to do. Opportunities will come your way when you start looking for them.