At an event the other evening, I got to watch young creatives discuss and share their preferred ways of earning money. It seems like there are three things that are important:
To be your own boss, ie work for yourself and not someone else
Be creative, ie express yourself with dance, music, singing, videos etc
Have a good role-model and dare to follow your dream
A haven for a lifecoach like me! The first thing, however, I feel is important to address. Why do so many people of the younger generations dislike working as employed? Is it really a need for freedom, or is it a cultural attitude that it would be of lower status, to be employed? I have, of course, both been employed and worked as freelancer, so I thought I'd share some of my insights and experience of that.
When I was employed at Sodergarden Reklam & Information (advertising agency) in the south of Sweden in the mid-90's, I often found myself having little to do during the day, but being given lots to do, late in the day, forcing me to work over-time, without any extra pay. This is simply due to the production process, depending on how much copy needs to be written, or edited, and placed where. In some cases, there are templates of pamphlets that had to be made first, and then I simply filled in the blanks. Othertimes, it's the copywriter who lays the foundation for the whole outline with his/her text, that also needs approval by our client, which we don't always know when we're going to get. I had also started to have more issues with my stomach and wasn't feeling well certain days, which made it even more stressful to have to stay late. At one point, I had had enough and came into an argument with my boss, the only other copywriter at the firm. I barged down back into my office, that I shared with an Art Director, and was ready to pack my things and quit. But, instead, I was offered to work completely flexible hours, with a certain preset amount, from home if I so wish, as a freelancer, as long as I kept my deadlines. I did! So, I quit my employment, signed a new agreement, and got my tax registration done. I was now able to work less hours, start working later in the day, and get paid more! And, best of all, I also could start working for others, which in some cases were directly with clients, and in some cases with other advertising firms, enabling me assignments from them too. (This was also how I had started working in Stockholm after getting my Copywriting diploma.) It was after working a couple of months like this, that I could return to San Francisco for my second visit, aiming to see if I could start working there. I decided to wait it out, to gain more competence to be a Creative Director first, since my specialty is writing and English is my second language, and was later the same year, headhunted to another advertising firm in the south of Sweden, called Borstahusen Informationsdesign, who employed me after I did a freelance assignment for them. I've also freelanced a little as a performing Hula-dancer and offering classes, but I see that as a hobby. And of course, I've also held speeches and coaching others, as an independent worker.
The pro's of working as your own boss are:
Independent and flexible hours
Better pay and ability to withdraw some expenses from your taxes
Free to choose assignments
Less, to no, arguments with neither other employees, nor the CEO
The con's tare:
Always having to look for a job or assignment
Less financial security
Less perks, like benefits and sick-leave compensation
Less camaraderie and collaboration with others
More responsibility to get things done, with less help
Overall, I think for a creative artist in some way, it's definitely a viable option to be self-employed. However, if you have a business idea that includes hiring others for either employment or contractors, I most certainly would never want to, not have the experience I've gotten through my employments, which has been to a variety of places like selling directories with commission, being a mail-deliverer at TetraPak, managing a small clothing store within a chain, selling books for another, and simply doing office duties for a car-part company. My first jobs were to take care of horses at a local riding-club, in exchange for both money and free classes. I also worked the summer in a shoe sale store, and after school for a local newspaper. Having these experiences, enabled me to both better understand my university education years later, to be applied in real life, as well as being able to coach others both towards their own self-employment and towards becoming empployed at a firm that sparks their interest and creates satisfaction.
How do you prefer to work? What are you good at? What is your passion? What can you offer to others? How can you serve others? Contact me, if you'd like a series of coaching sessions - the first one is for free to try! I can coach you in both Swedish and English.