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Starting / Business startup

Run your own business: There are no downsides

I realised how lucky soloists are when having a conversation with a friend who couldn’t decide whether or not to leave her job to run her own business.

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Here’s how the conversation went.

“My job is well paid, but it’s meaningless to me. On the other hand, I think of my dream and come alive.
But I’m worried about the risks and the downsides.”

My answer was emphatic “There are no downsides.”

What I heard her say was “I don’t enjoy dying, but I’m scared of living.”

Even in the face of gloomy economic times, at a time when many soloists may be tempted to throw in the towel and get
a real job, I still believe with all my heart that she should go for it.

After all, if you run our own business you are no more vulnerable than employees. If anything we’re better
placed as we’re more agile and able to control outcomes than someone stuck in the Cube Farm.

"If you run our own business you are no more vulnerable than employees. If anything we’re better placed as we’re more agile and able to control outcomes than someone stuck in the Cube Farm."

I know less optimistic soloists who, regardless of the economic climate, would discourage my friend.

“It’s not as safe as a normal job.”

Here’s what Tom Hodgkinson, author of How to be free, says on the topic: “Avoiding danger is a pathetic
excuse for not doing your own thing. So what if there’s a little danger in your life? That’s good. Wake
up!”

Want more articles like this? Check out the business startup section.

“It’s really hard to separate work from life.”

That’s because your work is your life, or part of it anyway. Spending time devoted to realising
your identity is preferable to holding a job that “requires just enough concentration to prevent you from going
off into a dream but not enough to really occupy your mind.” (Tom again)

“No paid holiday”

Per-lease! When you run your own business you get to dictate your own hours, choose your clients, and compared to
working for the man, every day’s a holiday!

Listen, I’ve found no shortage of challenges as a soloist. Misunderstandings with clients, lean months, fatigue
after wearing too many hats, apathy at networking events. Besides all this, it’s bloody hard work to run your
own business.

But all this pales against the sense of connection – of aliveness – that soloism offers.

I just want to see my friend come alive under the soloist sun.


So what would you say to your friends? Let us know.

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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