While rewarding, being an independent worker is also difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. Here’s why the myth of the easy DIY career exists, and how to move past it.
When I started my own business, I loved books like The $100 Startup because they made starting your own micro-business seem cheap, quick, straightforward, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that these types of books have value. However, I also think they make DIY careers look a lot easier than they actually are. Here’s what you need to know about this myth, as well as why you need to move past it to be successful:
- There are a lot of hidden costs. Yes, I technically fit the model of businessperson who got started with a $20 business license and a $15 domain name. However, it’s taken a lot more time, effort, and money to get the business off the ground (on top of being based off of 12 years of higher education). As I’m been building my product, Gig-Ready Jazz Bassist, I’ve realized that I need to invest an unexpected amount of resources into skill development (because I can’t I want to do) and outsourcing work (because I can’t do everything on my own).
- The myth is a “green lie.” By “green lie,” I mean a variation on “white lie.” The latter is meant to protect your from the harsh truth, while the former is meant to motivate you to “green light” your own ambitious goals. For this reason, there is a lot of value to the myth. When you’re starting off, you’re already pretty intimidated and the myth makes it seem a lot more accessible. That said, you still need to move past it if you want to truly succeed.
- You have to fight entitlement. The myth exists because most Americans, particularly of the millennial generation, have huge senses of entitlement. We’ve been conditioned to believe that we are always owed quick, easy, cheap successes. Any businessperson or educator has to deal with this sense of entitlement in clients/students. However, to truly combat entitlement, we have to combat it in ourselves. We have to acknowledge that we need help, need to invest more time/money, and need to delay gratification just a little longer. Being an independent worker is challenging, but in a very good way (not in the futile sense of many job situations). By embracing the challenge, we’ll lead happier, more fulfilling lives.
Did you buy into the myth of the easy DIY career? If so, what kept you going when the harsh realities of being an independent worker set in?