You’re now self-employed? Congratulations!

The good news is that you’re now your own boss.

The bad news? You’re your own boss.

Self-employment sounds like freedom to people who have never experienced it. They imagine working creatively, without constraints. What they do not know is that self-employment can be more constricting that working for someone else. The harsh truth is that it is not a sure path to wisdom, goodness, and freedom.

Self-employment is personal responsibility incarnated. No one restricts you, but no one rescues you, either. You get to discover just how shrewd you are, and how well you can perform. Talent is nothing but potential, results are the only things that count.

Self-employment is a constant test of your ability to perform under pressure in a constantly changing environment. It’s a giant obstacle course, a game show that doesn’t just reward winners, but punishes losers. The cost of failure is not freedom, but enslavement to debt and even worse consequences.

You provide your own resources; you check your own decisions. You write your own review, which means you have no one to criticize you unfairly, but you also have no one to tell you when you are doing a terrible job. You find that out from your customers. You get to write your own paycheck, but if you don’t perform you get nothing.

Self-employment isn’t a path to prosperity and freedom; it is a lifestyle that rewards the wise, gifted, and disciplined and harshly penalizes those who are not. Before you jump in, develop those qualities. Jumping into the deep end of the pool is not a winning strategy for learning to swim.

© Greg Smith, 2013

Greg is the founder and chief creative officer of Black Lake Studio ( He is also a writer and speaker, working in a variety of non-fiction and fiction genres, and frequently collaborates with other authors. You can read and learn more at his site, (
Facebook: SmithGreg page
LinkedIn: Greg Smith