Wednesday, 31 March 2010

What kind of people work for themselves?

What are the skills that you need to be self employed?  I recently read about a priest (on a retreat site) who had left the church to become self employed.  Over the years I have often wondered about becoming self employed and never done it.  I think that there are two things that I lack: unbounded confidence that everything will turn out OK (in fact I have rather the opposite - see here) and an ability not to worry (see here).  Neither of these are great attributes for a man of faith - see here and here.

This reminded me of the theory we discussed many years ago at work.  Have you noticed, like we did, that most of the big entrepreneurs don't have much in the way of formal education?  We came to the conclusion that this was not chance.  To make it as an entrepreneur you have to take risks with your life.  If you have a degree you can (at least you could then) be reasonably assured of a good life with little risk by entering one of the professions, the civil service, or management.  Why would you risk that to take up an insecure self employed role?  It could also be that to be a successful entrepreneur you need to have a clear vision of what you want to do - and that further education will rarely help take you towards it.

There are of course those who are exceptions to the rule.  Some like Stelios Haji-Ioannou have family wealth changing the risk/reward ratio somewhat.  Others like Michael Lynch turn their academic research into a product, again changing the risk/reward ratio.

And yet the irony is that technically I am now an office holder and not an employee!


  1. I think you also need to be someone who likes to be in control - that's one main reason I became self-employed! I am not good at bowing to someone elses authority, (like you said, not a good attribute for a Christian but hey I'm working on that!)
    Found a great quote by Paul Coelho on taking risks though, (see my blog 23rd March!). Not sure if it's rude to name-check your own blog in someone elses, so sorry if thats the case, but it's too long to write here!
    red ;)

  2. Thanks for pointing out the quote. I saw it earlier but missed it was Coelho - I love his work - particularly "By the River Piedra I sat down and wept".

    I've got no problem with you linking - I do it sometimes too.

  3. great thanks :)
    yes he has a beautiful way of expressing things that others would shy away from!
    red x



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