I found this week’s reading insightful and inspiring. Guillebeau paints a realistic presentation of life as a self-employed go-getter. I agree with the overall argument that the traditionally accepted “stable” jobs are quickly becoming the volatile option. State and Federal agencies constantly suffer budget cuts and non-permanent teaching positions are slowly replacing the tenured ones. Even if we choose a traditional job in the humanities, chances are it won’t pay as much as we hoped, so starting a side-project seems like a great option for extra income.
Chapter 10 really puts things in perspective. Like some of my classmates, I grew up in an an entrepreneurial house. Growing up, we (Step-dad, mom, myself and my brothers) operated a small landscaping and later general construction/remodeling business. I worked on both crews throughout high-school and college. Not wasting money and charging the customer appropriately were constant problems we had to face. It was the financial difficulties that pushed me away from entrepreneurialism towards what I thought was more stable institutional work. I still cringe at the thought of charging people for historical consultation. I don’t like taking money from people, I’d rather give away my help when I can. I think it takes skill and a right frame of mind to accurately assess what your services are worth and how much people are willing to pay you to do them.
Despite these trepidations, I think Guillebeau has some great examples of people making money doing what they love. The author shows how easy it is to start a micro-business. Obviously, since it is easy to start a modern small business, there will be many others out there with the same idea. As some of the old roadblocks become obsolete, new ones will appear. Regardless, self-employment is still an attractive option.