Should Solopreneurs Get "Real" Jobs?

Photo Credit: Deepak Malhotra, Stock Xchng
I work a lot. I work on weekends. I work at night. I work on holidays. But, you know what? I don't mind because I work for myself. Ok, sure, other people pay me and expect certain things in return. But, I decide who I work for and what my schedule is. I'm a solopreneur.

This wasn't a decide I made. Like many others, it's something that came about due to circumstance. In my case, my life change was prompted by a layoff. On April Fool's Day, no less.

But since then, I have reshaped my life. I work from home (frequently with a dog on my lap) and I love the work that I do. Every project I accept is something that interests me and am excited to do. I never dread the work day ahead. I love the life I've created for myself.

However, my mom still asks me when I'm going to get a "real" job. I'm quick to tell her I have a real job, but to her that's not the case. She thinks a benefits package makes a job real. I think being happy and earning enough to pay the bills is real enough for me. 

Is the idea of a "real" job generational? Is it something that more traditional people expect? Or is it just the norm? The reality is, most folks do have "real" jobs. I had a real job all my life. And you know where I ended up? Laid off.

Folks seem to think a real job gives you security. I don't think that anymore. I create my own security. With a real job you put all you eggs in one basket. One basket that has complete control over you. One basket that can decide you're unnecessary, obsolete, or too expensive. One basket that can throw your whole world into complete chaos. Instead, I now put a few eggs over there, and some here, and a couple over yonder.

The new world order is changing. More people are working for themselves, out of their homes or coffee shops. Co-working spaces are becoming more common. Tech tools make online collaboration a cinch--whether you're in the cube down the hall or across the globe.

Is a real job for you? Maybe. Maybe not. But don't let someone else make that decision for you.


  1. Lesson # 1, look out for yourself first; make sure you always have a plan B if you need it. I suppose my job is real enough and it's sustainable, but if they showed me the back door tomorrow I could easily do the same thing somewhere else.

    The whole starting over thing would bite and then you need to decide to go it alone or work for someone else again; but it could be done if needed.

    Sometimes those life lessons are tough, but sounds like you were able to make lemonade out of some lemons, huh?

  2. You know the saying, Bill. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

    Yes, always have a plan b and networking when you don't "need" to is key.

    Good to see you!

  3. Strongly agree that networking when you don't need to is key. You should be building your personal brand all the time. Mark Fidelman did a nice job of explaining how your social brand can give you job security in his recently launched "Socialized".

  4. I'm glad you found your "real job." I think that's especially important in the more creative professions. I got laid off in October. I don't know if I'm in transition or transformation, but I concur with your observations to date. Keep up the good work!

  5. "Folks seem to think a real job gives you security. I don't think that anymore."

    You are definitely right! There is absolutely NO SECURITY working for anyone else. From June to December I had to anticipate a huge layoff at work. The stress nearly killed me. That is when I vowed to get to work on my Plan B and eventually turn it into Plan A.

    I do not want to have that emotional turmoil ever again, so I am steadily working towards my goal. I definitely want to be home, in front of the computer, working in my best pajamas. LOL

    Congratulations for making it work for you!

  6. I love your words, transition or transformation. I think it can be both. It was for me, at least. Good luck finding and creating your new path in life, Charlotte. I wrote a post for The Huffington Post that expands on this topic if you're interested:

  7. Oh, I know the anxiety of which you speak! It's a killer!

    I wish you the best in recreating your plan A. It's always best to be in charge of your own destiny.


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