There’s no denying that working for yourself requires a certain level of grit and determination that’s not for everyone. But the rewards of being self- employed can more than make up for the long hours and uncertainty. This Fourth of July, we want to celebrate the independence of small business owners everywhere by sharing seven of the very best reasons why we love entrepreneur life.
1. Travel and send your weekly newsletters from your van
Merve and Nils from Dirty Boots and Messy Hair, the community for adventurous souls, write an amazing weekly newsletter from the back of their camper van, “strategically parked at a parking spot with WiFi.” The duo has said, “We’re probably sitting here in our sweatpants, not having had a decent warm shower for days (hello, van life)!” While it might not always be glamorous, they’re able to live the nomadic life of their dreams. And with close to one million Instagram followers, they’re proof that you don’t need to follow a traditional career path to find success.
2. Prove to yourself that you can do anything
Five years ago, Kaylyn McLachlan was on maternity leave with two small kids, running a daycare out of her home and in search of a hobby for a creative outlet. She picked up her old camera and decided to teach herself how to use it. Today, not only is she and her husband a full-time photography duo, they also mentor and host educational workshops.
“If you’d asked me 5 years ago if I thought I’d be doing this, I would have laughed in your face and said I WISH,” Kaylyn said. “Slowly, it came together, and I started offering shoots to local families. That first month I did 26 shoots and made more money doing “by donation” photoshoots than I did doing the entire month of daycare, and that was alllll I needed to prove to myself that I COULD DO THIS!”
3. Work from a boat
Event planner Gabrielle Norton of Cause We Can Events defines freedom as the opportunity to live and work from anywhere in the world. Even a boat!
“I have the opportunity to work when I want, where I want, how I want,” she says. “So in my case, I get to work on a boat. It’s our house, but it’s also our work space. My husband and I both run our own businesses so we’re able to take a month off to go traveling if we want, while also managing clients. I can manage clients so easily through HoneyBook. It’s so easily integrated into my workflow process that I can just step away, take a break, and a client has been booked in my case overnight while I’m sleeping, which is amazing.”
4. Write off that drone you’ve been eyeing
Getting new equipment (especially if it’s a fun gadget) is a perk in and of itself. But being able to write it off as a tax deduction? Definite bonus. CPA and small business tax advisor Luke Frye says, “You are entitled to legal ordinary and necessary business expenses. These may be meals or travel as well as photography equipment for a photographer or paint for a painter.”
Photographer Mark Dickinson uses his drone to capture stunning aerial images like the one above.
5. Never miss the moments that matter
If we had to pick just one reason to work for yourself, it would be this: Having greater control over our schedules so that we always have time for those who truly matter. We’re inspired by photographer Jennifer Ryals who credits spending time with her grandmother and two boys for shaping her into the person she is today.
“I can’t remember a single memory from my childhood without [my grandmother’s] beautiful face in it,” Jennifer says. “She’s currently in the beginning/middle stages of dementia and that sh*t is killing me, honestly. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. But we’re remaining positive and grateful for the memories we have and the precious time that we get to spend with her.”
6. Wear your PJs to work
Forget sitting in traffic during rush hour. Working from home in the comfort of our cozy clothes like Wendy Tesch of Willow and Wren Photography is what’s up.
7. Work when you’re most inspired
Full-time professional painter Taylor Lee, who has bipolar disorder, used to find working in a traditional 9-5 challenging. “I struggled in the past with jobs that required me to clock in/out at certain times on certain days,” Taylor said.
But after creating her own business with flexible work hours, she could work hard consistently while still accommodating her shifting moods. “My schedule doesn’t have time blocks for each day. Instead, I work in what I like to call ‘creative cycles.’ Working for myself means that if I’m feeling energetic I can work past typical business hours and if I’m depressed I can rest and recover.”