Some background into the way I run my life, how I think, and why, especially in this cultural-political climate, my reasoning won’t change: I have made the pursuit of continual personal evolution my lifestyle–explore what is in me, and evolve toward the highest version of my being, and keep learning from the world around me. I need freedom to do that. I need to manage my time and resources well. I leverage microbusiness as a way to create the schedule and opportunities I want.
My DIY lifestyle is expansive: create-my-occupation, create-my-interaction, create-my-space in the world.
I’m self-employed, and I’ve been self-employed for most of my professional life. I have a solopreneur ecosystem, that is, a single-person entrepreneur. I am in the business of creating income streams for myself. I have an established niche as an independent creative writer and energy healer, and I also do corporate writing and editing work. This combination is a juxtaposition of sorts, I know, but I feel that it works for what I need out of this life. I stay outside some lines—economic, educational, status—and inside others—the New Age subculture—and the cocktail is just right. I wouldn’t have my lifestyle any other way. My goals wouldn’t be met in any other way.
A few months ago, after I sent a bill to a corporate editorial client, I had a conversation with a person from the company and it went something like this:
“The venture capitalists want you to bill differently. They are using a different business model that you must fit.”
“Excuse me?” I firmly said, “But that’s not how I work.” This corporation doesn’t get to tell me how I run my business.
And it was at that moment that my business of one received a smack-down of vailidity, an action that I feel was incited by the actions of the current president. Corporations can do whatever they want to the people. At that moment, the president became “45.” If I am just a number to him and his corporations-turned-people eaters, then he was just a number to me, too. I knew, as soon as the election results were posted back in November 2016, the reckless, narcissistic business man named Donald Trump and his havoc-economics would significantly impact my financial status. What I didn’t know was how—until, slightly over one year into his presidency, this client raised concerns about my bill and essentially about being able to pay me because my way of working didn’t fit the corporation’s operating model. If I did things their way (which included being openly available but not being compensated for that open availability), I could continue to work for them.
I stopped working for the client immediately after the phone call. I told them I do not accept their rules and ways of doing things. So there went that contract, and it was an intense experience to watch the income stream disappear, but it was the right thing to do.
I’d like to bring up a few parameters of independent contractor solopreneurship. Solopreneurship is having a million and one different ways of making money as a single person. A solopreneur can be a microbusiness of one, and profits usually look more like a two-figure salary than anything in the millions (like a small business). It’s a fiscally risky way to live as a business of one. I am in the business of communication—I’m a writer and editor for hire with a roster of clients for whom I render work at will. I sign agreements that say my working contract can be terminated at any time. I’m not eligible for employer-based health insurance plans for companies because I am not regularly employed. United States legislation around independent contractors state that we work on our own schedule and own physical set-up—the situation gets blurry when a company says that we must be onsite at certain time over a duration of time (that starts to be permalancing and a whole other discussion). What that also means is that when projects suddenly change direction, or there’s a budget cut, or something somewhere happens, we are the first to be let go. We aren’t eligible for unemployment because we aren’t leaving permanent jobs. And, we pay self-employment tax on top of everything else.
We operate with a bunch of risk.
But we receive–when played well–complete validation of who we are through the work that we do.
I’m able to pursue fringe interests and offer energy work because I have financial and time flexibility. The trade-off (for me) is valid.
So when I think back to that conversation earlier in the year, how a new level of non-morality in big business has been greenlit (thanks, 45), I recognize how solopreneurship is my act of resistance to the creepy, crawly values of the current administration and the outdated patriarchal structures. I won’t step in line for a permanent, traditional, “safe” position for fear or want of a steady paycheck, or health insurance, or company culture. I won’t do what Big Corporation tells me to do. I will always choose the way of the individual, and take those professional risks.
May the resistance be DIY!