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The Self-Employment Leap of Faith

The Self-Employment Leap of Faith

Many people wonder how to handle the lack of income security that seems to come with self-employment. I’ve seen people stop themselves from going for their dreams for that reason.

It’s hard to take any big leap. It’s scary as hell. I get it. I put it off for years. Sometimes waiting is the right thing until you find the first step that makes it feel right.

To deal with the nervousness, one main trick is to stop expecting to find that sense of security that a job seemed to promise.

To be clear, that job “security” was never real. Let’s face it. We were lulled into a false sense of security and it’s time to wake up to the truth.

Even with the jobs that remain, notice how the benefits, security, and sanity keep dwindling? Health insurance hikes, no retirement plan, lower pay, overwhelming workloads, or just plain bored to tears.

When you’re not in control of your own employment, it’s not as secure as you would like to think. And the costs of misery and lack of freedom are high.

Are you hitting a snooze button on that inner alarm about your current job? It might be time to wake up to new possibilities.

Stop Waiting for that “Safe” Feeling

Self-employment may offer more security. (Not to mention more creative fulfillment in many cases!) But it won’t feel the same as your old friend “Job Security.”

The new feeling that comes with self-employment is an awake feeling that requires a big dose of faith mixed with some math homework. Once I got that, I finally began to relax. Even my “financial insecurity stomachache” went away, at least most of the time. (Ever notice how money stuff hits you in the gut?)

It’s a beautiful ride if you’re willing to pull up the anchor and go sailing. (Good thing I went to Girl Scouts’ sailing camp as a kid. Those Girl Scout cookie sales did something good.)

The self-employment leap of faith is like learning to sail.
Having faith in the unknown can be like the joy of sailing or floating.

Owning vs. Renting Analogy

A perfect analogy for making this perspective shift is if you go from renting to owning your home. When I used to rent, I felt glad that someone else took care of repairs and things I didn’t need to think about. Or so I thought.

What about when my landlord didn’t take care of the furnace and I was woken by a smoke alarm one cold night in February? I lost my apartment and most of my belongings to a fire. Serious wake up call!

You bet that despite that financial setback and no down payment in sight, I eventually scrounged up money for a small down payment and bought the only decent house in my range because I needed a new kind of security. I trusted myself over an absentee landlord. Yep, I had to be the one to think about the furnace now. I learned how to ask for help (a tough lesson for me), and I gradually got more comfortable in the driver’s seat of my home life.

When I started my own business, I had that same feeling of when I bought my house. Scared as hell — but excited enough to make up for it.

When you’re in charge, it’s kinda fun. It makes up for a lot! Freedom is very sweet. (I am so grateful as I think of the freedom right now.)

You can learn to love the self-employment ride. Because you’ll learn to live on faith instead of false security. 

But Where Do You Get the Faith?

Faith is a muscle that gets stronger as you use it. Maybe that’s not what you wanted to hear, because you want faith to come BEFORE you take a risk. Sorry.

In fact, stronger faith is one of the gifts of self-employment.

I finally understand what Helen Keller meant when she said, “Life is either a daring adventure or it’s nothing.” Even staying still is a risk.

I learned to ride the waves of that daring adventure because I’m doing what I love in a way that a traditional job could rarely offer.

I don’t mean you run on 100% faith and you don’t do anything else. No.

You do the footwork. You crunch the numbers. You get support to make sure you’re choosing a sound business plan. And you make sure you’ll be doing something you love (passion is a key to success). Don’t take the leap without those pieces in place. (More on how to know when you’re ready.)

I’m all about combining the practical footwork with a big dose of faith. Think of the Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Money and Faith Resources

What do you think about money and faith? Please comment below.

Helen Keller’s Full Quote on Security and Risk

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
~ Helen Keller, who you need to remember was deaf and blind! Talk about having to have faith in every step.

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Val Nelson

I’ve been a self-employed career/business/purpose coach since 2009. I help introverts and HSPs (like me) who want to make a difference — in a way that fits our practical needs too.
Val Nelson | Coaching | Groups | Courses | Newsletter | LinkedIn

I appreciate feedback, good and bad. You can comment below or email.

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8 thoughts on “The Self-Employment Leap of Faith”

  1. Claude Laroche

    Well said Val!  When I took a leap of faith from early retirement to
    launching my own coaching practice, I realized the power of desire.  If
    you want it bad enough you need to step up to the counter and order! 
    DARE jump from within!   Thanks Val.

  2. I would also say that it’s about having faith in YOURSELF. Even the most confident seeming person can falter on this. We like when someone else is in charge, calling the shots, because we don’t have to look within to find the problem, or the inspiration.

    It’s tough when we have to answer to ourselves. 😉

  3. Thank you Val. When I look for a job and see what’s out there and available to me and find NOTHING I could imagine wanting to do, it redoubles my conviction that I MUST create my own work where I can bring my unique gifts, skills and creativity. That’s what started me on this journey in the first place. I want to bring all of me to my work and my life and there’s no job working for someone else as far as I can tell, that would really give me that. I’m ready to call forth the work I was put here to do, and make good money doing it!

  4. Money and faith seem like odd bedfellows, but you do have to have faith that you can bring in the money on your own. I’m possibly going to have to make that self-employed leap sooner than I’d like, with less money in my emergency fund than I’d be comfortable with, and it’s times like these where I need to take a deep breath and believe that I can do it. If I believe I can do it, I’ll take the right actions to secure the income I need. My confidence will come across to clients. I’ll attract the kind of clients that I want. And then I’ll look back on myself in this uncertain time and realize that self-employment isn’t as scary as it sounds.

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