Friday, July 31, 2015

Starting Your Own Business? Here are Some Tips From Forbes, and a Philadelphia Attorney Still Trying to Figure it All Out 8 Years Later!

Entrepreneurship - Hard to Spell - Harder to Accomplish!

Today, I read Part I of an excellent series of articles published by Forbes.com providing insight into how to start, operate, grow and manage your own business.

Some Tips From Me and Forbes!
As someone who started his own business 8+ years ago, and has been constantly engaged in learning how to properly operate it while trying to actually do my job, I have a LOT of thoughts on the challenges of how to be successful when running one's own business.

Universities Can and Should Help Us Learn How to Master the Challenges of Self-Employment

Boy, if I only knew when I started what I know now!  As discussed in the Forbes article, American colleges and universities have been trending towards teaching classes addressing all aspects of self-employment. This is, I am sure, in recognition of several factors.

The Internet Makes Operating One's Own Business "Easier" Than Ever

It's a Small World After All
In my view, the leading catalyst for the trend towards self-employment over the past 25 years or so is unquestionably the Internet.  Even moderately tech savvy people can learn how to effectively locate, manage and store more information than ever before on a small computer. No more requirement for storage rooms containing hundreds of boxes of long-forgotten knowledge and information; now, it's all at your fingertips!

Marketing Your Business Just Takes a Computer and Some Earnest Dedication 

Perhaps of equal importance is the ability to cost-effectively market one's own products and services to a broad (even international) audience - it just takes a lot of sweat equity, and a little time, after all.

Sure, this article is designed to help you, Dear Readers.  But, in addition, writing (with a great deal of passion and effort) and publishing it (with a click of a few buttons) provides me with an opportunity to demonstrate to the public the way in which I think, my attention to detail and my ability to (hopefully) communicate clearly.

Marketing Master!
The Opportunistic Strategies of Corporate America Make Self-Employment More Attractive Than Ever

In more recent years, the shrinking job market and the opportunistic strategies by Corporate America have made self-employment more appealing then it was 30 years ago, when faithful, hard-working employees were paid on a w-2 basis, and commonly permitted to work until retirement.

w-2 or 1099
Misclassifying "True Employees as "Independent Contractors" a Scourge on the American Worker, and an Impetus for Self-Employment

What type of opportunistic strategies am I referring to?  Let's discuss the one that disheartens me most.  The misclassification of people who traditionally were paid on a w-2 basis as "independent contractors" (i.e. people engaged in self-employment) paid on a 1099 basis.

Over the past 15 years or so, American businesses have gone out of their way to deliberately misclassify employees as independent contractors, thereby eliminating their obligation to provide any benefits whatsoever, while completely undermining employees' rights against unlawful workplace activities and depleting the Social Security and Medicare funds.

Boredom and Loneliness Hurdles to Productivity When You Run Your Own Business

Rather than summarize and discuss the Forbes articles, I will instead in this Post (the firms of several I anticipate writing on this topic during the coming months) briefly discuss one of the major hurdles I have encountered as a self-employed businessman.

Boredom and loneliness.

Boredom, Loneliness Among the Biggest Challenges
For 15 years, I worked at 2 different law firms where I interacted with lawyers and support staff on a daily basis.  Since I have become self-employed, I have had as many as 3 lawyers working for me, and multiple support staff.  Due to the nature of my business, and my business model (I try and take only cases I believe have substantial merit), I now do almost all of my core legal work on my own.

A few months ago, I moved from an office I was renting (and thus filled with other people) to my home (I rent space for meetings, etc. in an office complex).

Boy, do I get lonely sometimes.  I miss not having attorneys to mingle with every day. I am interesting (I think), and I do talk to myself (quietly and aloud), but I am simply not that stimulating.

There is no remedy for, nor avoidance of, the tedium of working alone most of the time.  So, the best way to fight these feelings is to keep it moving.  I try and take breaks during my work days (and nights) by taking walks with my wife or dog, I go to the gym, I swim at my local Y on really hot days, I eat lunch out a couple times a week, I go for a ride on my motorcycle, I call my Mom.

She Always Listens to me Ramble, and I Always Feel Better After We Speak
I strongly suggest that, if you work alone, take frequent breaks during the day to take care of yourself and provide some stimulating activities to break up the monotony. You can always get the rest of your work done after dinner!

All Alone Since 2006
 Philadelphia Area Employment Attorney Representing Employees

John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents employees in Pennsylvania. 

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