Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Author:  Doug McCann
Forthcoming Book:  "So You're A Nice Guy and Want To Be In Business"

Why They Do It

I stumbled across a discussion paper some time ago while researching for my forthcoming book.  The paper is titled, "Why Do Individuals Choose Self-Employment?" and was written by Christopher Dawson, Andrew Henley and Paul Latreille and published in January of 2009 by the Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit / Institute for the Study of Labor, or IZA in Bonn, Germany.  My book is about balancing basic business principals, customer Doug McCann - Author - Weekly Tuesday Blog - Why They Do Itdemands and expectations on one side of the scale and the business operator's modus operandi on the other side.  The objective is to foster a balance between the 'nice guy - good guy' character makeup with the demands in the consumer world.  This discussion paper takes a good look at why individuals found themselves in a self-employed environment.  I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the findings.

The paper described the group of self-employed as one which could be considerably heterogeneous.  The group however can at the very least be divided in two: those who chose to enter into their own business out of desire and those who were forced, or at least found no other alternative means for earning an income to work for themselves.  It may be no surprise that each group rendered its own trends for success and failure.

Those who entered self-employment by desire, did so for any number of positive ideals and/or motivations.  Self-employment gives the individual means of independence, flexibility, control, job or career satisfaction, self-expression, and lends to the love of entrepreneurship and expansion.  Individuals in this group have generally made the choice out of desire and did not rush into it.  They may well be better prepared having acquired the education and skills needed to succeed and have also completed their marketing research and formulated a business plan.  Becoming self-employed was a process not exercised in haste.  They stand a much better chance of success.

For others, their choices or opportunities may have been less generous and for reasons considered more negative than positive, the possibilities of success were likely to have been increasingly challenged.  The discussion paper described this group as likely to having been 'pushed' into self-employment due to a lack of any other 'attractive alternative'.  Time may not be on their side and there is a tendency to be less prepared, having no business plan, no proper identified resources and no real marketing research.  The experience can be very unpleasant and disheartening.

The discussion paper also looked at the results of a study of 3,840 self-employed Canadians in the year 2000.  Authored  by Karen D. Hughes, University of Alberta in Edmonton, she reported that independence and freedom were the largest motivating factors for both men and women entering the self-employment world.  While the percentage of men was higher than women identifying these factors, men were also looking for challenge and the opportunity to earn more income.  Women placed work-family balance and flexibility of hours after their aim for independence and freedom.

These studies do well at encouraging the individual to take a good, honest examination of where his or her mindset may be in contemplating self-employment.  These studies made reference to a 'pull' vs 'push' concept reflecting on what it really is that is attracting one to self-employment or seemingly channeling an individual to self-employment out of lack of employment or alternative means.  If you are being 'pushed', ensure that you can be prepared as best you can by studying your market, identifying your resources, having the required skills and aptitude.  This preparedness will serve as a much better foundation for success.  For those who have the advantage of identifying with the 'pull' ideal, it is likely you have had more time to think, study and prepare for self-employment, and without the haste, again being fully prepared, but also eager, will also lead to a solid foundation for your business and for its growth.

As always, I welcome your feedback!  Thank you for reading!!