Business: The Freedom of Being an Entrepreneur, by Rishi Deva
Many people work towards a retirement plan, hoping that freedom will come after we get the proverbial gold watch. Books like “The Wealthy Barber” suggest that the path to freedom is to put 10% of every paycheck aside so that one can retire at 55 years of age. While this certainly is a great financial investment strategy, it suggests that freedom is financial. For many people, financial freedom 20-30 years down the road is not freedom at all. For these people, this future freedom comes at a price: usually of living for weekends and holiday time. These type of workers usually feel trapped at the workplace, sacrificing enjoyment and fulfillment for salaried employment with the promise of future freedom upon retirement. For entrepreneurs, this sacrifice or price for future freedom is too much to pay. These workers will not pay for future freedom with the time they have now.
According to various research in the USA, approximately 39 percent of entrepreneurs report experiencing “complete” job satisfaction versus 28 percent of those who work for a boss. Further to this, a UK study revealed that the move from wage employment to self-employment boosted people’s overall life satisfaction.
This level of satisfaction is attributed to a level of freedom that comes when one follows their joy. If this is the case, then freedom is not related to the amount of pay. To further this point, according to a recent census study entrepreneurs have a lower annual income than the average yearly salary. Yet, they are happier! While abundance is wonderful, it’s worth stopping to consider whether the numbers on our paycheque truly contribute to our happiness or if they come at a cost to our freedom.
If annual income is not equated to workplace freedom, then one may think that the increased freedom an entrepreneur feels over a waged employee is due to hours spent working. However, according to 2013 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics entrepreneurs spend far more time thinking about work than employees of organizations.
There is a science to success at business, and if you look at most of the top business books they all point to the same thing. Freedom equals happiness, happiness equals joy and joy results in success.
After studying many of these business success books, you can decode the patterns of work success and equate it simply to a science of loving what you do.
The science of loving what you do is not exclusive to an entrepreneur. It can and does happen in the wage-employed sector as well. The common elements needed for freedom in the workplace are workplace autonomy, working with your core competence and relatedness to work and other.
Real freedom comes from being empowered and motivated at work, which for most is a combination of autonomy or how one fills one time combined with working with one’s core competence or doing what one is masterful at. The freedom that ensues from work is only truly fulfilling and joyous if one can relate to others. Feeling a connection to others, to feel loved and cared for, transfers directly to love of what one is doing. And after all isn’t love the ultimate root of freedom?
Since 1994, Rishi Gerald, founder and CEO of RishiVision and entrepreneurial coach, has empowered thousands of businesses. Rishi has an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurial studies and a BBA in accounting. He has spent nearly twenty years coaching, consulting, managing and supporting thousands of businesses from new startups to active global leaders.