Employed Vs Self Employed: My Decision After Graduation

2015 is one of my productive and life changing year ever. I learned a ton, achieved a ton, and sadly—lost tons of time here. This is also the same year I graduated from college and entered adult life. At last, I can focus on what matters now.

This monumental event also gives me a mid life crisis. I should start my own business. My ego told me that working for others is a no-go. Employment—metaphorically is a bird in golden cage. Living paycheck by paycheck—something that I never dreamed of.

Okay, entrepreneurship is the only choice. The next question is, what business I want to build?

I’ve been struggling on this question for months, and no answer came to my mind. Thankfully, a friend of mine said: “Don’t you want to build your own agency”?

I said yes.

I start curating my portfolios, writings, and put them online. After satisfied with the result. My phone rang. A friend—asking my availability for developing a project. We set up a meeting afterwards.

Sweet, new projects.

After the meeting, I know this is one of my most ambitious project, ever. I’m responsible for designing a web app with my current skills.

Months passed and we set a meeting regularly to brainstorm the product together. There’s a day we are working from 7PM to 4AM in the morning. Crazy? yes, but it also fun.

After the project almost finished, they offered me a job to be part of the team—working full-time.

Surprising turn of events.

I refused, primarily because of my ego. I will not work for others. The idea of working 9-5 already making me sick.

While going to home, I start questioning myself about the agency. How do I score new clients? Where to find work partners? What’s the reasonable fee I could incur for them? and most importantly, why agency?

The last question kept me thinking for a while. I start mindmapping the answer afterwards:

  • Autonomy
  • Flexibility
  • Ego

All points make sense for me. Next, I start imagine finishing projects for client. Theres 2 scenario when the project have finished:

  • The product fails
  • The product success

The former gives me shiver. True, either way I got the money—but I won’t be happy “spending months” designing and see it unused. The latter also make me thinks: Instead of building things for them, why don’t I start the business myself? If it’s a failure, at least I learned something as I go.

That night, I decided that building business (not offering service) is what I should do.

While looking for business alternatives, I got stuck.

I don’t know what to build! I have some idea, but all of them doesn’t have purposes. The only purpose is not working for others—which is a lame argument—no matter how much I don’t want to work in a company.

Days after, I met my client on an event. He tells me how disappointed he is, hearing from his relative about my decision not to join them. He asked me to keep in contact and catch up afterwards.

Looking at him, I suddenly imagine myself in his position.

I’m building a product, met a guy which I’m comfortable to work with, and refused to work together in near future. I can emphatize him, and again—listing down pros and cons joining them.

No meaningful cons found. Even better, I think working with this very small team (3 person — if I joined them) teaches me how to work in team, and learn what works and won’t while building a product as I go.

I called them and re-negotiate my fee. They agreed. I’ll start on January.

Excited? of course.

Almost three months passed, and this is already my most productive year. I’m working my ass off and learned web programming on my spare time. Something that I never imagined could do.

Can you imagine building your products from scratch, and in several weeks, thousand- millions of people able to access it?

Way better than working design projects for clients.

Didn’t regret my decision.

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