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By Fawn Germer
Contributing Writer 

Self-Employment is a Privilege That Must be Earned


Last updated 8/7/2019 at 3:03pm

Author and motivational speaker Fawn Germer

The last person on planet earth who was disciplined enough to be self-employed was, well, me. I can be easily distracted and a little undisciplined. But I learned something when I left my career as a reporter and editor two decades ago: Self-employment is a privilege that must be earned.

You don't have to be the most focused Type A person to be successful. You just have to make the commitment and hold yourself accountable. Every day, you earn the right to be your own boss. The rewards can be huge, but is on you whether you achieve them.

I left my career as a reporter and editor to write books and be a leadership and motivational speaker. I failed instantly as my first book was rejected by every major publisher in the United States. But, self-employment was a privilege I was willing to earn. I persevered. I figured out what was wrong. I got past my obstacles.

That's what it's all about. Here are my principles on how to succeed as your own boss.

1. Make up your mind and commit.

2. Write a list of goals for each day and week to keep yourself on track and more productive.

3. Whenever you hit a wall, look at your business plan to see what is not working. Either you need to tweak the plan or write a new one.

4. Expect obstacles. They are inevitable. Weak people see obstacles and stop. Strong people see obstacles and always find a way.

5. You never know how close you are to turning the corner until you turn the corner.

6. If you don't believe in yourself, no one will believe in you.

The thing about owning your own business is, you might make it, you might not. But you will learn and grow and get ready for your next risk. Real people create real success. You don't have to wait to get beyond some HR department or to score in the interview phase. You can start your own business right now.

This is important for people who are struggling to find employment. If you aren't doing anything, start upskilling with online classes and start working gigs to keep money flowing your way. That's the beauty of our growing "Gig Economy." Gigs meaning we get hired one freelance "gig" or contract at a time. More than one in four of us are working gigs. Some do it for extra money, others do it for their entire income. There are programmers, lawyers, writers, graphic designers, Uber drivers, pet-sitters, phone repair people, virtual assistant, tourist guides, chefs and a million other options.

The good thing is, you can get going immediately.

It is so easy to do something that you have very little excuse to sit there waiting for the phone to ring. Think about what you know that you could do as a freelancer, then search online for a hiring platform. I hire a lot of people through UpWork and Guru. Freelancers have quick and easy access to people who want to hire someone quickly, but they have to compete against people from all over the world. Often, there are freelancers on the other side of the globe who will well undercut standard pricing for services, but you will figure all of that out.

But if those are only temporary solutions, start figuring out what it is that will make you thrive in self-employment. What trips your breakers? Study what others are done and identify the steps that will make your idea a successful reality. One step at a time, move toward your goal. Success is born of risk, so don't be afraid to try. You will surprise yourself with the amount of power inside of you.

You just have to commit and focus. Earn the right to be your own great boss.

Keynote speaker Fawn Germer is the best-selling, Oprah-featured author of eight books and one of the nation's most sought-after leadership speakers. She is a four-time, Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist and has personally interviewed more than 300 famous leaders and legends for their perspective on leadership and success. She has headlined events around the world for Cisco, Coca-Cola, Xerox, Kraft, NASA, Michaels, PepsiCo, FritoLay, State Farm, GlaxoSmithKline, The Department of Defense, Novartis and many other associations and corporations. She lives in Dunedin, FL. For more information, see her website at\


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