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Are Self Employed People Entrepreneurs or Slackers?

I’ve been self employed for nearly 30 years. Last week at a networking meeting I was told by a hotshot recruiter that self employed people are just people who can’t find work or keep a job anywhere else. What the?!?

I’m not sure I’ve ever been so insulted in my life. And that’s saying something, since in my lifetime I’ve been called pretty much every name in the book.


He then gave me his card, winked and asked me to call him so that he could connect me with people who could get me a “real job”. It was all I could do to keep myself from leaning in and ripping his throat out.

I began to wonder why I was so sensitive about his remarks and I concluded that it was because he could not have been more dead wrong. Not just about me, but about an entire generation of people who, because they chose to be “slackers” have made a difference in their world and all around them.

Let me set the record straight for all those who are self employed and all those who are not.

We do have “real jobs” and they don’t come with a cushion of a 401(k), paid vacation, sick days and a boss to take the fall if we don’t do it right. We have to pay our own expenses, not the least of which are health insurance, retirement account, licenses, taxes, organization fees, salaries, advertising, web site maintenance, computers and office equipment, travel expenses, vehicle maintenance, and we don’t get to call in sick when we have the sniffles.

I think that those of us, who take a chance on ourselves, put our confidence in our skills and go out there and actually build something from nothing, are warriors in the truest sense of the word.

We take the chance every single day that we will make enough money to keep the lights on, the mortgage paid, and the kids in school, gas in the tank, food on the table and clothes on our backs. If you think that’s slacking, I’d like to see you try it.

People who act on their passion are a gift of light, hope and possibilities to our world. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and fortitude to tackle the unknown every day, to take the bad days with a grain of salt and not let the good days go to our heads. It takes balance, audacity, drive, vision and great deal of smarts.

I can only speak for myself in saying that even with the days that my income surpasses my wildest expectations, I always feel like I’m just one step away from living under a bridge. The fear level that comes with being self employed is palatable. We feel it in our gut and we can literally taste the fright in our mouths. But here’s the deal: we go out and achieve our goals in spite of it.

That, my friends, is pure unmitigated bravery. Slacking plays no part in being an entrepreneur. It never has and it never will. And frankly, I’m damn sick and tired of the judgment.

Yes, I’m angry. I know a lot of good people who work hard and struggle every day to stay above the doubt, the criticism and the financial risk that comes with the territory of being self employed. These people are business owners, writers, speakers, service providers, artists, musicians, the list is endless.

I say thank God for all of them. Thank God that there are people who think out of the box, take a chance on something innovative and new, and look fear in the eye and spit at it. Whether they succeed to their expectations or not, I give them huge kudos for engaging in the act of bravery, originality, and raw nerve.

Those of us in business for ourselves don’t always get it right. We are often wrestling with self doubt, second guessing and re-grouping. The best of us never give up. We may take a moment to lick the wounds of defeat should our venture not succeed, but the true entrepreneur will be back, and always with a vengeance.

To have the daring to stand apart from the crowd, to refuse to be a cog in the wheel, is no easy feat. I think its much easier playing the employment game, going to work, punching the time clock, collecting the check and having your health insurance paid and your paid holidays off. If that is your mindset, I admire your work ethic. You will get no discriminate judgment from me.

But on the chance you have any doubt, know that this country was not built by corporations but rather on the backs of the entrepreneur; the dreamer who had an idea and the courage to follow it, the inventor who was ridiculed but still persisted, the architect, artist, writer, musician, and philosopher who despite opposition and mockery stayed the course.

And, just in case you were wondering, I did call that gentleman (and I use the term loosely) and I did have coffee with him. How else would I have had the opportunity to let him know how very wrong he was? And let him know, I did. I offered the thought that an employed individual may well be a person who simply does not have the courage to follow their dream and create their own business. If he hasn’t changed his opinion on the matter, I think it’s a safe bet to assume that he will refrain from sharing it so cavalierly.

If you’ve wanted to be your own business person, you are in good company and there are many success stories to lift you up along the way. The price of being on your own is high, much higher than many think. But the rewards are tremendous and the satisfaction of knowing that you can make a living doing what you love … well, that’s priceless.

So, I end with fair warning; if you wish to engage me in a conversation about what slackers self employed people are, prepare yourself for a battle you are destined to lose. You are wrong and the world proves you so every day.

We are not all made from the same cloth and we are all here to make a life and a living. All of us bring different qualities and abilities to the table. It would be nice if respect was among them.


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Evette - Absolutely RIGHT ON, Tammy! I have always prided myself on my work ethic – working longs hours and doing an exemplary job – but have never worked harder than I have/do as self-employed – and I love it!

Mel Glenn - You are to be commended, not insulted. I think it takes a rare amount of courage and self-confidence to live by your own wits. The person you had lunch with is a drone, and was trying to get under your skin, (which he did.)
Kudos to you.

Tammy - Hi Evette, Your mention of long hours is something I neglected to add. The hours are sometimes endless, yet it rarely feels like “work”. That’s what comes from doing a labor of love. So very happy you popped in to share. Thanks ever so for the post!

Tammy - Hi Mel, I love the way you put that “live by your wits”. Yup, I do live by my wits, some days are definitely better than others. I agree with you…he was a drone (and a bit of an ass). And he absolutely got under my skin in the worst way. Lucky for him I took my anger out in words but what I was really compelled to do was wait for him to come out of the building and run him over. Kidding. Just kidding. Thanks for the support, the understanding and the post!

Evette - Tammy, I read and agree with most of your posts, but, like you, I found my feathers quite ruffled after reading the recruiters comment about a ‘real job’ and just couldn’t help myself! Hope you are well – I send my best wishes for an amazing 2013!

Tammy - Evette, so happy to know you are “out there”. This WAS a feather ruffling moment for me as well. Please, never be shy about contributing here. You know I would love to hear your take on all things agreeable AND disagreeable. It’s what drives me. The warmest wishes to you for an epic 2013! Keep making the world a prettier place.

Jeffrey Davidson - Tammy,
Perhaps you are a better person than I am. I probably would have told him what you did when you met with him but I would have told him when i met him and he first made the comments. My time would have been too valuable to spend it meeting with him.

You are correct in all that you say. Perhaps he does not have the discipline or character to be self-employed. Isn’t anyone whose owns their own business and even employs others self employed?

John Grisham is self employed as is Danielle Steele. Boy they are certainly slackers albeit prolific ones at that.

When people make such broad statements without information to back it up, it usually indicates to me that they do not have a clue what they are talking about. They frequently are the type of individual who try to build themselves up by putting others down. “Since you are a ‘slacker’ and can’t make it in the real world, I, who am successful and good and great because I work for someone else, will find you a job!”

Keep up the great writing and your wonderful insight into what is going on in today’s world.

Carmen - Thank you Tammy!!! You really hit that special spot in me. My family has been self employed for over 20 years. When I retired, I joined the family business. Let me tell you, self employed individuals work harder, are more desciplined, more caring and give back to the ecomony. There is no such thing as a regular lunch hour and a 40 hour a week job. I am sure a few of us would like to meet with this man who obviously is a piece of work without a mind of his own. I could go on for days!!!! Thank you

Tammy - Carmen, a 40 hour work week…what’s that? Lunch? Yeah, right. Yes, I think the self employed are the pioneers of today, forging on when times are lean, working when everyone else has gone to bed, and worrying until the deal is signed. We know. And we are to be celebrated, not ridiculed. And yet, neither of us would have it any other way. Would we? You are absolutely right with your mention with our penchant to give back to our local merchants. We know what it means to be supported by those around us and so it is that we go out of our way to do the same. So very happy you are here and more than thrilled that you shared today!

Tammy - Jeffrey, I think that the man’s statement found me in a shocked state. I am well aware of the view (I’ve heard it many times before), but I’ve never heard it delivered to me with such surety, smugness and downright contempt. By the time my wits were gathered he was long gone (probably back under the rock he crawled out from). Small minds benefit no one. I just had to spout off, well, because I’ve had quite enough of that misguided mindset. And I always welcome the change to given enlightenment to those who lack it (snicker). Thanks for being here and for the post!

Malissa - Grumble under my breath, what a jerk! Send us his number and we can give him a piece of our mind.

Self employed barber almost to go out of business because of our country’s rescission . Thank god I’m retiring in sept. with no retirement . Going to retrain and find something else I hope.

That just burns my ass! LoL sorry, thanks for sharing!

Tammy - Malissa, I hear ya sister! If I wasn’t laying myself open to a potential lawsuit, I’d give out his info. That would be fun to watch. But you would be surprised how many people share his train of thought. Bizarre and ridiculous! Good to know you are still out there, Malissa. The place wouldn’t be the same without you! Thanks for posting!

Ande Lyons - Woo Hoo!

What a fabulous moment for you Tammy! This recruiter helped you get deeper understanding and clarity as to why you are passionate about being the Goddess of your own Destiny! What a gift!!

I’m absolutely unemployable. Either I’m the Founder/CEO of my own gig… or I’m watching the sunset eating bon bons.

My husband is too. However, we decided while we were raising kids, we couldn’t have TWO entrepreneurs in the home (someone needed a ‘steady paycheck’), and given he was more employable than I… out he went. 10 years later… 4 layoffs later… he’s back in the saddle again – yeee haaaw! Two weeks before Christmas he got ‘bumped’ … three days later his website was up and four weeks later he has three signed contracts.

For this family… there is no greater security than being the Captain of your Domain. Working for someone else has a much greater cost – financially, to the family, to one’s health and definitely to one’s quality of life.

Three cheers for the entrepreneur/ solopreneur!

The Chief Passion Curator

Amanda - I haven’t read all the comments yet, but wanted to leave one of my own concerning hours. Speaking of which, there are also the times when you deal with wildly different time zones than your own, so you really do end up either getting up insanely early, or staying up insanely late, to deal with customers. That guy sounds like a real jerk and I’m glad you set him straight.

Tammy - Amanda, I don’t know how I could have missed the time zone crunch point. HUGE! Thanks so much for adding that. YES, we deal with the east coast as well as the international clients. It’s a huge pain in the butt, but something that is part of the territory, as you know. Yup, this guy was a gold medal jerk to be sure, but you would be surprised how many times I’ve heard that kind of jargon from know-nothings (an affectionate term for the ignorant). Awesome to have you here. Thanks for speaking up!

Tammy - Ande, you are, indeed, the chief passion curator! Thank God, because we need one! That’s quite the story you shared about you and your husband. There is pity little security out there in the “real jobs”. Two weeks before Christmas? Ouch! The best part about your sharing is how quickly he bounced back. You are so right … there is no greater security than being the Captain of your own domain! The quality of the entrepreneur’s life is SO much better, happier and probably longer lived. How happy am I to have you here? Ecstatic! Your enthusiasm is oozing as I read your words. That’s a gift, my friend. Thanks for being here and for the post!

Nancy Wurtzel - Oh, what a terrible insult to so many of us who work for ourselves! We are every bit as capable and valuable as someone who punches a time clock. I admire you for not jumping across the table and taking him on! Great post, my dear!

Tammy - Hi Nancy, I get kudos for not taking him down on the spot, although truth be told I was actually in a state of stunned shock for about a minute after he melted into the crowd. But you will be happy to know that I had my way with him (not in a good way) when we went to coffee. I left him with his mouth open and a deer in the headlights look on his face. The real problem is that so many people share his lame view of the self employed. It’s all so ridiculous it’s hard for me to wrap my head around it. So very lovely to hear from you. My pleasure, really.

Lee Lefton - Tammy, the last time I had a “real” job was in 1983 when I was a copywriter at an ad agency. When it was time for my yearly review, my boss told me I wasn’t going to get the full whatever % since there were a number of areas where I needed improvement. (Immediate red flag). First, I wrote too fast and was often finished with my work by noon. Huh? So I said, “Give me more work.” Second, I freelanced at night and on the weekends. So? Apparently, since I was on their payroll, they thought they owned me. No outside work allowed. Last, I sometimes left work before 5 pm. Yes, but I also came in most days before 7 to avoid the traffic. Didn’t matter, I was being paid for 9 to 5.

As you can imagine knowing me, I went home with steam coming out of every orifice. My wife let me rant and rave for a few minutes and calmly said, “You have two choices. Suck it up and go with the program. Or tell them Sayonara and build your freelance business.” I did the latter and tripled my income in the first year. And I’ve never looked back. Oh, and interestingly, they were one of the first clients to hire me…because I wrote fast.

Post script: About ten years later, I got a call from my old boss. Seems he’d been let go. His boss called from his car to tell him…while he was in the bathroom. And you’ll never guess what he said next. “I should have been brave enough to have left when you did. Do you suppose you could give me some tips on how to start a freelance business?”

Nuff said.

Tammy - Lee, wow, if that’s not a crazy strong endorsement for being self employed, I don’t know what is! The work “mill” is so regulated, so stifling for a creative mind. As a copywriter for an ad agency your job was to create. You would have thought they would have asked you to bring your dog to work, play cool music and inspire yourself to create great things. But nooooooo! Instead you were expected to fit a mold, a time slot and fill in the graphs. What a dreadful fate for a creative mind to suffer. I’m so very happy you escaped. Your wife is one smart cookie. I almost feel sorry for your old boss … I said almost. Calling from his car was hugely disrespectful. If only everyone understood the value of the independent thinker, the solo employee that chooses to take a chance on their skill. Then it might be a kinder world for those of us out there selling our wares. So great to hear from you. Thanks so much for sharing!

Lizzie Williams - Tammy,

During the course of the past year I have read so many self-help articles and “you can do it” articles, but your post here today has given me more encouragement and confidence than anything I’ve read in the past.

I’m going to do this. I’m going to enter this wonderful world of self employment. I’ll do it with courage, determination and confidence! And if I ever doubt myself and my ability to succeed, I’ll come back to this post because it’s all the encouragement I need.

Thank you,

Joan Cooper - I’d like to know the age of that “hot shot recruiter”.

I went to work at age 16 and I am still working – at 83. Do I want to? No of course not. But I must in order to live.

It started when, although all my life I had no problem getting a job, suddenly, I guess my wrinkles were showing, employers were not interested – EVEN PROFESSIONAL JOB PLACEMENT COMPANIES. Yes.

One I remember and can now smile – the lady started to pull an application out of a drawer, and she stopped halfway through, looked me up and down, and said…’oh we are all out of applications…could you come back some other time…’

I started my own small business and I can tell you, mr. hotshotrecuriter – you don’t know what work is until you run your own business, responsible for everything and worrying if someone doesn’t like it, you lose. What an a__h_l_

Joan Cooper

Tammy - Hi Lizzie, thank you for that amazing post. It made my heart sing. Truly. Clearly you have been pondering the idea of being self employed for some time now. You will need that courage, determination and confidence, that is no lie. But it may surprise you to know that your excitement, pure joy, and love of the challenge will feed your spirit, your mind and your body. You, my dear, are in very good company. I’m thrilled this post spoke to you … there is nothing that quite speaks to the soul like truth. Take your truth, own it and run with wild abandon into your destiny. We are all right behind you. I hope to hear from you again. Thanks for sharing.

Tammy - Hi Joan, the recruiter was 44. Old enough to know better, don’t you think? Your story proves that necessity is truly the mother of invention. When life pushes us in a corner, we generally come out fighting. You did just that. A big hooray for you and all of us who managed to find our own way and make a place for ourselves in the business world. I applaud you and agree wholeheartedly that the man was a bit of an ass. Thanks ever so for being here!

Charity Kountz - Oh if you could only be in the same room to see me nodding along and cheering you with every sentence! You hit the nail on the head! I actually think, for me, being employed is harder. I have to move to someone else’s beat and I’m just flat out not good at that. It’s a necessary evil sometimes but oh how it chafes. I can’t wait to return to doing what I love but for now my family needs me to work a job and bring in a steady income. One day I’ll be back in the trenches full time again and loving it! Regardless I’ll never stop being an entrepreneur and self-employed because the rewards are so great. Good for you for setting the record straight!

Tammy - Charity, thanks, girl! You hit on something that tweaked me big time. Entrepreneurship is a mindset. It DOESN’T necessarily mean that you are currently self employed. YES, you will be back in the trenches, wringing your hands, pulling your hair, going to bed thinking about what you will do next….all in time. I agree with you, working for someone else is harder once you’ve tasted the nectar of self employment. I too have worked for someone before. I call it the “selling my soul for health insurance” time of my life. It only fueled my fire, enabled my abilities. You will be the exact same. I sense it. Thanks for this input and for the sharing of it. Great hearing from you.

Charity Kountz - Wow, you give me hope Ande! I’m back to being employed again, working for a small company. My husband doesn’t earn nearly as much as I do as an assistant manager for a restaurant so my income is the primary one. Unfortunately, trying to run a fledgling business on a minuscule salary wasn’t cutting it. The right opportunity came along and here I am, back to employed again. I miss my freedom but for now that paycheck is important but I can’t agree more – Captain is better than ship swain. Good luck to both of you!

Charity Kountz - Go for it Lizzie! It’s not easy but I don’t think there’s an entrepreneur anywhere who will tell you it isn’t worth it. Hard as hell , yes, but always worth it.

And I just have to say, I self-published a book in November – the lead character’s name is Lizzy. 🙂 You have a great name – you’ll do great things if you just believe in yourself. My character Lizzy believed in herself, made a wish on a star for snow and it came true, sending her on the adventure of a lifetime. Your belief in yourself can do the same for you. Good luck!

Charity Kountz - I think this is my germination time. For whatever reason, the good Lord thinks I need a little more grooming, a little more tweaking and a little more time in the fire. Hopefully while I’m at it I’ll use my talents for good for someone else but for now this is where I need to be, whether I understand why or not. (I find it ironic that I’m working for a 61 year old man who has made more in his career than I have ever imagined, who has a graphic design degree and previously published several books and is now running a financial services company).

I’d rather be writing and I’m starting to feel like this is going to get me ready to take that leap. For fifteen years I’ve been doing everything but my God-given talent (writing) and I think God is teaching me a lesson. We’ll see how long it takes me to learn it 🙂

Judith Briles - Excellent post Tammy–I’m passing it along to my crowd. I’ve come to believe that the great majority of the slackers out there are the ones who get a regular paycheck, not to mention the perks of 401(k), vacations, a few sick days here and there.

The self-employed, which includes you and me, most likely “work” double the hours (and have more fun and personal appreaction of the outcome) than those that have the “steady” income guarantee.

For 40 years now, I’ve started each month with no guarantee. No promise of a paycheck twice a month. For 40 years, I’ve raised a family, saved money, lost all of it when a partner embezzeled a nifty sum 30 years ago, started over from scratch, put the kids through school, the roof over the head, paid the bills, etc. During those 40 years, two of my children died. As a slacker, I didn’t have the luxury of co-workers stepping in for me; of taking some grief time off; of healing. During those 40 years, I’ve experienced cancer and got/took a few days “off” for surgery, and then back to work–nope, we self-employed slackers continue to reach out to others, sometimes in unbearable pain physically and emotionally, and keep on truckin. We slackers are entrepreneurs. We are survivors and we thrive–not because we think out of the box. We trash the boxes of conventionality of the “normal” workplace … for us, being abnormal as what we do–and it is a good thing. I can’ imagine having a 9 to 5 –I don’t know what that is. Do you?

I understand feeling a little dumbfounded–but I could imagine blowing off any time with the jerks of the world–unless it was for the sole purpose or creating you excellent post and he was your platform. Otherwise–two hours of kiss off time would find me in front of a favorite show on TV that I was dying to catching up with–now, that could be slacking a tad.

Tammy - Hi Judith, clearly you are no doubt the poster child for the successful self employed entrepreneur. When you shared you life and your tribulations here, well, it brings it all home. It’s personal. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Our work is personal, just like our lives, our choices, our children, our grief and our pain. It belongs only to us. We struggle for it, through it, past it, and make it to the other side as best we can. When I grow up (any day now) I want to be a slacker just like you. Thanks for shedding that bright light of reality … and thanks for being here. You, Miss Judith, are pretty damn awesome!

Scott Morgan - Funny how full life is of answers to questions no one asked. Also funny how people like this jackass at the networking function see the self-employed as people without real jobs, when companies that hire people to do “real” jobs often start as one-person enterprises. Then again, the guy’s job is to recruit people, so he’s got to make you doubt yourself to be successful. Hang tough, Tammy. Saying the self-employed don’t work is like saying parents have plenty of play time.

Tammy - Hi Scott, you made me laugh. You are right, of course. Hanging tough I am. The very idea that solo entrepreneurs don’t have “real jobs” was so offensive to me. I think Judith has a good point, I probably should not have wasted a moment on this man, yet felt compelled to “set him straight”. It’s exhausting being me! Thanks for the read and the comment. So glad to hear from you!

Tana Bevan - Some thoughts and questions come to mind.

Was the “hotshot recruiter” in a funk because so many prime candidates were choosing the path of entrepreneurship leaving him slim pickings for job placement?

How “hot” was the “hotshot recruiter”? His comments lead me to believe he doesn’t consider the fact people are wired differently. In a people placing business, I would think matching temperaments was as important — if not more important — than matching job skills. After all, skills can be learned.

In very simplistic terms, I believe there are those who function well from the outside-in and those who function well from the inside-out. The former do well when given parameters, told what to do, how to do something, and when to do it. They make better employees. The latter need to set their own parameters and have control in deciding how to do what, when. They make better entrepreneurs.

A person may have a natural inclination of one over the other. However, I believe time (and life experience) can cause a person to re-evaluate. For example, one could have wound up an employee and never really thought about it until circumstances forced a change, at which point he/she discovered they flourished as an entrepreneur. (The reverse also being true.)

There is never one size that fits all. A person who resorts to name calling is simply showing a lack of civility and common courtesy. In the end, such comments are a reflection on them. (And a poor one at that.)

“Hotshot” would do well to recall many corporations begin as entrepreneurial businesses, only to grow, and grow, and grow.

Whether you are an employee or an entrepreneur, be brave. Be bold. Be different. Be courteous. Be respectful. Be open to possibilities. And please keep in mind, just because a person has chosen not to “go your way,” he or she is not necessarily on “the highway.”

Maureen - Love all the comments! And would have loved to been a fly on the wall during that coffee! Having done both sides of the coin, I absolutely prefer to be my own boss – it allows me to be in charge of my life and happiness. That someone else thinks because I don’t work outside of the home and punch a clock makes me somehow ‘less’ than competent, or that I don’t have a ‘real’ job – just tells me that person hasn’t figured it all out yet – & that we have. 😀

Tammy - Hi Maureen, I agree, so many of my readers submit excellent comments. There is lots to learn from there. And I’m sure you would have appreciated the “give and take” during our coffee. I was strongly confident of his badly informed ego. It proved very gratifying for me to inform him of his misguided opinion. You are right on … this man has not figured it all out yet. But is sure sounds like you have. Kudos to you, my entrepreneur friend! Thanks for popping in and sharing!

Tammy - Hi Tana, thanks so much for this eloquent offering. Every single bit of it rings true! I am especially fond of your turn of phrase “just because a person has chosen not to go your way, he or she is not necessarily on the highway”. AMEN! It has been and will always be different strokes for different folks (I totally dated myself there). I’m afraid there is a definite lacking of courtesy and civility in the workplace. I have to assume that is stems from ego, false judgment and simple rudeness. The entrepreneur is often required to go against the grain, to swim upstream and to take those chances that can, and often do, make a difference. I admire every single one of them as I also admire the worker who shows up to work every day and gives their best for their employer. There is room enough for all of us. So very happy to have you here! I hope you subscribe and become a part of the tribe.

Leigh - Great Read! As an entrepreneur myself, I couldn’t have said it any better. I’ll definitely be sharing this with my colleagues. Thank you!

Tammy - Hi Leigh, thanks for the encouragement! I’m so happy you found your here. I appreciate hearing from you and hope you will be back!

Lana Figgs - WOW OH WOW!! Just reading the title made my b/p go up!! I think anyone who believes that is “slack” in the head! It takes A LOT of courage to step out in faith & choose the path of self- employment! Did this genius consider that MANY small businesses began with SELF- EMPLOYMENT? KUDOS to ALL who have the courage to choose their own path & pursue their dreams!!

Tammy - Hi Lana, I know, right?! My b/p was sky high as I watched him walk away, leaving me stunned and mortified and questioning “what just happened?”. No worries, I seized the opportunity to set the record straight. You would be surprised how many people share his sentiment towards the self employed. It’s beyond ridiculous to me. Of course, you are 100% right, many small businesses began as self employed people. Duh! I guess it comes down to, it’s hard to argue with stupid. Yes, let’s raise a glass to all of us, them, you, who are out there trying like crazy to live our dream, pay our bills and doing it our way! So glad you dropped by, and thanks ever so much for the post!

Jerry X Shea - Hi Tammy, Just read your article – that guys is the reason they invented the word “jerk.” A person that makes that kind of a statement is just a “weak person hiding in a JOB (Just Over Broke).” He would not have the (fill in your own word here) _____ ) to make in his own business. The last time I received a pay check for “going to work for someone else” was in 1981. I have owned 6 different types of businesses and now write books about small business success and tour the country speaking at small business Expos. I have met many people like him over the years. I have no problem with people that love their job (working for others), but when they question those of us that go into business, it shows their weak character.

Tammy - Jerry, you are a prince among men. Thank you. Am still giggling about your “fill in the blank here”, pretty funny! I admire your spirit and your sharing has only entrenched me into the idea that this man, and all those who think like him, are just too stupid to get it. Thanks again for posting here. You’re awesome!

Angela Boudreaux Campbell - Tammy:

If I have a dollar for every time I’ve heard “but you have a Master’s degree and you’re selling lipstick?” I’d be a gazillionare!! They really don’t get what I do and why I do it. It’s not even about the cosmetics, although that’s a pretty nice perk. It’s about enriching women’s lives. It’s about showing someone that the best helping hand is at the end of their of their own wrist. But, most of all, it’s about giving people hope.

Tammy, kudos for standing up for yourself. That guy is just jealous. He was in the presence of greatness and was intimidated. Have a great 2013.

Kerry Brooks - You are so right Tammy – and thank you for following through, speaking your mind, and sticking up for the rest of us! Jeffrey below is so right too; the recruiter not only doesn’t have the discipline and character to be an entrepreneur, he doesn’t have the courage.

Almost eight years and counting and never looking back!

William Essex - A banker once turned to me at a media reception and said, “Now, you strike me as somebody who’s totally unemployable!” He was speaking without thinking, in the flow of conversation, and he was immediately embarrassed. I took it as a huge compliment. We’re all self-employed in our own lives, aren’t we?

Tammy - Hi Angela, I’m so happy you stopped in to share! It sounds like you have found your real purpose and have a very good time in life fulfilling it. I would say that your Master’s degree has worked very well for you! I wonder if people like that are a bit jealous of the free time (and boy, do I use that term lightly) that self employed people enjoy. I can’t really figure out why those of us who take all the risks are ridiculed for it. But I’ll tell you what … I’m sick of it and won’t stand for it for another moment (gets out her soap box). Thank you for being here and for posting. It … and you ….are awesome!

Tammy - Hi Kerry, eight years and counting? Wooo Hooo! Wonderful! Once you have tasted flight you will never again walk the earth without looking up! I forget who said that quote, but they were bloody brilliant! It does take courage, guts and a good deal of know how and elbow grease to make it as a self employed person in this world. I happily commend you on your accomplishment! I know meeting this guy was probably a big waste of time but I must confess … it sure felt good. So happy you stopped in here to share. So happy! Thanks for the post.

Tammy - William, interesting thought. I absolutely love that you were immediately and automatically flattered. Love that! I agree, and am quite sure he meant it as a compliment. Some people have such a sense of self, of courage that they shine just a wee bit brighter than the rest. It is my complete feeling that many of these people are the self employed of the world. Not because they are better, but because they dare to try to be. Maybe we are all self employed in our own lives after all. Great having you here on the blog! I hope you come back and visit again! Thanks for the post.

Ron - I have been self-employed for 21 years now and have been called all sorts of things from time to time because I am unafraid to do things in an unconventional way sometimes. Lately I have been inundated with work designing websites. Never fear what others say and never give up on your dreams and goals. Never allow others to dictate to you. Decide what is right for you and persue it with passion, always giving excellent service and value to your clients. Failure is not an option, only a result now and then, but never permanent.

Tammy - Hi Ron, thanks so much for sharing this here! You are SO RIGHT when you say that failure is not an option for the self employed but simply a result every now and then. YES! Most of us that own our own business view failure as a necessary evil in getting ahead. I for one, know that failure has been my best teacher. It never felt good while I was in the process, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. That’s for damn sure. Your advise is golden. NEVER fear what others say and NEVER give up your dreams or allow anyone else to dictate to you. You couldn’t be more right on. Thank you for posting. You, sir, are awesome!

Mark M - A lot of people have said a lot of really stupid things due to their ignorance and arrogance. The question I would want to ask the hotshot recruiter is “Who do you think Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Ted Turner (among many more) have been working for?” They are all self-employed people who can’t find work or keep a job anywhere else. So how does hotshot stack up against them? Do you think he can help them get a “real job”?

Then you hand him your business card with your slogan, “I help make stupid people smart,” wink, and ask him to call you so you can connect him with a “real brain.”

Of course, I know you aren’t going to do anything like that. You’ve got too much class.

Stacey Joy - This is an encouraging post! I am not self-employed, but my second job that I’ve launched in my writing will be my first entrepreneurial journey. I’m taking it with pride! Thank you Tammy!

Tammy - Mark, man, you are so right, and I am appreciative that you shared your post here. A HUGE point needs to be brought forward that many of the large corporations were, at one time, self employed entrepreneurs. Hello? And many would be unable to get a job somewhere else, or if they could, unlikely to keep it. People who have such strong individual ideas and goals often clash with their boss who just wants to collect the check and get home in time for dinner. I’d like to think that I have too much class to take your suggestion, but truth is, it would feel so good to do, that should this ever happy to me again…class may just have to take a back seat. THANK YOU again for posting, appreciate it!

Tammy - Hi Stacey, just so you know, about half the entrepreneurs I know have full time jobs elsewhere. For now. Spirit matters. And clearly yours wishes to soar a bit higher, step out of the box and take that chance. You, my dear, are in very good company, and the world welcomes you into the fold of upcoming entrepreneurship. So do I!! Thank YOU, Stacey, for sharing and for posting.

Sandra Rea - I sat across from a recruiter when I was THINKING about going back to the 9 – 5 grind, something I never enjoyed, because I’m not good at playing corporate games, I don’t like wasting time in “necessary” meetings that the company forces its high-ups to have for budgetary reasons, and I don’t fit into cliques of the types of low-level-thinking individuals I’ve met along the way. OMG! I could tell you stories. I used to take contract work “inside” marketing departments and I did far less work than I have ever accomplished in my home office. Here, no one is dropping by my cubicle to tell me about her date, which I couldn’t care less about, and there are no two-hour useless meetings that accomplish zero. Anyway, the recruiter told me that I am deemed “unemployable” because I’m a serial entrepreneur and that if a company were to hire me, I would get bored after I had learned everything and walk out with some of that company’s clients. He’s right about that. We entrepreneurs who have smarts are a bit dangerous. Not lazy. Dangerous. We learn more quickly than the average bear, we outdo our peers, we become the center of an department or operation pretty quickly, we know how to gain trust (and to be trustworthy), we don’t play stupid games and, darn it, people like us. Just my two cents!!

Tammy - Sandra, I think I love you. *giggling* My favorite line “darn it, people like us.” Yes, yes they do. Because we are great listeners, we offer solid strategic advice, we care, we contribute and we follow up. Hell, I like me! I’ve never heard the observation about entrepreneurs being dangerous, but I couldn’t agree more with you. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to a company’s idea and morphed into something better, stronger and more profitable. Yup. And I did it without a corporate staff. Two of my career path businesses were ideas I got when I went to a seminar that someone else was presenting. I left with the thought process of “I know I can do better than that”. And I did. Dangerous we are. But in the best of ways. Love the way you think and am so delighted to have you here sharing and posting. Please say you have subscribed??

Sandra Rea - Let me see… yep. I just subscribed. Waiting on the feed burner request now. What’s funny is that I very rarely comment like this, but your piece hit me. I had to chime in. I run a wee little ANTI agency here in the OC (California), and we get more done with our little virtual team than I have seen happen in large groups of corporate players. As an entrepreneur who works with other entrepreneurs to get a project done, we work virtually and have to rely heavily on excellent communication skills, another thing that I’ve noticed is lacking in corporate America. I’ve met more inept middle management individuals than I can count, people who are afraid to make decisions or do not have the power to do so, and people at the top who got there on the backs of hardworking others. We as an entrepreneurial group work together, have to count on each other, have to develop together as a team and work cooperatively. In short, we know how to play well with others and make the playground a fun place to be. We work fast, too. Have you ever seen anything in corporate work fast? That’s why they OUTSOURCE to people like us. They cannot get things done in-house. Just an observation…. my opinion. My humble opinion.

Tammy - Sandray, SO HAPPY to have you here! You will receive my ‘chime in’ every other Wednesday. I have a feeling our thoughts will often walk the same path. I too garner a fair amount of business from corporations or small business entities. And for ALL the reasons you mentioned. An ANTI agency, eh? Sounds interesting. I will look you up on LinkedIn and connect. Always good to run in the same pack. So very happy you choose to chime in here today and pleased as punch to have you as a member of my tribe!

Haralee - Good for you!
When people complain about health care costs and they work for a company and have to pay some, I tell them how much I pay as a self employed person and the complaining stops!

Tammy - Haralee, AMEN. Every time I share my health care cost “number” I get a deer in the headlights glazed over look, mouth gaping, and finally a muted comment of “are you serious?”. Yup. There’s a high price to pay for being on your own. I for one, am more than happy to pay it! Thanks tons for popping in AND posting. Love having you here!

mindy - Hear, hear, Tammy! Life’s path for everyone is not always linear. Not everyone is made for a 9 to 5 desk job, and the sooner people realize that the better. Self-employed people are not deadbeats…they are risk takers, and they are betting on themselves.

Tammy - Hi Mindy, HERE, HERE!! Yup, they are betting on themselves and they are winning. In most cases. What so many don’t realize is that it takes time to build a clientele. I know an awful lot of “deadbeats” who punch the clock and accomplish pity little during their day to day. Can’t blame them in many cases. The corporate world is not designed to be efficient, nor does it give much thought to the happiness of their employees. Maybe all the more reasons people are striking out. Ya think?

Brittany - Rock on, Tammy! People who belittle the self-employed are usually ignorant and/or envious. That guy with the “real” job probably wants to be an entrepreneur, but he’s too scared. Your courage to think and act outside the box threatens him, but that’s his problem, not yours.

Tammy - Thanks, Brittany. I agree, there is no need for belittlement. Ridiculous. I’ve washed my hands of people like that, but I must admit, it threw me for a loop. I was dumbfounded to know that people really thought like that. So “yesterday” and stagnant. Thanks for stopping in for the read and know that I appreciate the comment!

Robin Marie Younkin - Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying this. I get the “Have you thought about going back to your real job?” question regularly, and my response is always the same: Why? Why would I give up my passion for predictability? Why would I choose safety over my sanity? Why show my newborn son that life is about helping someone else achieve their dreams and not your own? I’m fortunate to have stumbled upon this today.

Robin - Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying this. I get the “Have you thought about going back to your real job?” question regularly, and my response is always the same: Why? Why would I give up my passion for predictability? Why would I choose safety over my sanity? Why show my newborn son that life is about helping someone else achieve their dreams and not your own? I’m fortunate to have stumbled upon this today.

Tammy - Hi Robin, so happy you enjoyed the read. Not everyone did. But isn’t that the beauty of things; knowing that we are all different? If only people would reserve judgment, see the big picture and honor all of us who try so hard to achieve. If only! I so appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me here. Thanks for that. Hope you subscribe and we see more of each other.

sugar daddy - I’ve just found you thru Score Tammy! I wish I could make your next talk. This blog post is just what I needed to read today!

Tammy - So glad you enjoyed the piece and happy it spoke to you. Which SCORE did you find me through? I contribute to a few.

Ranch Office - People who think that self-employed entrepreneurs are slackers just don’t understand the whole point of entrepreneurship. Totally agree with everything you’ve mentioned. Thanks a lot!

Organik - Thanks for the read! I look forward to reading your next post!

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