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Once You're the Boss, You'll Never Go Back.

A recent survey from FreshBooks found that an overwhelming majority of people who are self-employed prefer to stay that way: to the tune of over 96 percent. Being self-employed and running your own business is not easy, and most people who try to start their business will end up failing. So why do we continuously choose to take that risk at such a high percentage?

Diving into the numbers a little bit, you’ll see that the reason most people choose to remain self-employed as opposed to just hack it at a good old-fashioned 9-5, boils down to one very simple reason: freedom.

In their annual report, FreshBooks found that there are nearly 30 million small businesses in operation in the US right now - and if a lot of people end up having their way, that number will only grow.

The study also found that almost 25 million people are planning to strike out on their own by 2021. Why? Freedom.

Over half of the respondents cited simply choosing when to work as the top reason for wanting to work on their own and wanting to keep it that way. Most of the other responses sort of danced around the concept of freedom.

Some people wanted to be able to choose where to work, others how hard to work and still others liked choosing what to work on. A few respondents just flat out said they didn’t like answering to superiors.

The common thread here is that freedom and autonomy are huge motivators for people choosing to work for themselves - not the more romantic notions of personal success, or passion for a particular industry.

If you’re a small business leader, we think this is important for you to know. Most talented people don’t just start businesses because they’re the next Henry Ford or Steve Jobs. Instead, they want that wiggle room that freedom brings.

As a small business leader, you can take advantage of this trend by offering your team members (and potential new hires) a taste of this freedom, completely devoid of the risk of starting their own business.

Consider offering employees flexible hours and the ability to work remotely on occasion. Maybe there are team members that you don’t need in the office at all. Try to empower team members to have autonomy over certain projects.

There’s also something to be said for taking advantage of the growing pool of self-employed by finding ways to outsource certain roles and projects to freelancers.

A taste of power, and the feeling that they are in control and meaningful in the operation of your business could turn a potential self-starter into a long-time and devoted team member.

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