I can thank Mike Oscar Hotel, over at http://sharpenedaxe.com/ for accidentally giving me the idea for this post. He’d made the comment on one of my posts (paraphrased here) that, while it was sort of too late for him, he was trying to teach his kids not to be wage slaves. I can certainly sympathize. Besides the virtual slavery “working for the man” entails, such employment can end at literally any moment. That can throw a gigantic monkey wrench into the lifestyle of the average American.
While I worked several part-time jobs on the side over the years, I spent the first 20 years of my adult life in self-employment. Had I remained single, I would have remained self-employed. However, when you’re married, you tend to try making your partner happy, even after you learn that happiness will be forever unattainable. As a result, I accumulated some debts which gradually grew beyond my ability to pay for on the income I had from self-employment. So, I went to work at the factory.
Unfortunately, it really is true that the more you make, the more you tend to spend. That’s why my debts actually grew, and I had no choice but to sell my ancestral home when I saw that the factory was eventually going to close (despite what THEY said). It goes back to living beyond your means (debt) and growing dependant on the job furnished you by the man. Let’s face it; the only person who actually makes it in this world is the man at the top. That’s why you need to be king of the hill, YOUR hill, even if it’s little more than a mole hill. You will never fire YOU, Even when times are bad! That doesn’t mean that your business can’t fail, but at least you won’t get the axe due to corporate belt-tightening.
Personally, I believe that if you want an income that is relatively safe, regardless of the economy, you first need to provide a product or service that is needed no matter what shape the economy is in. Being a self-employed plumber or electrician would fall under that description, but it may require a few years of apprenticeship to get there. Being someone who repairs lawn-mowers and chainsaws might be another example that would be easier to get into, IF you have the talent. A carpenter or general handyman may also fit the bill. One fellow that I used to know spent his life plowing gardens and brush-hogging properties for people.
It’s good, also, to have what writer and businessman