Do I want to work for someone else? Or do I want to work for myself? It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times in my life.
Working for someone else is often safer and more profitable. The downside is that you have to work on projects other people deem interesting. Those projects don’t always align with what YOU want to do or what YOU are excited by. The upside is a steady paycheck, defined boundaries (hello vacation days!), and the stability of knowing that Everything Is Going to Be All Right (until layoffs, ha!). Also, there are 401k contributions and retirement benefits for the amassing.
On the downside, you’re not able to pick your own path. And while we all hope we’ll be the next Steve Jobs or Walt Disney, history clearly shows that only a fraction of the tiniest percent of entrepreneurs make that cut, and even then, it’s often only when the right person recognizes the right potential at the right time, and it has less to do with strength of character or hours worked (if it were down to that, we’d all be millionaires). No, you cannot squeeze blood from a stone. A bad or late idea will not yield extra profits, no matter how hard you try.
Why so pessimistic? I already failed my own startup, a small publishing company making comics for girls, by girls, which I started as a teenager and abandoned at age 23. I needed jaw surgery, and I wasn’t making enough nor did I have health insurance. I shut down the whole comics dream and never went back. The money in web development is so good, and the people here take such good care of you. It’s hard to think about ever running my own company. Who would look after me?