Are the Self-Employed Happier?

Ashleigh Kinsey, AK Design

Ashleigh Kinsey, AK Design

Guest post by Ashleigh Kinsey, owner, AK Design

A new study has shown the self-employed both enjoy their work more and find it more rewarding – despite longer hours and less job security – than those who work for others.

The study found that those who were self-employed were not only amongst the most engaged, but also experienced greater opportunities for innovation, achieving challenging targets and meeting high standards.

Do you find this to be a shocking statement? I don’t. With freelancing on the rise, and many reports showing that more and more people are either freelancing full time or as a “side hustle” It all comes down to independence, flexibility and freedom. Three things that would contribute to anyone’s happiness.

There was a time when businesses would hire an employee and that employee would be offered wonderful benefits and great retirement incentives, and people would generally work one job for many years of their life. They would work 40 hours per week year after year, and then be able to retire with a nice pension they could depend on.

Times have certainly changed. With glass ceilings in corporate jobs, and uncertainties around the future of benefits like social security, and retirement or pension plans, self-employed individuals are simply trying to build their own future, and a life they love. Certain people like to change their careers when they are no longer happy in their current one, especially if is having an impact on their life. A lot of people may decide to become self-employed in an area of work that they know they will enjoy, whilst others decide to join an organization in which they have a specific interest. For example, certain people who have knowledge and experience with medical cannabis may decide to go into the field as they could find that they enjoy this more than their current job. Read more here for further information about some jobs in this industry. Whichever route you decide to take though, whether that’s becoming self-employed or changing career, make sure that it is the right one for you and your personal happiness.

Then there’s the internet. This has leveled the playing field for many and allowed people to access a multitude of resources without gatekeepers. Freelancers on and off-line are making opportunities for themselves, not just waiting for handouts. That sort of independence is freeing, and makes freelancers feel in more control of their lives. Want to work at night vs. 9-5? No problem. A freelancer can adjust their schedule as much as they wish. As they become more efficient in their work, that boosts confidence, (making them happier) and allows them to be a more valuable freelancer.

Many times those who moonlight are doing it to get a sense of fulfillment. Perhaps the job pays the bills, but is not engaging enough. Or maybe they went to school for music, and when they got out of college, could not find a job in their field, and had to settle for another option to pay the bills and student loans.

Kierra Jones

Kierra Jones of Kierra Jones Inc, has said; “For me personally, happier isn’t the word. I believe that is something only the individual can express and it’s completely subjective and case by case. What I will say is I do believe we are more fulfilled. I believe although sometimes we find ourselves doing some tasks we don’t love, we are ok to do them because we see how they lead back into our bigger picture vision. Working for your dream feels massively different then building someone else’s.”

Tiffany Davis

“I don’t know if self-employed people are happier. I know that I am happier as a self-employed person. There are many pros to being self-employed they’re almost endless depending upon who you ask. The specific one, for me is time flexibility. There are also many cons however I think the first one that comes to mind are the fluctuations in income.” says Chef Tiffany Davis.

Kathleen McLean

Kathleen McLean, of The McLean Group mentioned that “Yes I think people who have their own are happier because they can choose their clients. We also have flexibility in when and how we work. The pros in my business is I can see and feel the changes. The cons is it is a long sale cycle. People need to trust me to invite me to engage in difficult dialogue. It is a risk and sometimes people have had negative experiences with previous consultants in my field. I keep going because I need to eradicate systemic racism in every single institution and empower others with new tools to do the same”

These are just some of the reasons people are taking their lives into their own hands and creating their best life. When a person does that — it makes them happy knowing they are doing what they love, even if they are working more hours. The boring tasks are still there, but being on a path you create for yourself, and seeing that pathway lead you to more and more opportunities for happiness would be worth it, right? What are your thoughts? Are you self-employed? Do you moonlight? Do you feel you are happier? Share your thoughts in the new Facebook Group!