Strengthen through Self-Employment: 3 Unique Benefits You’re Guaranteed to Get

Maggie Karshner
5 min readMay 29, 2024


My business’ tenth anniversary is approximately now. I’m marking June 1st, 2014 as my “official” start date. “Official” is in quotes because I’d secured a business license and domain name a few months prior. June 1st was the first day I was both free of my full-time job and had my own office. This is how businesses get started. It’s a million little baby steps. And then you get to year 10 and you’re surprised at how much time has passed.

I work primarily with folks who are just getting started in business. These steps of “what comes first when launching a business?” might be front and center in your mind right now, or might be recent history for you. For my business, they now reside in a proverbial scrapbook. The statistical odds that you’re afraid of are no longer relevant to my business. Don’t get me wrong, 10 years in doesn’t mean I’m free of challenges, it’s just that they’ve changed. The challenges of a mature business are different than those of a beginning business.

Also, those statistics we’ve been afraid of… they don’t even apply to us! I’m referring to the statistic that 20% of businesses fail in the first year, and half fail within 5 years. These statistics come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW.) This defines a business’ birth date by employment which excludes all self-employed workers! (And there are over 9 million of us!) To the best that I can tell, we’re not well-studied. Regardless, we need to stop letting this statistic hold us back!

From day one I had faith that I’d reach this point. I knew I’d beat the odds not because I was confident in my future success. Rather, I knew I was doggedly determined and would keep at this until I got to where I was going. For the most part, the journey was about what I expected. Along the way, I’ve gotten the inside perspective on over 160 businesses. Not all of those are on track to join me at the 10-year mark, but all of them have gained something by trying.

It’s clear to me now the value that comes from trying to start a business even if you end up going back to having a “normal” job. Your relationship with work is forever changed for the better by self-employment. It’s as if the process of shaking those golden handcuffs results in them never fitting again. Yes, you can choose employment again, but your relationship to it will be improved. Here are three facets of this that I’ve seen over and over again during the last 10 years.

1. Hashtag-no-regrets

If you think your life would be better if self-employed then you gotta try it. The alternative is to reach old age and never know. Is self-employment worth it? Judge by the rest of the items in this list. But whatever you do, don’t wait. There’s no right time to take that leap. If now looks kinda ok, then do it.

2. The Magic You May Find

It was never a life goal of mine to start a business; it was born out of necessity. Now that I’ve done it, I don’t know if I could ever work in a traditional office ever again. I didn’t even acknowledge the effort I put in at the office because it was necessary. Work requires that you arrive at the office and stay there for specific windows of time. You’ve got to commute there and deal with the traffic. You’ve got to navigate social relations with coworkers — you didn’t specifically choose to work with these people! And you’ve got to work with your superiors to convince them to prioritize the projects you want to work on. But now I can avoid most of those energy sinks. It’s utterly magical to discover that, while I can do all those things, I enjoy so much more to not have to do them!

Who knows what you’ll find out if you try self-employment? Maybe you’ll love it for completely different reasons. Maybe you’ll hate it, or just find the perks to be very “meh.” Regardless, you’ll never know unless you try. And you can’t know until you try.

3. The Lessons that Persist

The most relentless lesson of self-employment is your understanding of your own value. All business owners have tripped over themselves at one point or another. This stems from a lack of valuing themselves, their employees, or their energy. Your understanding of your value must be positive and reflect your fee. You project that value every day in a million little ways. It’s in every social media post, every email, and every client interaction (even the positive ones!) All of these you don’t have to bother with when you’re employed. It is hands down the most consistent challenge for my clients.

It’s also the source of the most lasting, most valuable lesson. Over the years I’ve worked with so many folks embarking on launching their self-employed business. For a few of them, an attractive job opportunity emerges out of nowhere. It’s a conundrum: to stick with self-employment or take the job.

But here’s what happens when you have an alternative to employed work: you’re critical of that opportunity. It’s not a question of if you can get it, it’s a question of if you really want it. Your understanding of your value has shifted. You’re in a powerful negotiating position. There’s also a clarity that comes. The red flags you may have downplayed into only yellows are a lot more clear. You’re clear within yourself that you’re not afraid of hard work (cause self-employment is plenty hard!) It’s only a question of if this is the work you really want to take on. And you’re not dependent on it to make your livelihood because self-employment is an option.

I’ve had clients take the job and not take the job. Regardless, I find they have a great deal of peace with that decision. And those that take the job have a better position than they did before self-employment.

Do it! Try it!

As I reflect on all the lessons I (and my clients) have learned it’s all really quite clear. Go be self-employed. Try it out. What’s the worst that could happen? …you could go get a job you actually like. I’m preaching to the choir for the most part. But if you’re still sitting on the fence, consider this your sign to take action. It would be the best 10- year business birthday present you could give me! ;-)

Originally published at on May 29, 2024.



Maggie Karshner

Maggie is a business coach who helps launch and grow self-employed businesses. Learn how she could help you at