Let me tell you my story.
I started blogging from my college dorm room. The reason – I had lots of free time and I wanted to keep myself engaged. At that time, the biggest concern I had as a student – how do I land a job? How do I get placed in that campus interview? How do I earn a salary?
I did not get a job through college and neither I did get a job through job portals. I told myself
Let me continue to blog so long I find a decent job.
I continued writing on my website for three years and was earning quite well, more than the salary that was paid to my fresher batch mates. But I still wanted a job, since I wanted to see how the corporate world works. I wanted to see how big companies operate themselves and I wanted to learn how big businesses are built, maintained and operated.
Eventually I landed a job in the corporate. And I kept doing it for 4 years and then one day, I was laid off. I returned to blogging once again. I continued writing all the while, no matter whether I am employed or not. When I lost the job, I started working on this website and laid out the initial ground work. I eventually landed another job in 3 months and I currently work there.
Why Blogging Or Freelancing Is More Secured Than Your Corporate Job
Based on my experiences in working as a full time blogger, a freelancer and being a corporate employee for 4-5 years, here is what I would summarize
When you work for a corporation or a company, the “security” of your job depends on the following factors
- The value you bring to the company.
- The cost the company has to bear to keep you.
In corporate environments, everything is termed as a “Cost”, which is why the term – CTC which essentially means “Cost to the company”. So the organization you work for, actually views you as a resource, a “Cost”. Just like the company pays its “office lease bill”, it pays you a salary. Both are “Bills” and we all hate paying “bills’ don’t we?
As you rise the corporate ladder, you gain lot of skills and experiences and your salary rises (if you are lucky). With salary rise, there is added responsibility and pressure to perform better and better. This is the corporate treadmill, where you will need to run, slog and sweat really hard to keep yourself in that organization. Yes, you earn a hefty paycheck but that comes with a lot of stress, added responsibilities, work pressure, stretched out routines and what not. Also, you no longer live with your parents or family. you have relocated to another city, your kids are admitted to a local school, you have rented out a flat in a posh location and your life is dependent on a single “hefty” paycheck.
The problem with being a “salaried employee” of a corporate company is
- It is not sustainable beyond a point.
- It traps you.
- It is not a business.
- There is very little you can do to improve your situation, changing jobs won’t help.
An Employment is An Unsustainable Model
Why it is not sustainable? Because the moment you start earning a good enough paycheck, it is difficult to find another job which pays more than that. A company pays a market wage for talent and it compares the salaries of similar workers in other companies to determine what is the best pay to hold someone in that position. It may give you a 10% or 20% pay hike a year but that’s just about it.
There is no guarantee that your pay will be revised every year. Heck, you may even lose the job when the market dwindles or your company loses business. With age, the chances of you being hired will reduce significantly, a time will come when no company will hire you at 40 or 45. It is a pyramidal structure and many people burn out working at a dead end corporate job.
Why do you think the majority of employees in a corporate environment are in their twenties and mid thirties? It is because beyond this age, the company does not want to keep an employee who has to be paid a higher salary than their younger counterparts. A company is always looking to achieve capital efficiency and wants young, energetic people who will work for a lesser pay to slog and hustle.
A Corporate Job Traps You
A Corporate job is mostly a well framed trap.
It makes you addicted to a steady paycheck and kills creativity. It makes you a “Process”, a “Tool” and you end up being used as a tool till the time they realize that they don’t need you anymore and you’re either thrown out or you die a slow, painful death.
You are trapped in the 9-5 routine, useless meetings, client calls, traffic jams, spreadsheets, reports and other things. You don’t create anything on your own but blindly follow something because you are told to do just that.
When you lose the job, you realize that you have nothing with you and you have to find another trap to survive. This will go on until you do something about it.
It is not a business
A job is a One to One transaction. You have only one customer – your boss or your employer. Your entire business depends on only one customer and one customer alone.
Imagine a business which has only one customer. Is it a good business? It is a poor business since it depends on only one customer and if that customer dies or goes elsewhere, the business is dead.
Only that business is good which has multiple customers of the same type so that if one customer goes away, it can be replaced with a new customer and the entire business is not suffering. From that perspective, a job is a huge disaster since it prohibits you from gaining new customers of the same type (another employer).
Being an Employee, there is little you can do to improve your situation
When you are salaried, you cannot increase your pay since it is not in your hands. The power lies with the management of the company.
You may work hard and do whatever it takes to get that pay raise or promotion but there is a good chance that it will never come. There is nothing you can do except for finding a new employer, which works the same way as every other company does. Show me an employee who has improved his business by 5 times in the last 3 years. That’s close to impossible. There are huge amounts of people looking for jobs and the company won’t take much time to replace you with someone cheaper if you ask for more money.
Also, you have to work continuously. You cannot take many leaves and your freedom is taken away.
How is an Online Business More Secured Than A Corporate Job
Now let’s come to the second part of the question
How is running an online business or freelance work more secured than a corporate job?
It is secured because the business you generate depends on “YOU” and not on anyone else. Yes there will be turbulence in the market and things will go up and down but at the end of the day, the business is in your hands. The switch is in your hands, not your boss’s hands.
Making Money Online is a Sustainable Business, Not a Job
The initial years will be very difficult but once you get pass that phase, you no longer have to worry about survival since your existing business will generate some cash, whether you work on it or not. It will continue to work even if you sleep or take a long vacation. This is unlike a job where you will lose your entire livelihood, if you take a break for couple of months.
The business will continue to roll once it has gained some momentum and if you structure it well, a time may come when the business will no longer need you for its operations. You can get the work done by appointing an editor and a team of writers and continue to reap a part of the revenue after your business makes profit.
Also, you can utilize the revenue that is generated from one business to start another business and play around in different niche markets. This is not at all possible in a job. Never.
Now you tell me – which one is secured? The Job or the business?
The Business does not trap you
When you start an online business, you are not trapped as you are when you do a job. You can continue to work on your site, do freelancing, take up different projects from clients and do part time jobs anywhere you want. No one is there to order you and control you all the time like your boss does, so the trap does not exist in the first place.
You can roam around and do what it takes, and not be tied to one fixed paycheck.
In some time, you can start multiple businesses and build different income streams so if one stream goes down, you can quickly fall back on others and diversify (exactly what I did when my other blog went for a toss).
Now you tell me – is this possible in a full time job? So which one is more secured? Which one is in your own hands? Which one can you control (to some extent)? Which one you can sell?
The Dark Sides of an Online Business Or Blogging
There are dark sides of everything and running an online media business is no exception.
Blogging or writing content can be a very lonely profession. You will not have the usual colleagues, the usual office, the commute and the day to day routine. You will be depressed sometimes, You will feel demotivated. You will want to quit. Your revenues will not grow. Your traffic will decline.
All these things are very natural and it happens with every other website or blog. Some recover while most don’t.
However, bear in mind that these ups and downs are temporary and if you keep working on the site, diversify the revenue streams, launch different monetization methods, it won’t be very difficult to swim with the tide. A content business is going to stay and it is upto you how you change the course of the business and how you adapt the business to changing market situations.
I am not saying a corporate career is not worth pursuing. But if you compare and contrast the pros and cons of a corporate career with respect to freelancing or being your own boss, there is so much to gain in the latter. You can spend your time how you want and be in control of your livelihood.
I do not think a corporate career has much prospects after a certain age, while the business which you create remains with you till the time you water it. The catch is that you have to be really passionate about your business and hustle to the point that it generates a steady source of income. If you achieve that, the upsides are far greater than a routine corporate job, which will become unsustainable beyond a certain age.