Being your own boss

Who’s the boss?

Last week, one of my favorite writing blogs, Writing Come Hell or High Water, posted a piece called The Myth of Being Your Own Boss.

In it, we are regretfully informed that thinking going into freelance writing affords us the luxury of being our own boss is a delusion.

“You are always working with, or for, a client. And sometimes you may stretch out to work with other writers, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, whatever the project requires. You may even find yourself inundated with work and hiring on writers to work for you. True, now you’re their boss in a sense, but the ultimate success of the project depends on you working well with them. Not to mention that you can set any rates you want, but you need to find someone willing to pay them.”

While we should certainly take these points into account as freelancers, I would argue that, if this holds true for us, it’s got to hold true for everyone.

Imagine you own a restaurant. The clients you are working with or for are your patrons. Sometimes you will stretch out to work with other restaurant owners, chefs, waiters and waitresses, whatever the project requires. You may find yourself inundated with work and hiring an assistant, restaurant manager, and extra restaurant staff to work for you. True, now you’re their boss in a sense, but the ultimate success of the restaurant depends on you working well with them. Not to mention that you can charge whatever you like, but you need to have the people willing to pay the prices.

Maybe you’re the CEO of a big company. You are working with and for the clients who buy your product. Sometimes you will stretch out to work with marketing directors, manufacturers, developers, HR personnel, whatever the project  requires. You may find yourself inundated with work and hiring a personal assistant, a secretary, and other office staff to work for you. True, now you’re their boss in a sense, but the ultimate success of the company depends on you working well with them. Not to mention you can set any rates you want for your product(s), but you need to have people willing to pay them.

It is a valid point that as a freelancer you are a slave to your clients. But that holds for any top position in any field imaginable. “The customer is king,” and all that.

When looked at this way, there is no such thing as being your own boss. In each instance the boss is always the client.

So the myth of being your own boss is busted. Not only for freelance writers, but in any business situation.

Are you ever really your own boss? Do you think this is an issue just for freelancers or across the board?

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