Hi everyone, I am so honored to be able to be a part of this Connect community. My husband, Steve, and I have been blessed with Ravi’s teachings for almost 20 years now via radio, podcasts and books. I am so thankful for this forum and am anxious to share some questions I have about what seems to be a growing trend in the self-employment world. Looking forward to thoughtful, and Biblical, dialogue!
Welcome, @Leslie_Eyton! We’re glad you’ve joined us here on Connect. We pray that this community will encourage and strengthen you on your journey of faith in our Saviour!
Thankful for you being here, @Leslie_Eyton! Welcome to Connect. We’re looking forward to to hearing those questions you have as well as hearing your unique insights. God bless you, sister. Thank you for being a part of this RZIM Connect community.
Hi @Leslie_Eyton, my name is Tabitha and I have been part of this community for a few months and I have enjoyed talking to so many different people about many different things, and I love Ravi’s teachings. Welcome!
Are you self-employed?
I can see a growing trend of self-employment in the world today. I worked off and on for about 10 years as a self-taught web designer/graphics artist and loved it until my husband pointed out that it was more of a glorified hobby instead of a good paying gig, so I had to look for work with a well established company that could afford to pay its employees . ( I kept giving too much work away because mostly the clients I worked with were non-profits or self-employed themselves.)
I would venture to say that during Biblical times and definitely before the industrial revolution, most of the world was self-employed and definitely more self-sustaining. Today there are many good reasons to be self-employed. But on the other hand this reminds me of something I just read in one of Ravi’s books called: “Why Jesus”. Ravi wrote:
“I was pondering the other day how much in our lives has to do with boxes: We give gifts in boxes, we buy our food in boxes, we drive in boxes, we live in boxes, and we ultimately leave this world in a box.”
(Of course he went on to contrast these boundaries with the lack of boundaries that are in spirituality and reason. (p13 last paragraph) )
But I believe it’s easier to pull away and “box” ourselves in our homes sometimes causing us to drift apart as communities. But on the bright side, you can wear your p.j.'s to work if your work doesn’t involve meeting with clients
Do you feel like this trend of being self-employed is a form of cocooning or is it mostly parents who want to spend more time with their family?
Yes, at present I am self-employed, and I have been off-and-on for many years. I guess I’m what’s called a “serial entrepreneur.”
I also have worked for many a “well established company that could afford to pay its employees,” sometimes concurrent with the self-employment, sometimes not.
In neither situation, though, did I lock myself away, because I wanted to be successful. For that, I, and my husband (we ran an IT support business together for five years, and a custom leathercraft business prior to that for over six years), needed to actively engage with and be a part of our communities. We participated in Chamber of Commerce activities and volunteered our time in others.
That said, the business we are now building requires a different style of networking, in a new kind of community. While totally online and conducive to what our kids call “after-jammas,” I still like to dress a little better than that to reinforce the notion that I am, in fact, working…well, that’s my daily goal, anyway. Sometimes the after-jammas win the day.
I used to build websites and help with online marketing strategies for SMBs, too. And, like you, they tended to be faith-based and non-profits, although I also had a good number of for-profits, too. They all were very rewarding, and I really enjoyed the work. It was a respectable contribution to our income, but we certainly couldn’t live on it…enter that “well established company.”
And, I’m really enjoying what we’re working on now, but it still requires a great deal of interaction with others, so cocooning in this case is somewhat of a myth. The best part is that I can set my own hours, which is why online work definitely supports family time.
So, to summarize, being self-employed means regaining that self-determination that our ancestors had, whether or not it was easy for them. It means setting your own limits, your own schedule (for family time, recreation, service to others), your own goals, even your own “office policies.” It also means you are solely responsible for the results and their effects.
Awesome question, Tabitha! Thank you!
Thank you so much! I am really looking forward to being a part of this community.
@Leslie_Eyton, Wow, you seem to be a “seasoned” entrepreneur and it’s impressive that you and your husband ran an IT support business together. I think it’s great you were involved with your Chamber of Commerce, and even better that your job requires a great deal of interaction with others. I can remember building quite a few sites for people that I never met in person, and even a few I never even talked on the phone with, but only communicated via e-mail.
I was never really disciplined very well, and even bartered for some sessions with a life coach for a while to try to achieve my goals. Looking back, I was definitely not in the will of God because I was not being a good steward of my time. I was becoming very prideful and felt I had to always impress my clients. I would complete a site in record time by working non-stop until the job was complete. My family suffered and so did my health.
I commend you for being a good steward over all that God has given you, and wish you all the best with your endeavors and family. See you around the RZIM Community
You give me too much credit for being a good steward, but thank you for the encouragement!
I am finding that I also am battling pride. I have done, and still do, the exact same thing as you did when working on a project.
It becomes my banner to wave in front of others, declaring my value through accomplishment, then I deceive myself into thinking I am somehow bringing Him glory.
I am still needing to learn to simply be, then do. To trust in His love and provision. To focus on His blessings, what He has given, rather than on that which I felt was taken or lost.
“Be still, and know that I AM God.”
Blessings. I look forward to reading more about your journey here.