post written by: Marc Chernoff

4 Secrets of the Successfully
Self-Employed


Secrets of Self Employed

#1 – We Only Have 2 Products: Time and Knowledge

No matter how you make a living or who you think you work for, you only work for one person, yourself.  Likewise, you only have 2 products to sell, your time and your knowledge.  Here are a few example scenarios:

  • Migrant Farmer – Sells hours of his/her life to pick fruit or vegetables for a farmer in exchange for money.  A perfect example of trading hours for dollars.
  • Doctor – Sells hours of his/her life to perform medical treatments based on the knowledge stored in his/her brain.  A perfect example of trading hours and knowledge for dollars.
  • Best-Selling Author – Spends time crafting a book based on his/her knowledge or intellectual capacity and then sells the book (knowledge) many times over.  A perfect example of trading knowledge for dollars.  The key benefit here is residual, passive income.

In almost all cases of the self-employed, the small business owner is taking information out of his or her brain and spending the necessary time to convert it into a product of value.  This concept confuses some people, and to others it seems obvious.  The bottom line is that customers pay you for your time and knowledge.  Success is achieved by properly crafting the two into one convenient bundle that can be sold many times over (think of products vs. services).

What knowledge do you have in your brain that provides value to others?  How can you extract this information and sell it?

#2 – The Implementation of Knowledge is Power

Knowledge alone is not power!  The implementation of knowledge is power.  Knowledge is simply a commodity; it’s a product like any other that has the potential to be sold.  How knowledge is organized, packaged, presented, shared, and received by others is what makes knowledge so powerful.

Knowledge is useless unless it’s effectively shared with others.  Your ability to educate others in a way that allows them to effectively apply the instruction is what makes knowledge an asset… something worth buying.

#3 – Time is More Valuable than Money

One of the most important points to understand is the fact that there are two basic forms of currency, money and time.  Of the two, time is the most valuable, for it cannot be replenished.  A surplus of time, and the unfettered liberty to do with it as you choose, is the true measure of success.

Your time must be extracted from the formula of making money.  No matter how skilled you are at transferring your knowledge to others, if you are paid on an hours for dollars basis, your ability to expand your business will eventually plateau.  You will run out of time. 

The successfully self-employed have made this realization and concentrate the majority of their time and effort on the single greatest secret of self-employment: generating passive income.  Passive income is achieved by applying what you know into a package that can be designed and built once, and then repeatedly sold over and over again.  Finding a unique way to promote and sell this knowlege is the key.

Passive Income Examples: Useful books and guides, time saving computer applications, etc.

#4 – Success is About Knowing What You Want

Self-employed success is not the byproduct of working your way up from the ground up.  It’s based on knowing what you want, understanding your abilities and implementing them diligently to achieve your goals.  There are plenty of people who get laid-off from their 9 to 5 day job and end up making millions in a few short years of self-employment.

Take a look at some of the success stories around you that emerged from nowhere.  These success stories were not initiated by people paying their dues to someone else’s initiatives.  These success stories revolve strictly around perception and choice.  The people in these stories know their capabilities, what they’re doing, and what they want.  Once people make this realization, and the conscious choice to act on it, the possibilities for success are limitless.
Photo by: TeeJe

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30 Comments

  • Everytime I read something regarding success and business and money and that kind of stuff I feel bad… I think I’m scared of growing up and being responsible, that’s due to the fear of failing at life and ending up as a poor lonely loser with a crappy job or something.

  • Joe, it’s important to remember that in life you can only connect the dots going backwards, not forwards. As you settle into adulthood you will discover new personal interests and passions. Pursuing these passions is the key.

  • Inspiring post and comments. Bookmarked.

    Would add that even if you can avoid paying “dues to someone else’s initiatives” and working on your own, everyone ends up paying dues in one form or another. Anything worth creating — a book, a brand or a business– is hard work.

  • I would add “Love what you do” as a self-employed person, you are on your own clock, if you do what you love, you do not feel like you are working too hard. I had a conversation with a friend today about self-employment, having been self-employed for many years now I realize you never turn off, you are working 24/7, doing what you love is the only way you can avoid total burn out.

    Thanks for sharing,

    -Tabs

  • I like the way you expressed the most important aspects without getting tempted to cover too much. Very clear. Very helpful.

    Cheers,
    John

  • […] Spirit           4 Secrets of the Successfully Self-Employed 6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them- PART […]

  • Joe, this is why most people are stuck were they are. It is only by taking the plunge that you learn and succeed. The key is if you fail, stand up and learn and try it again.
    Many successful entrepeneurs were bankrupt before they were successful. I have read “Losing My Virginity” by Richard Branson a while ago and found it very inspirational. He hit rock bottom on his way up and many people would have quit. He didn’t and look where he is now!

  • A rich man once pronounced to me, all that wealth buys you is space and time. As I get older, I reflect that perhaps a life can be structured to give you both, without needed the wealth? I appreciate your cogent comments on an issue we all struggle to maintain a good balance with. G.

  • […] 29, 2008 by renjie Marc and Angel over at Marc and Angel Hack Life have some very simple, yet powerful thoughts to share on the secrets of people who are […]

  • Good advice, I’m paying someone else’s dues for now, but moonlighting on my own projects until I get up enough steam and momentum to set sail on my own. I just started a blog of my own as an account of my time management, hurdles and lessons learned.

  • right down my alley. I especially like #2 and #3. We’re now in the information age and our ability to learn and implement new knowledge is what will separate us from the pack.

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  • […] 4 Secrets of the Successfully Self-Employed. I like to think of myself as part time/full time. While I work full time to pay the bills, Frugal Dad has become my part time venture. Many of the “secrets” in this article apply to any entrepreneur. […]

  • This is such an important topic, and I think you covered the 4 secrets especially well. I recently wrote about the need to add some form of self-employment to your life at my blog. Thanks for a great article!

  • Provocative points - I like! Comments:

    #1 – We Only Have 2 Products: Time and Knowledge

    Well, if you charge for the former, you’re limiting yourself significantly and commoditizing your work. Bad idea. Read Alan Weiss’s “Value-based fees”.

    #2 – The Implementation of Knowledge is Power

    I think we agree on this, so maybe it’s the word “Implementation”. What is “power?” Top-of-the-head: The ability to influence how the world works. What is knowledge? Information that can be applied to the world. So to turn knowledge into power is to use it influence the world, i.e., to change yourself, others, or the world itself… Good one.

    #3 – Time is More Valuable than Money

    I agree, though you can’t eat time.

    > A surplus of time … is the true measure of success.

    So going to prison must be something to celebrate!

    #4 – Success is About Knowing What You Want

    Know + Achieve = Success ?

  • […] 4 secrets of the successfully self employed @ Marc and Angel Hack Life. Marc made a very important point, no matter who your employer is, no matter who signs your paycheck, you work for YOURSELF and you have only two products: time and knowledge. Great post. […]

  • I must say, #3 hit the nail on the head. Time is definitely more important than money. This took me awhile to understand. Someone once told me when I was back in the mortgage business, ‘This business is all about the deals you walk away from, not the ones you get.”

    I think that makes sense in any business today. Now that I run a New Media Production Company, I see this more than ever. Taking on a site during hard times below our normal price is not acceptable anymore. The reason is, we will still spend the time to do the best possible work regardless of the price, so it would be a waste of time if we were not paid as such. Instead of taking the underpaying job, we learned it’s better to pass and find the next available work.

  • When we know what we want we can go after it. That’s the key to a successful career. Sometimes we procrastinate because we are afraid to sink our teeth into a project for fear that it’s not worth our time.

    “Know thyself” is more important than anything else to kick butt and get stuff done. If we just piddle around we won’t accomplish anything.

  • @Matthew: Thanks for the book recommendation. I just put it on my list. ;-)

    @Karl: Know thyself… I couldn’t agree more.

  • Usually I am not that impressed by alot of the blogs I read these days, but this is an exceptionally clear example of a great post that has some very important information that everyone should know. I thank you for taking the time and using your knowledge to write this very usefull post. I will definately be checking out your other posts because of it. Keep up the good work.

  • great site!

  • Wow! What a great website — so glad I found it. I will be sure to share it with family & friends.

    These 4 Secrets are exactly what I have been mulling over in my mind. I decided to go back to school, finish a degree, but I am torn as to what I want to do with this degree, if anything. I’ve been afraid to do what I really want. But this article just made me realize, “This is it”. I have worked for some of the biggest jerks, male and female, with low ethical standards for years. I’m sick of using my knowledge and my personality for their businesses. I met an Industrial-Organizational psychologist on a plane one day and I asked him to help me with my employer at the time. After describing my boss, the psychologist smiled and said, “One word: threatened”. I was bewildered…how could this spoiled trust fund baby be threatened by me? And it all started to sink in. The psychologist answered, “He is threatened by you because you are everything he is not but wants to be”. What a compliment! I quit my job a few months later — my boss was screaming at me — and I felt an enormous weight taken off my shoulders. I am happy to report that his business failed less than 90 days later!!! Justice! But, seriously, I have learned so much from your website in 30 minutes. I have the courage to do what I want, for myself, and for no one else. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  • I really think this greatly displays just how we can motivate ourselves into a brighter future. Your thoughts on this subject, really impressed me - I feel enriched - Thank you so very much!

  • Great tips. Clear and to the point. Thanks for sharing.

  • I just ran across this site and onto this great post. I haven’t read much on traits and habits that successful people have, but I think one thing to add to this list (and make it 5) is how successful people collect knowledge. For me, it has to do more with a mind-set and lifestyle, and I think this is applicable to everything in life…similar to going on a diet versus living healthy. It’s about having a general curiosity to everything, about being open to everything, and about reflection to digest it all. I’m sure there is probably more and hopefully you can add to this.

  • What knowledge do you have in your brain that provides value to others?
    How can you extract this information and sell it?

    all started with these simple questions.

  • stick with your hobby, that will work …

  • Great advice, reminds me of ‘Think and grow rich’ by Napoleon Hill which, I believe was the very first motivational publication. thank you.

  • Great stuff right there, and as a person who is self-employed, I can relate in many ways. Thanks for sharing this info!

  • Thanks for all the wonderful articles.

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