From: "Business Course I" by Gary North
Why are you not running your own business already? Of course, there have always been entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout all of history and in every society, but chances are, you are not one of them. (If you are: Congratulations!)
Therefore, it is necessary to frame this question with historical background.
Why even raise the question about "running your own business"? Because it is no longer a conventional lifestyle.
Only two generations ago my grandfather - along with 80% of the US population - ran his own business: a farm. He was his own boss, owned his own capital equipment, sourced labor (my uncles and hired hands), invested at the beginning of each year, and reaped the profits at the end of the year.
And it had always been that way in living memory.
The advantages of my grandfather's business (farm) include the following.
He was free to allocate business resources.
Rapid response to changing climates, such as the "extreme drought" of 1956. No need for approval from upper management or a Board of Directors.
No office politics.
Results achieved by self motivation. He applied his own ingenuity and creativity to solve problems. But he never had a passive "just punch the clock" attitude.
In short, my grandfather's "pay" (profits and leisure) was tied directly to his labor and applied intelligence.
How did running his own business guarantee employment for decades? Because he made business decisions in which profits exceeded losses, and saved the excess to ride through the rough patches.
Now contrast this with my father. By the time my father reached peak earning years - speaking in broad strokes - machinery and automation (and Big Ag subsidies) killed the family farm. My father was obliged to land a salary job. Fortunately for him, he got in on mainframe computers in the 1960s - albeit on the bottom, punching cards.
On my father’s salary job:
Time: He was not free to decide how to spend it.
Change: He had no influence on changing environments. Computers changed over the years, but decisions were made by upper management.
Office politics: standard operating procedure.
Motivation: self motivated or not, pay was the same.
My father's pay was fixed, regardless of how much wealth he created.
How did my father's "business" guarantee employment for decades? It worked out great for several decades at the state institution. "Nothing beats a steady paycheck." However, eventually technology changed too fast and he was forced into "early retirement." Fortunately, he had side gigs in operation to provide income.
The previous two generations may be considered "First Wave" and "Second Wave" as coined by Alvin Toffler in his book, "The Third Wave." Even to this day (2020), Second Wave industrial age structures are still dominant in many fields. However, Information Age dynamics are already in play and will prevail in the future.
The above review of the agricultural First Wave and the industrial Second Wave sets the background for today, and more importantly, the future.
Nothing is guaranteed. However, the above review shows that a regular paycheck is not the historical norm. In fact, a steady paycheck tends to divorce reward from wealth creation. You might even consider salary as a straightjacket of sorts.
On the farm, one realized immediate profit and loss. A salary paycheck provided a highly desirable steady budget, but not one tied to daily wealth creation.
Ironically, although the world is already changing faster every day, old school values still bear fruit.
First and foremost, how does one 'guarantee employment'? It was not long ago that a job for life was taken for granted. In my father's generation, one could expect to gain a job for the duration. One may not even consider the question of how to ‘guarantee employment.’
Now it is 2020. Millennials do not imagine lifetime employment. Worse, with the mandatory virus shutdowns in place around the globe, entry level positions are instantly erased at the keystroke of government mandate.
"Guaranteed employment" does not even enter the mind of many. So how to look out for "Number 1"? How do you guarantee your employment?
First, know thyself and know the world outside thyself. More importantly, know the trends that have been in place for decades. Extrapolate these trends for the next decade.
To understand the trends in place, see the "Business I" course by Gary North. Week 3 (Lessons 11-15) identify how life is changing. In fact, the change is accelerating. Implications are that automation and robotics are barreling forward. Automation will eliminate many jobs, yet create many others.
Looking out for Number 1, you must recognize this change. Extrapolating to the future, reconsider the past. With less job security and more responsibility, what’s old is new.
You can be free to decide how to spend your time.
You are free to allocate business resources.
You can respond to changing climates. No need for approval from upper management or a Board of Directors.
No office politics.
Self motivated to achieve results. You apply your own ingenuity and creativity to solve problems. You never have a passive "just punch the clock" attitude.
You can not know how to guarantee employment until you understand the environment in which you live. More importantly, you must anticipate how circumstances will change in the future.
Change is rapid. And change is accelerating.
Can your employment keep up with changes? If not, are you employable with your skill set should your job disappear?
The only way to answer these questions to your liking is to run your own business. You may decide to keep your “day job.” But start your side gig. Set a goal and date when income from the latter will exceed that of the former.
Once you are in business for yourself, you have a multitude of “bosses,” a.k.a. customers. No single “boss” can fire you. Choose your work. Choose your market. Serve customers properly and you have guaranteed your employment.
"Will you be the one who is left behind? Or will you be the one who masters the use of robotics ... to become more productive?" -Gary North