After an out-of-town seminar trip, I found myself on an airport shuttle with a young man who asked me where I’d been and what I had been doing on my trip.
When I briefly explained that I taught seminars on creative self-employment, he said, “I’d like to work for myself, but my company gives me great benefits.”
Apparently I was feeling a bit sassy that morning. ”My company gives me great benefits, too,” I smiled. “In fact, my business sends me to Europe whenever I want to go.”
What kind of benefits do you get from your company? My self-employed friends would list things like not having to drive in commuter traffic, being able to work in an office with a well-stocked kitchen nearby or having their cat in their lap as they work. But there’s no need to stop there.
One of the overlooked rewards of working for yourself is the opportunity to create the kinds of benefits that you truly desire. In addition to the ordinary things like health insurance and time off, here are five more perks worth considering.
* A massage therapist who makes housecalls. Having your massage at home eliminates the stress of driving when it’s over and saves your time, too.
A friend of mine, has her massage therapist come late in the evening so she can go straight to bed for a night of extra sound sleep. Besides that, it’s a little luxury to have your own in-home therapist.
* A medical savings account. Although they’ve been around for a while, HSAs haven’t been particularly well-publicized.
Essentially, an HSA allows you to put money into a special account to pay out of pocket medical expenses. This money is not taxed, however, and can rollover. Ask your insurance provider if they can help you establish such an account.
* A techie friend who knows more than you do. Actually, I have a team of such friends who patiently coax me into learning new things or answer my questions when I’m stumped.
On the afternoon when I thought I had erased everything in my hard drive, one of them dropped everything and came to my home office to restore order. Everyone needs such a willing friend.
* An accountant who understands small business. It might seem sexy to hire a large accounting firm, but don’t do it if you’re a one-person business.
People trained to handle corporate affairs won’t understand what you’re up to. Instead find an accountant who works from home or from a very small office—one who is self-employed.
* A diary and a photo album. Journals are great for exploring thoughts and ideas, but a diary is a factual running record of your life.
If you can find an old-fashioned 5-year diary and write in it faithfully, you’ll have an on-going account of your growth. It’s also fun to look back at the same date a year or two ago and see what you were doing.
Likewise, a photo album that chronicles your entrepreneurial life will become a treasured reminder of how far you’ve come.