Free vs Paid

One of the "issues to ponder" many people face when they begin to think about working from home is the issue of being an entrepreneur. The scary choice is that of "working for free" because no external person is going to pay you vs working for another person and being paid for you time / output no matter what. This is a challenging hurdle for many people to cross, especially people who have been trained in a work-for-others atmosphere.

If you have been raised to think of a career as going to McDonalds at 8am, punching in your 8 hours, and going home again, and that's it, it can be very challenging to think about an entrepreneur's approach to a career. When you are an entrepreneur you invest time in yourself. You focus on training yourself in skills, in surrounding yourself with people who can mentor and coach you on growth, and you build up your inventory of knowledge and "personal equity" over time. The reward comes when you start applying those skills and that equity in ways you personally choose. So instead of getting small amounts of money in a flat rate way, as you would from a McDonald's job, you invest for a long term "snowball growth" return because, as an entrepreneur, you get ALL the returns on your investment. You are building your own personal brand and reputation. You carry your skills, reputation, and customer base with you wherever you go.

So let's put this into more direct terms with an example. Let's say you are a web writer and you adore parakeets so you want to write about parakeets. You could find a website out there that pays you per article to write about parakeets. Typically in this situation they get all rights to what you have written. You do not have any additional ways to make income on that article through affiliate links or other avenues. The articles are being branded and promoted with the parakeet content, not you. The for-pay website is not providing training or mentoring in this process - you are simply a "content creator" that they are using to reach their own goals. Since you are giving away your rights, each time you create an article that is "lost effort". Your personal equity base is not being built. Your skill set is not growing (or growing only slightly). Your income level is only seeing a flat, incremental change.

Now let's say that instead you find a place to write your parakeet content where you keep all rights to your content. That ownership is an *incredible* equity creator. You are now no longer a work-for-hire drone. You are now a web entrepreneur who is building a library of content which is your personal equity in your own brand. You can make a book out of these articles! You can create video podcasts! You can do whatever you want because the content is yours. Your long term opportunities are literally limitless.

Second, this type of location (whether on your own website or on a hosted one) typically allows you to include your own affiliate links. You want to be cautious here - two maximum is a good industry standard. You want to be regarded as a trusted content provider, not an ad spammer. If you choose wisely, you can make a good amount of money with those links, as long as they are related to your chosen topic. The links need to be seen as quality recommendations, not as spammy ads. So if you are writing about parakeet food for example you would link to your favorite two parakeet food options. Your readers will trust you and click.

Next, make sure the environment you choose has training and mentoring available. Again as a web entrepreneur a key part of your career is in your personal growth and knowledge. You want to be supported in your dreams, encouraged in your goals, and provided with the step by step training and nurturing to allow you to reach your next step. You should *always* be learning and growing every month. This is a key part to thriving.

Finally, you must of course want to succeed. You are the master of your own destiny.

It is this last point that challenges many people who are looking to become entrepreneurs. There are some people who have lost their "fire" in life and who simply want to slug in a work-for-someone-else job, clock in their tasks they've been told to do, and head home again. If you are a person who has lost all drive in life, then it's important to address that first. Find a minister, counselor, doctor, or someone else to talk with. If you are currently "phoning in your life" then you will have great challenges being a web entrepreneur. There will be no external force telling you to get that work done. There will be nobody else yelling at you if you run late. It is just you and your goals. You need to get that drive back in your life.

But if you ARE someone who wants to succeed, who wants to thrive, who wants to learn and grow and create the most powerful asset there possibly is - YOU and your output - then being a web entrepreneur can lead to incredible success, long term growth, and satisfaction. You will be doing what YOU want to do, you will be mapping out YOUR own path in life based on your own priorities, and the fruits of your labor will all go to YOU.

Clearly I'm biased in favor of the entrepreneur lifestyle vs the work-for-someone-else lifestyle. However I also understand that this is a decision we each need to make for ourselves, based on the level of drive we have, and the level of interest we have in steering our own course in life. For example a very stressed single mother of four might have all her brain cells fried each day just helping her kids stay on track. She might relish the "structured order" of walking in to a McDonalds, standing at a counter for 8 hours, and walking home again. She might be very willing to give up large amounts of money in return for the low stress, low risk, and predictability of that job. A web writer might crave the safety of a pay-per-article environment, even though she gives up all rights to the content and is not building up her personal equity. She might be in a stage of her life where the short-term of-the-moment safety is more important than the long term growth and equity building.

Sit down with a journal for a week, ponder this issue in your own life, and make your own decision!

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