Of the many benefits found in working for myself, most vital is the knowledge that I never again have to put my name on something I don’t believe in.
If I decide to endorse the inadequate, apply my talents and time to trite trivialities, or shape the sub-par, it’s because I decided to do so. No one made me do it. My financial security was not held hostage; my hand unforced.
I have the opportunity to shape my own creative destiny, absolutely and unflinchingly. I have the ability to build the things I think should be built, and can leave the low-hanging fruit in the trees.
I need never again feel ashamed of something I’ve produced. I’ll get better with time, and I’ll look back on my older creations from the elevated position of a more experienced professional, but I won’t be regretful. I’ll know it was the best I could do at the time, and be proud I’ve been able to render my own good work obsolete. With my own better work.
The best thing about working for myself is that my work is mine, and I bear the responsibility for whatever that means. I have no one to blame when things go awry, but in exchange I can hurl myself recklessly into the creative process, confident my ideas won’t be altered and my hand won’t be hindered by the wary words or hesitant hangups of others.
For someone who can’t not create, complete control over the design, implementation, and consequences of one’s work is more valuable than anything else in the world.
Update: April 13, 2017
In the past, I’d sometimes resent employers who didn’t know my work as well as I did but who still had veto power over the design choices I made. There’s a lot to be said on that topic that I won’t get into here, but that propensity, to want to do good work damn the consequences, makes the downsides of working for oneself seem like nothing at all. Trade-offs worth the benefits.