The Self Employment Telesummit

My friend, business coach Molly Gordon who describes herself as: citizen of the Universe, gardener, cyclist, knitter, paddleboarder, grandma, chief assistant to Bolivia the Wonder Cat, wife of The Charming Prince is stopping by this blog as part of her tour to talk about her upcoming Self Employment Telesummit happening September 10th - 18th.

If you have any questions, thoughts, comments or feedback on being self employed (or on Molly's answers to the questions I asked her) please leave your comments below!

Coach Deb: What inspired you to create this program?

Molly: I woke up on New Year's Day 2009 thinking about the year ahead. I realized that this could be a make-or-break year for people who work for themselves. Many who may have been depending on the income of a spouse or significant other would find themselves needing to bring in substantially more revenue due to job loss or cutbacks. Others would find themselves self-employed for the first time.

I wanted to do something that would provide a broad spectrum of support for self employed people. I also wanted to create a haven of sorts, a network of support so that, after the telesummit, participants would feel they knew where they could turn for additional help.

Coach Deb: Why do you think self-employed people have so much trouble with setting fees for their work? Is it a lack of self worth?

Molly: I'm reluctant to attribute the issues we have with setting fees to lack of self-worth. I feel that too easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. "I don't charge enough therefore I must not value myself therefore I'll never make enough money." Ugh!

I think the problems around setting fees are as much cultural as they are personal. We have two cultural understandings regarding money that create a nasty double-bind for the self-employed person. The first understanding is that we don't pay for what we get from family and friends. If you turned to your mom after a great Thanksgiving meal and said, "Wow. That was tremendous. What do we owe you?" everyone would be appalled.

On the other hand, we are taught from the time we are small that it's not safe to accept money or gifts from strangers. So it's not nice to take money from friends and it's not safe to take money from strangers. That leaves precious little scope for us.

In addition, those in the helping professions may feel conflicted about charging to help someone. The impulse to help and the impulse to profit are two different animals, and without conscious thought and reflection, it's no wonder we get hung up on charging for our services.

There are concerns with have and have-nots. In the US, at least, we have a strong undercurrent of egalitarianism, an assumption that it's not nice to have more or want more than they next person.

Finally, there are all the lessons we absorbed from parents and others who tried to protect us from the barrage of mass media. We're taught that advertisers are after our money, that marketers want to manipulate our feelings. We learn at a young age that people who are selling are not to be trusted.

With all of these messages, one can have excellent self-esteem and still have issues around setting fees.

Coach Deb: Why do you think business books don't address the deeper issues around being self employed?

Molly: Self-employment is fundamentally different from owning a business. Most business authors and publishers don't recognize this.

If you go to work for yourself because you love the work you do and want the independence and flexibility of being your own boss, you are doing something entirely different from the person who starts even a tiny enterprise for the purposes of making a profit.
There's nothing wrong with profit, by the way, it's just that the typical self-employed professional is after something else. Self-employment is far more personal and immediate than starting a business.

Even if you are a solopreneur, when you start a business you think in terms of an organizational structure. You are, to a certain extent, insulated from personal concerns because you think as a business owner. The self-employed professional thinks in terms of his or her profession. The artist thinks as an artist, not as a business owner. So, too, with the massage therapist or the life coach.

This direct, more personal involvement means that self-employment is a crucible for inner work. Whatever issues you have to work on will show up early and often when you are self-employed. In conventional business contexts, the construct of "the business" insulates the entrepreneur from his or her "stuff." That's not available to the Accidental Entrepreneur, who sees him- or herself as closely allied with the business.

Coach Deb: How important is it for a self-employed person to be authentic? Why does it matter so much?

Molly: Authenticity is essential for the self-employed person. Without it, we have no ground, no center.

If you'd love to find out more about The Self Employment Telesummit, you can still sign up for the free preview calls and download them to listen later.

Go to get access to the page until 5pm (Pacific) on Monday, September 7.

I've listened to a few of these calls and they are
quite good. Presenters include:

Disarming the 3 Enemies of Inspired Office

* Sean D'Souza (It's a bird! It's a
plane! It's Sean D'Souza!)

Social Networking: 4 Remarkable Strategies to Grow
Your Business, Expand Your Referral Network, and
Increase Your Visibility

* Pam Slim (Escape from Cubicle Nation)

* Erin Ferree (The Top 5 Avoidable Start-Up
Brand Design Accidents)

(Journeys of Marketing… why smart, effective
marketing tactics fail, and what's missing.)

* Molly Gordon (How to Get Out of Your Own Way: 3
Keys to Surviving Your Boss’s Mood Swings When
You’re Self Employed)

* Isabel Parlett and Molly Gordon (The Inner and Outer Power of

Let me know what you think of the calls!

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