Welcome to Car Talk. This is not talking about cars, this is talking inside of a car. Today’s topic is about whether you have a business or whether you have a job. Now I’m not asking– this isn’t really about if you have a job or if you’re self-employed or anything like that. What this stems from is, the other day there was a guy I’ve known for a long time, a friend of my parents in my parents’ neighborhood, a handyman. Super talented, knows just about everything, is a text away to help with a furnace, with plumbing, to look at a roof leak, all this stuff. Pretty much everything is a text away. He does very good work, and we’ve used him now– this is the third house that we’ve had that we’ve used him on, and I thought about him. He was over the other day doing some work at the new house, and I was processing and thinking about what really constitutes a business. So he is self-employed and works for himself. He’s the master of his own destiny, as you call that stuff, but he is still essentially an hourly worker. And that made me think about a lot of stuff, because self-employed is not necessarily the same thing as having a business.

Because if you have to work to get paid, then that’s a certain slant on things because there’s a max amount of hours in the day, so you’re going to have a natural max to doing just that. Now, he probably makes a pretty good living for himself, and I can’t knock that, and he seems happy. He does good work. But if someone decides to be gone a week, or take a couple days off for a long weekend, or take a vacation, do you still get paid during that time? Me, I do, I’ve structured everything and I continue to structure it better and better to have the entire day-to-day run without my intervention, then I can just kind of guide the ship, so to say. So if I decide to take a week off for something, to go on a trip or vacation, I kind of get paid the same either way, which is good, which to me kind of is the distinction between a business and between a job. You look at a lot of people, say lawyers, say surgeons, doctors, kind of the top tier of employment, so to say. Every parent wants their daughter to marry a doctor or a lawyer. That’s super sexist and old-fashioned and all that stuff, but it’s one of those sayings, right? So that’s all good and well, but those people essentially are also just billing hours.

If you are a surgeon, you get paid per procedure. If you are a lawyer, you can bill hours. You can do all these things and yes, you can increase your fees, but if that’s all you do, you’re still essentially a slave to the clock. And unless you can either exit the business in some way, which many of those people maybe can. If you become a partner then sell off your partnership or something like that, that might be something you could do. But it’s not the same thing. If they decide to take off a week, they’re probably not going to get paid the same amount as if they were working for a week, just because of things that get billed. And that’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. So you’ve got to question, even if you are self-employed. Even if you are self-employed, how much is it a job and how much of it is a business? Because these things, they impact you in different ways, and I’m continually pushing more and more and more in my business, and yes, I do consider it a business because of that, to be able to have an exit.

Now if you are one of those people where it is your job, because there are a lot of things that are legit and full of talent and all these things that end up that way, then you might want to consider some other way to be able to supplement that income. Because yes, you could double your prices. Yes, you could 5x or 10x your prices, and maybe people will still pay. And if that’s the case, then maybe you can double your income and don’t even know it. And that’s fantastic for just about anybody. But maybe you can’t. Maybe the market won’t support you doubling your prices as a plumber, or as a artist, or as a photographer, or as a handyman. You might not be able to double your prices and keep as much business, and that’s just how it goes. So maybe look into something else, whether it’s some sort of consulting or branding. And that’s part of the reason where a personal brand thing comes into a big play, because if you push these things out there, you can then leverage that to other opportunities along the way, instead of strictly billing hours. So on this day today, on my son’s third birthday, February 21st, 2018, I do task you to think, if you are a self-employed individual, are you running a business, or are you working a job? Because if you can’t take a week off and get paid the same, you’re not running a business. Car Talk, Tyler Douthitt.