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Real Stories

Rewards and Challenges of Self-Employment

Materials Needed: "T chart"

The facilitator should begin this activity by asking the following questions:

  1. Has anyone ever considered starting his/her own business?
  2. Why could one say that there are trade-offs when you are self employed?

Distribute copies of the T chart to participants and direct them to label the columns "Rewards" and "Challenges." The group may wish to revisit the segment on Tim Bouchard (Chapter 6) from "Your Life, Your Money."

Participants should then fill in each column with as many ideas as possible concerning the challenges and rewards of self employment, for example Tim Bouchard says that it is rewarding to have "100% financial, creative and ethical control," but challenging to always have to "hustle" for new business. Large group discussion should follow with participants sharing ideas.

The facilitator should conclude this activity with the following questions:

  1. How might an individual's personality affect his/her willingness to start a business? (Note some people are risk takers and some are risk averse.)
  2. What are the key differences between self employment and working for an employer?
  3. What benefit alternatives are available for freelancers or independent contractors?
  4. Why might a self-employed person have a greater need for a certified financial planner?

This Activity can end here or continue on with a Self-Employment Interview

Materials Needed: Paper and envelopes or computer(s) with word processing software and internet access

Facilitator should begin with the following discussion questions:
If you were to own your own business, what type of business would that be? What are the things you need to know before you can begin to plan for this business?

Next, the facilitator should ask the participants to develop a list of eight to ten questions they think they would need to know in order to open this type of business. Participants can write out or type these questions into a word processing document and save them.

Once the list is complete, direct the participants to use the yellow pages or internet to find three businesses similar to the one they are thinking about opening. They will need to find the owners’ street or email address to mail them their lists of questions.

Be sure the participants explain to the business owners that they are in a financial literacy class and they are researching the idea of opening a similar business.

Facilitator Tip: Any kind words they can add in this regard may help their chances of getting a reply. This might become another discussion point.

Finally, if and when they receive all three responses back, the participants will need to summarize their three responses under each question they came up with.

Participants must also add their own comments containing their reactions to the responses they received.

Participants will present their findings to the entire class, as well as share the tech steps or process they employed to complete the project.