Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in freelancing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cody Szaro, Owner of Copy By Cody, located in San Antonio, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Freelance writing. A range of services falls under that umbrella, from proofreading to long-form content writing.
Tell us about yourself
I am primarily motivated by the goal of living a life dedicated to the things I love and not the things I need to do to keep the lights on. We are all prisoners of the capitalist system, and the bureaucratic and maddening nine-to-five lifestyle is an oppressive illusion forced upon us, the unwilling participants (so that we might access things like healthcare and society) by those who have never had to live it themselves.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My first article getting published in a small-time pop-culture site sent me to the moon. I'm proud of that one. Hell, as a person who struggles with mental illness, I'm proud every time I send out a well-formed pitch.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
When you're a W-2 employee, it's easy to blame problems and shortcomings on management. As a freelancer or business owner of a sole proprietorship, all failures come back to you. It takes the type of person who can look in the mirror some days and say, "Listen, you f***ed up. Cry for a minute, pick yourself up, and get back to work."
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If you don't have a financial safety net: don't. Failure is dangerous when you're poor. Work hard as an employee and save up money. Have strong savings, no debt, etc. Then consider striking out on your own. We may live in a democracy, but that is not reflected in our system of economics. The odds are stacked against you. Capitalism is all old money and dynastic wealth. It's designed to keep nobodies like us out.
- Network. The self-help books aren't going to help you. The masterclasses aren't going to help you. There are high-school dropouts making banks who started drop shipping businesses these days. What did they start with? Money and friends. There are no secrets in the digital age. Anybody claiming they have secrets to sell you that will put you ahead of the rest is just grifting.
- Don't look for tips in the upper echelons of wealth. You shouldn't be analyzing Bezos, Musk, and Gates for business advice. The vast majority of the world's wealthiest people were born wealthy or had absurd amounts of seed money for their projects. Bezos was a Princeton grad managing a hedge fund on Wall Street by the time he started Amazon. Musk inherited money from his parent's unethical South African emerald mine, and Gates was the child of prominent lawyers. Are you a working-class person who gets a little anxious every time you check your bank account? Remember, 10% of start-ups fail in the first year. 70% fail in years 2-5. Hope for the best, and be prepared for the worst.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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