The Challenge of Self-Employment

 I have been engaged in reflection and reading on Right Livelihood. Generally speaking, we consider right livelihood in terms of its ethical significant – we work without causing suffering to others. We also need to consider work in terms of the relationship to intention, action and result. Many dharma friends are self-employed – yoga /dharma teachers, carpenters, therapists, mind/body workers, web designers, gardeners, plumbers, writers, electricians, masseurs and so on.

Quite a few are struggling financially. There are a whole variety of supportive conditions need to get well established in self-employment. I know from my own experience. The tax offices here in the UK classify me as self-employed. I would prefer to be classified as non-self employed but Inland Revenue probably doesn’t have such a class of workers. A pity.


I have taken lots of notes, spoken to lots of people and read some books on self-employment, networking, managing resources and leadership. One business leader told he could guarantee to increase my annual income sixfold if I followed his advice. “You are a leader in your field. You have written numerous books. Through speaking and offering workshops to major companies and some media exposure, you could achieve a much higher profile.”

Heaven forbid!

There are many practical steps that an individual can take to develop contacts, clients and establish a valuable network so that we can offer our services and goods and pay the bills without being madly ambitious or naively self-effacing. The Sangha also needs to support each other in these areas as well.


There is a wealth of skills and wisdom in the Sangha but needs to be shared more often. In a struggle to get established in work, we easily slip into one of two views. 1. I am not good enough. 2. There are too many people in my area doing the same thing. Both views are a trap. In fact, the self and other is always the trap for views. We have to rise above this depressing attitude.

Some hesitate to promote their service or product. “What is meant to is meant to be.” Oh not it’s not.. That view of what is meant to be easily follows up later with the view “oh that is not meant to be.”


If we have a worthwhile service or goods to offer, then we need to express trust in it, not blame ourselves or others if it is a bit of a struggle, and be creative in our approach.

This blog serves as a small vehicle for communicating the Dharma. It might even serve as a small reminder to join one of my retreats or dharma gatherings. I hope it does.

In October , 2008 in Totnes and Brighton, England, I am giving a one day workshop. Title is ‘Making Ends Meet. The Challenge of Right Livelihood. Information on

See you there! You might leave the workshop both inspired and informed to develop your livelihood.

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