What’s it like to be your own boss? Can you come in late, take vacation any time, hire other people to do the hard work?
Sorry, no. The truth is when you own a business, you probably work more hours than you did before – and work harder than anyone else in your company. At the same time, the rewards of self-employment can be great and as an owner, you will likely be doing the kind of work or producing the kind of work product that is meaningful to you.
What’s it like to work for yourself?
People who own their business wear a lot of hats. Usually the business starts out small, sometimes with no other employee than the owner. The owner works at a dream job, but may also be the bookkeeper, supply and inventory clerk, marketer and salesperson, receptionist, IT expert – and janitor. He or she is on their own to solve problems, develop new ideas, stay motivated and keep the business running. For some people, this is exactly what they want; for others this may sound overwhelming. (See Is self-employment right for you? in the Idaho Career Information System (CIS).)
More than half the private businesses in Idaho have fewer than 50 employees and 20 percent have fewer than 10.
Between 2012 and 2013, 119 private businesses with fewer than 10 employees were established in Idaho – more than any other business size. Those smallest businesses created 1,800 jobs. There were 109 new business with 20 to 49 employees established in the same year, adding 3,600 workers to their payrolls – 23 percent of the state’s total employment growth in 2013. Businesses with 500 to 999 workers expanded by 39, adding more than 3,400 jobs – an impressive 14.8 percent jump in a year’s time.
David Estrada, Ph.D. shakes hands with Idaho Department of Labor Director Ken Edmunds at a September 2014 Choose Idaho press conference.
David Estrada, Ph.D. was born and raised in Idaho. After leaving the state for some time, first for a career in the U.S. Navy, and again to pursue his master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering, Estrada ultimately decided Idaho was the right place to raise his family and continue his career.
“What drew me to come back to Idaho, other than the quality of life and family ties, was the chance to do quality research without sacrificing quality of life,” Estrada said.
According to Estrada, Boise State University has one of the fastest growing materials science and engineering programs in the nation. With the help of local industries and the State Board of Education, the Boise State University Department of Materials Science and Engineering recently started a Ph.D. program in materials science and engineering. This has attracted several new faculty who are some of the best in their field.
The Idaho Department of Labor’s new list of “Hot Jobs” details the occupations that pay the most, have the highest number of jobs and are projected to grow the most over the next eight years. The questions are: What companies are hiring people for these jobs? and Where are they located?
Idaho’s top 10 “Hot Jobs” include registered nurses, who have the highest level of employment; physician assistants, who are the fastest growing; and pharmacists, who have the highest median wage. These rankings signify the importance of health care in the growth of Idaho’s economy.
Click graphic to enlarge.
It has taken four years for the Idaho economy to approach the job levels it boasted before the worst recession in generations.
Total nonfarm jobs have been right around 100 percent of the monthly peak before the recession took hold in Idaho in 2008. Employers were also hiring at near their prerecession levels, but the activity has shifted among the industry sectors.
Amy’s Kitchen is bringing 200 jobs to Pocatello, taking over the Heinz plant that closed last summer and idled 400 workers. A specialty frozen food processor, Amy’s Kitchen expects to begin operations before year’s end and employ up to 1,000 people within several years.
Company officials were attracted to the Pocatello plant by an available workforce with food processing skills and access to crops which represent key ingredients in their product lines. Incentives from state and county government also played an important role in recruiting the company.
Based in Petaluma, California, Amy’s Kitchen produces 88 frozen meals from pizzas and pocket sandwiches to pot pies. It does not use chemical preservatives.
Manufacturing in Idaho and the rest of the United States has grown in the past four years as the economic recovery restored some of the jobs lost during the recession.
Employment in the industry plays a slightly larger role in Idaho’s economy than it does in the U.S. economy, especially in the north central and south central regions, which have seen the fastest manufacturing growth in recent years. The average Idaho worker earned $36,829 in 2013, while the average Idaho manufacturing worker earned $53,248. Manufacturers also tend to offer generous benefits packages including health insurance, paid leave and retirement. Many provide career ladders that help workers develop new skills and earn even more.