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Business for Bohemians

Live Well, Make Money

By Tom Hodgkinson
15-minute read
Audio available
Business for Bohemians by Tom Hodgkinson

Business for Bohemians (2016) provides creative, free-spirited individualists with an alternative path to making a living. Combining practical advice, philosophical reflections, and autobiographical anecdotes, it shows that you can enter the world of business without sacrificing your bohemian values. 

  • Bohemians who want to start a business
  • Businesspeople who have a creative side  
  • Anyone who wants to escape the rat race

Tom Hodgkinson is the founder and editor of the Idler magazine. He is the bestselling author of How to Be Idle, How to Be Free, Brave Old World, and The Idle Parent. Along with his partner, he is also the founder of the Idler Academy of Philosophy, Husbandry and Merriment, which offers online and offline courses in a wide range of subjects – from business to philosophy. 

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Business for Bohemians

Live Well, Make Money

By Tom Hodgkinson
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Business for Bohemians by Tom Hodgkinson
Synopsis

Business for Bohemians (2016) provides creative, free-spirited individualists with an alternative path to making a living. Combining practical advice, philosophical reflections, and autobiographical anecdotes, it shows that you can enter the world of business without sacrificing your bohemian values. 

Key idea 1 of 9

Compared to a job, going into business provides bohemians with a better way of maintaining freedom in their work lives. 

Let’s be honest: if we could live in our ideal version of reality, most of us bohemians wouldn’t be drawn to the world of business. We want to spend our time pursuing creative projects, listening to music, drinking wine, discussing philosophy, and strolling through the countryside. We don’t want to be sitting in an office, filling out spreadsheets, and talking about gross profit margins. 

More than anything, we want freedom – freedom to live “the good life.” But unless we’re born into wealth, we have to make money somehow to pay our bills, let alone have the time and resources to pursue our passions. And that leaves us with two basic options: get a job, or go into business.

The key message here is: Compared to a job, going into business provides bohemians with a better way of maintaining freedom in their work lives. 

Let’s start with the first option. Getting a job means submitting yourself to the authority of someone else – often a giant corporation. There’s a reason they call it “wage slavery,” and it’s not just low-paid workers who suffer from it. Even if your salary is high, your labor still belongs to your employer. No wonder there are so many miserable bankers and lawyers out there. Yes, they make boatloads of money – but they have to sacrifice most of their waking hours to working for someone else. The result is basically just a form of luxurious servitude. 

The alternative is to work for yourself – and that means going into business, whether as a freelancer, sole proprietor, small business owner, or entrepreneur. This way, you get to decide what you do and how you do it. What’s your product or service? When and where do you work? Who do you work with? You get to answer these questions for yourself. 

And that means you get to blaze your own path while marching to the beat of your own drum. Is there something bourgeois about going into business? Sure – but there’s also something anarchistic, even revolutionary, about it. You’re doing your own thing, not someone else’s. You’re taking your life into your own hands, rather than giving it away to a corporate master. You’re creating something new in the world, rather than following a career path that’s already been laid out for you. 

In short, you’re no longer just yearning for that freedom you crave as a bohemian. You’re seizing it for yourself. 

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