Self-employment allows you to chase the dream. The “new” boss may not fire you but will work you harder and longer than you ever imagined.

The IRS defines self-employed people as freelancers and independent contractors, small-business owners and partners — anyone who earns income from the operation of a business.

Self-employment in Arizona has improved in the last decade, and female entrepreneurs fared best compared with other demographic groups. In Arizona, 79.5 percent of the businesses are one-person operations; that’s close to 400,000 self-employed Arizonans.

There are many reasons to be self-employed: flexible hours, creative work, potential to make more money and the chance to do something you love.

More baby boomers are becoming self-employed. Whether it’s because retirement is a bore, or to build up a nest egg that shrank after the stock market meltdown, or because after being downsized they experienced age discrimination and could not find a job, older Americans are increasingly joining the ranks of the self-employed.

Following the dream can be great, but sometimes it can keep you up at night. Being self-employed also means you face the constant need to find new clients, keep the books, pay bills and taxes, meet payroll, keep up a website and social media and all of those other tasks of running a small business.

Besides and, columnist and author Steve Strauss runs a great website at and posts informative articles daily to help you decide if self-employment is right for you.

Diane Diamond is the vice president of media relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit group that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment at several locations. For more information, go to, send email to or call 505-3636.