The Cost of Self-Employment,
with Mark Degallier
Mark Degallier, owner and web developer at Little Light Media, appreciates the benefits and challenges of working from home. Being empty nesters and working from home, Mark and his wife, Elisabeth, moved from Wisconsin to sunny Arizona in 2018, specifically to Oro Valley, of the greater Tucson area, after researching the best place for them to settle down. Before entrepreneurship and working from home was "cool", they tried it when they were first married and having their first child back in 1990. After several false starts and many years of struggle, the benefits have paid off and they are now at the place they imagined all those years ago.
In this episode, Mark talks about how he remembers thinking about what he wanted to be when he grew up, and that was to be a "dad". He also wanted a big house, fancy cars, a plane, etc. As he started adult life, his top priority of being a father who was present for his family rose to the top, and he felt self-employment would help him achieve his goals. He tried several times to start businesses and work from home, but the sales weren't happening and they didn't always have the financial margin to sustain the start-ups. After working for several small companies that demanded many hours, mediocre pay, no benefits and long commutes ... he started freelancing. After a few years, Mark was making as much freelancing as he was in his day job for only a fraction of the hours. He and his wife decided to go for it again since it was not sustainable to continue working two jobs, one had to go. Since, his employer already didn't offer great pay or benefits, he started the current business of 15 years!
Mark has decided there is more to life than big houses and private planes on a private lake. He decided if he wanted to be his idea of the ideal dad, there would be a cost, and for his family it meant sometimes not having the full benefits package of a traditional job. It has been said, "If you want something of value, there will be a cost.” Mark found that one of the biggest headaches (literally) has been healthcare, especially as he and his wife have had some medical issues. However, working from home and as his own boss has also made it easier to make medical appointments and take the time to manage their conditions. Mark mentions that the cost of healthcare for self-employed people is ridiculous, so he was happy to take on a few additional classes, teaching at a local college from where they lived on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border that eventually provided benefits has eased that pain this year.
Mark can be contacted through the contact form on his website: https://littlelightmedia.com
Covid project: https://litebook.app