Including the professional class, perhaps 3% of the workforce is truly independent.
Being self-employed (i.e. owning your own small business that does not require employees) is an integral part of the American Dream. Many start out dreaming of a corner office in Corporate America, but as they move up the ladder, many become disillusioned by the process and the goal: do I really want to spend my life making big-shots even wealthier?
Bureaucracies (government and corporate) are safe sources of employment, but at a cost: they’re often soul-deadening.
Many dream of making a living doing something they actually care about, and that often means striking out on your own, i.e. self-employment.
This raises an interesting question: how many self-employed people in the U.S. actually earn a middle class income? Since all the government statistics have a line at $50,000, and $50,000 might support a minimal middle class lifestyle in areas with a low cost of living, let’s use $50,000 in annual income as our minimum.