In the seven years that I have run my private investigation business, I have come to the conclusion that I have the best job in the world. I am fairly certain that others might fight me for the claim to that title, but I would challenge (pretty much) anyone.

So why do I have the best job in the world?

My Work Matters

That’s not to say that all my work matters. I have worked for plenty of well-to-do people who simply had the money to dig up some dirt on the opposition in a lawsuit. I have also worked on a number of white-collar criminal defense cases where the person I was working for was clearly on the wrong side of the law.

But that is coupled with helping find a biological father, helping a client avoid an embarrassing and costly mistake, or helping avert significant damage to a company’s reputation. I’m not always making a difference or doing work that matters, but when I do have that chance to alter the course of the matter at hand, it feels pretty good.

I Have the Best Boss (Me!)

There are advantages and disadvantages to being your own boss, but for me, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. First, I get back every single ounce of blood, sweat and tears that I put into my business. Secondly, I can truly focus on the work that I care about. I’ve always got to keep in mind that I have to pay the bills, but if I have a bad feeling about a client’s intentions, I can easily kick them to the curb. Lastly, I have nobody else to blame (or thank) but myself, which you can pretty much never say when you’re working “in corporate America.”

I Have Flexibility

I have coached my children’s baseball and basketball teams, and when it comes to my family, I’ve been at nearly every sporting event, teacher conference and ballet recital – and have made it to nearly every single “family event.” It’s not all perfect – I was in Alaska for my son’s first T-ball game and I flew back on a red-eye from the Middle East one Christmas Eve, which did not make the family happy. I’ve also worked about 35 weekends each year and more hours overall than I like to admit.

But work is different when you can do it on your own schedule; I don’t think anyone should ever be tied to a desk from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. I work on my own terms.

Every Day Is a Different Adventure

Looking at my calendar as of today, I have absolutely no work scheduled a week out from now. I am sure it will come, but I’ve got absolutely nothing on tap.

That might be terrifying to some, but it’s part of the thrill. Cases come and go at a fairly rapid pace. Each and every one of them is different, too, which keeps me on my toes. And it’s rare for a case to hang around for more than a few weeks, which means that even if it’s the most boring case in the world, it’s not going to be around all that long.

So there you have it.

I’ve laid out my case; let’s see what you got!


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9 replies
  1. Marri Bernier
    Marri Bernier says:

    I truly love everything you write. Not only are you a good writer (a sad rarity these days), but what you have to say always resonates with me. Your posts are informative, entertaining and thoughtful. Having you as a member makes the investigative field better.


  2. Remy
    Remy says:

    Great read. This profession can be the best in the world, if you know what you are doing. If you don’t… then it could very well end up the worst in the world. If you have the privileged of working in this profession, don’t blow it. Be careful, be smart, be up front with expectations and always put in 100% effort.

  3. William Hutsul
    William Hutsul says:

    The Adage which Mr.Willingham had above described, Has a deep and philosophical significance to it. which i follow 100% plus tax.!

    Brian W.
    When you have some spare time sir, i am wondering if you will in the Master class have mention of process server(s) etc.?

  4. Private detective manchester stockport
    Private detective manchester stockport says:

    Its never really work when you truly love what you do!
    Over 10 years and I can honestly say I’ve never started my day thinking,”Oh no, I’ve x, y, and z to do today”, mainly because, as you explain, you get to pick the work you want (within reason) and rarely is it ever the same, or routine.

  5. David Childe
    David Childe says:

    I would agree that a private investigator/entrepreneur is an exciting and deeply rewarding career. Yet the average PI is part-time and makes only $22,000 year. There is a long sales cycle involved and the business may take five years to really blossom. Most don’t make it that far. Be aware of the start-up issues, have reserve capital, and be persistent. If you make it, you will be very, very successful. There are only a handful of PIs this country that have gotten to this level. You can be one, too, if you want it bad enough and have the high degree of analytical ability and people skills required!
    David C. Childe

  6. Christine Leonhardt
    Christine Leonhardt says:

    You Have to Be the Best Brian~ No One but You can fill Your Shoes, Experience , Skills, Knowledge and Talent!! Success is Earned…Respect is Earned!! We should all follow your guidelines!! How Awesome…where you stated..”But work is different when you can do it on your own schedule; I don’t think anyone should ever be tied to a desk from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. I work on my own terms. Lastly, I have nobody else to blame (or thank) but myself, which you can pretty much never say when you’re working “in corporate America.”” !! AWESOME!! You are one of a Kind Brian!! Steadfast and Strong in Ethics and Work!!

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