Taking on a 9 to 5 job is not for everyone. Some people are not cut out to work under somebody else, and that’s okay. Self-employment is a great option for those who don’t gel well with the traditional world of employment, but it certainly doesn’t come without its disadvantages! Like anything, being self-employed comes with its own set of challenges that you’d never have to worry about if you had a boss. It comes with some pretty neat perks too, so in the end, it’s really up to the kind of person you are. While some people thrive on the independence, discipline, and creativity needed to be successful, others find the instability to be something of a deal breaker, and can’t be bothered with all that excess pressure. If you’re thinking of working for yourself in the future, check out these 15 best and worst parts of the gig.
15 You Choose Your Own Hours
It depends on what sort of work you do, but generally, those who work for themselves get the luxury of determining their own hours. The case is usually that you have a particular amount of work to get through, and as long as it’s completed on time, then you have the freedom to decide when you’ll do it. That’s great for people who can’t function in the morning and work more efficiently at night, or prefer to work on weekends and make appointments during the week when it’s not busy. Or if your dog needs to go to the vet in the morning, you’d usually have the liberty of spending the morning doing that, and then working from the afternoon and carrying on until long after the standard business hours. It’s not that you have less work to do, it’s just that you have more say over when you do it!
14 Everything Is Your Problem
One of the downsides of being self-employed is that you’ll have to take care of the administration and housekeeping side of things as well, and that can be a nightmare when you don’t know what you’re doing. Basically, every single thing is your problem and yours alone. You can hire employees to delegate certain responsibilities to, but your resources are usually pretty limited when you’re just starting out. You’ll often have to take the time to teach yourself about other parts of the business that go beyond your expertise. A self-employed artist has to get used to writing invoices and chasing up customers, whereas an artist working for somebody else generally just worries about the art. When you work for yourself, there’s always so much more to worry about than just your job or your craft, and you might miss the days of having all that taken care of for you! Because it’s your business, it's up to you to fix things.
13 You Don’t Have A Boss
No matter how nice your boss is, you never want someone breathing down your neck and watching your every move. As a self-employed woman, you’ll get to be your own boss! That usually means that you can relax while you’re working, and if you make a mistake, the only person who’ll get angry is probably you. Having said that, you might still have clients and customers whom you need to impress, and they'll always be right, but the relationship won’t be the same as the one you have with an overbearing and intimidating boss. And if it is, it’s easier to stop associating with problem clients than it is to stop associating with your superior! Clients usually aren’t with you 24/7 like bosses can be, so if you do come across one who brings good business but is a bully, you probably won’t have to see them very often at all.
12 There’s Nobody To Ask For Help
The good thing about having a boss, irritating as they may be, is that you do have someone there who can offer their help. Well, that’s what competent bosses should do anyway! Great managers will stand up for their employees and be there to solve problems, and when you’re self-employed, there’s usually a lot less of that. If you do come across said problem client, you can’t just handball them over to your supervisor to deal with. If you aren’t sure about something, you’ll usually have to figure it out yourself. We’re lucky that we live in the age of Google, so this isn’t as big a deal as it once was. Still though, it’s nice to talk things through with somebody who knows their stuff! You can consult with other business owners or freelancers in your field, but it’s definitely up to you to take initiative and solve your own problems.
11 You Set Your Salary
The thing about working for yourself and working for clients is that, of course, you can set your own pay rate and decide what you want to charge. There's a certain amount of dignity there. But, of course, you can't exactly just go around charging whatever you want because people won't want to give you such a crazy amount of money. Just a fact. Keep in mind that the price of goods and services in our society still responds to the levels of supply and demand, so whatever you charge can’t be totally ridiculous. You have to consider what others in the industry are charging, what your set-up costs are, what it is about your product or service that brings about a higher price and about a million other factors. But at least pay rises are determined by you, and once you get going, you won’t have to work for what you think is unfair. In the long run, successful self-employed people can end up acquiring some serious wealth from all that profit!
10 Your Pay Can Be Unstable
While you do get to set your own pay, the incoming cash flow can be unstable, especially when you’re starting out. It takes a while to establish a client base and find enough work to support yourself, so if you’re thinking of going down the self-employed route, remember that things might be financially tight in the beginning. It can be tough to jump into a new industry when there are already experienced professionals catering to your target audience. But if you believe in whatever you’re selling, you’re proactive and you’re persistent, there’s always room. Even when you do have enough work to keep you satisfied, there are always difficult customers who won’t pay enough or on time, and as we mentioned, that’s your problem to deal with. There isn’t an admin lady in an office somewhere who’s going to make sure that you always get your pay, and that sucks.
9 You Have More Passion
Okay, it does really depend on what sort of work you do. People who are employed by others can do jobs they’re passionate about, and those who work for themselves can be just in it for the money and secretly not interested at all. However, more often than not, if you’re going to work for yourself, you’re going to be doing something you’re passionate about. It's only natural, after all! Why would you choose anything else? When you own a business, it can become like your baby and all the little things you do become important to you, even if they are a pain! Responding to emails might not be extremely fun, but it means something else when you’re responding to someone regarding the business that you created from scratch. Everything is usually just a little closer to your heart, and even though it’s a lot of effort, it doesn’t seem like work.
8 It Can Get Expensive
Being self-employed will usually mean that you’ll have to spend more than you otherwise would because it’s up to you to purchase everything. There won’t be a fairy godmother to provide the things that you took for granted in your old office, so you need to pay for everything. You’ll have to pay for things like a good chair that doesn’t cramp your back and a desk big enough to stop all your papers from stacking up in untidy piles. There won’t be a free tech guru if your computer breaks down, and if you need to train yourself up, seminars won’t be provided just like that. There are also more hidden costs than most people think! While you can set how much you charge, there are certain things that you have to do, but you can’t charge for. Promoting yourself on social media takes time, but you won’t be paid for it.
7 There Are Tax Advantages
Business expenses may have you spending more than your traditionally-employed friends, but you’d be surprised at the amount you can claim back on tax! If something’s bought for the sake of your business, whether it’s stationery, furniture, food or electronics, it generally has a good chance of becoming tax deductible. Things like fuel, advertising costs, and business insurance can all be considered to be related to you earning a taxable income, and therefore are claimable! You might not be able to get back the hours you spend building your business for no direct monetary compensation, or the time you spend pitching to potential clients and customers only to have them reject you, but hey, at least you’ll get money back for that MacBook Pro. Your business expenses are always worth discussing with a reliable accountant, because you’re probably entitled to more back than you think, and every cent always counts.
6 You’ll Feel Bad Taking A Break
We’ve already mentioned that your business could become your baby, and that usually means that you’ll put much more time into it than you’d planned. It’s great that you have something to be passionate about, but when you’re extremely committed to a business, it can get hard to separate your working life from your personal life. You’ll muddle them altogether seeing as your finances and your passions start to cross over, and then you’ll feel bad when you think about taking some time off. There’s always something to do when you’re the boss -- there’s always some way to make more money or to improve your craft, so you could end up being one of those people on the beach in Hawaii who’s screaming into their cell phone. It could be 11:00pm but you can’t put that pen down. It’s great to be passionate, but you might sacrifice your wellbeing in the process.
5 You're More Flexible
Yeah, you love what you do so you might not feel the same need to take as many trips or vacations, but you do have more freedom to do that when you’re self-employed! When you’re just starting out, can’t afford to hire help and are competing to get your name out there, it might not be the best time to go on vacation. But once your business has grown, you have a steady income and you can leave it in the hands of someone whom you can trust, you don’t have to ask for time off. If you’re sick, there’s no awkward call to your boss telling them you can’t make it, though you might have to contact your clients if you happen to get sick on a totally inconvenient day. Setting your own hours means that you can take kids to school and look after them when they’re sick, as long as you’re good at managing your time.
4 It Can Be Isolating
One unfortunate thing about working for yourself is that quite often, you will not be spending time with others. It comes down to what you do exactly, but particularly for those working from home, the lack of human interaction can be annoying. Even if you thrive on your own and hate working in groups and need time to yourself, it’s always nice to make friends at work so you can suffer together! Work is a great way of networking and meeting people too, and a surprising number of relationships are formed through people meeting at work, or work functions or through work colleagues. There’s a serious lack of that stuff when it’s just you, so you want to make sure that you don’t abandon the friends you already have. You might need to make time to see people more so than the average person, just to balance out the loneliness!
3 You Choose Who You Work With
The positive aspect of working in isolation is that you won’t have to tolerate co-workers whom you can’t stand. There’s no way of completely erasing every person you don’t get along with from your life because you’re still going to have to interact with a range of people from time to time, whether they’re clients or employees or other industry professionals. But as somebody who’s self-employed, you tend to have much more control over who you do and don’t see. You don’t have to work with clients who drive you insane, but if you choose to, you could always limit contact time. When you’re the one doing the hiring, you get total control over who you want working for you, and you’d never choose someone you can’t stand. Plus, as we’ve already pointed out, it’s not like you have to kiss up to a boss who doesn’t deserve your loyalty!
2 You Don’t Get The Health Benefits
Arguably, one of the worst things about working for yourself is that you miss out on all the perks of working for somebody else. You can forget paid annual leave or being paid when you’re sick. It’s a strange situation, because even though there’s often nobody to answer to, sometimes you’ll force yourself to work when you’re ill because you can’t afford to miss out on your earnings that day. There’s more freedom, but you won’t always be able to take advantage of it. Many larger companies come with helpful benefits like gym memberships, access to counselors and other types of therapists, dental insurance and other perks like access to the company car. You also won’t have someone contributing to your superannuation fund like you would if you were getting weekly paychecks, so you’ll have to be organized and set a portion of your earnings aside for retirement, which takes some discipline!
1 You Can Work From Anywhere
Many people agree that the best thing about working for yourself is that you choose where you work from. Many business owners work from home, which offers a huge amount of convenience. Sunday nights aren’t quite as depressing when you don’t have a long commute in the rain on Monday morning. Not having to get dressed up and organize your transport to work is always a bonus, and you can consume all the tea and coffee and cookies you want without feeling judged by your co-workers. You also usually have the freedom to switch up the scenery if you’re working from a laptop, and can take your work with you when traveling. Even if you do work from your own office, studio or warehouse, things feel a lot more comfortable when it’s yours. Being self-employed is a nightmare for some and a blessing for others. It comes down to you.