Is being self-employed a good fit for you?

Perhaps you’re thinking about working for yourself. If that’s the case, you won’t be surprised to know there are a few things to think about.

Here are some topics to consider:

  • Commute — Only having to walk to your desk/office can be a great money and time saver. (I love not having to deal with ‘rush hour’ any more.)
  • Flexibility — You’re able to set your own schedule to work when you’re most productive (for me it’s late morning, so I do ‘tasks’ when my brain doesn’t need to be fully engaged and I can schedule errands when traffic is light); you get to wear what you want (some days it’s just easier to go from bed to desk without a shower).
  • Distractions — No matter where you work, there are distractions, but working for yourself gives you the power to control them a lot easier than if you’re in an office surrounded by coworkers.
  • Relationships — Working for yourself isn’t conducive to building face-to-face relationships without some effort. Skype and web conference tools can be great for “meeting” in person without leaving your home, but be aware that you may not build as strong connections as working in an office. (Finding a great cafe or meeting space for local clients to meet with you is quite beneficial).
  • Stress — Working for yourself gives you a lot more control over stress. If something gets to be too much, you can talk a walk (or a run) or a break and come back refreshed without having to ask permission or have someone ‘cover’ for you.
  • Finances — Of course you can save money by not commuting, but if you have a home-based business, you can write off the office space on your taxes (at a minimum).
  • Work/life balance — When you’re in control of your own schedule, you’re able to balance work and life commitments a bit easier – or at least that’s the theory – sometimes family and friends will think since you work from home you have a lot of ‘free time’ so you have to set parameters.
  • Accountability — Working for someone else gives you accountability to that person. Working for yourself requires self-discipline, and not everyone can handle all the freedom. (I personally love it, and find deadlines with payments tied to them to be quite motivating.)

This is just a quick list to get you started. More categories and questions come up the further you pursue self-employment.

How about you? Are you self-employed? If you aren’t yet, do you think you can handle it?

Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes from the comfort of her home. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

19 thoughts on “Is being self-employed a good fit for you?

  1. Self-employment was partially forced on me by my firm closing down; I intended to find another position, but found having time in the day allowed me to write, so – although I would probably not turn down a good job – being self-employed is currently trumping finding a postition for the sake of having one.

    The biggest hurdle I found is ancillary tasks: if my computer started acting up at my old firm, IT were available to apply a quick fix or replace it; whereas, when my desktop started failing I had to fix it myself.

    • It’s great that you’re making use of the circumstances, Dave. Not everyone would be able to take advantage fo the ‘downtime’.

      Technology is definitely a consideration — we rely on our tech to be up and running and when we have issues, and no IT department, it can definitely be challenging to figure out the issues, get them fixed, and still meet deadlines!

  2. This week is something of a tester for me. My fiance and I have two (new) home business and we also work full time jobs outside of our home (and go to college). I took this week of of work to get a feel for the home office concept and see how productive I could really be. Wish me luck and thank you for sharing this, it was well timed!

  3. Being self employed is great if you can manage time/resources and motivate yourself – and willing to work hard including longer hours (but those can be flexible).
    If you enjoy it, it’s so much better than being in a cubicle under someone else. Few want to go back.
    Nice analysis!

  4. Some cool points there worth thinking about for people thinking about taking the plunge.

    When I was in a 9 to 5 job I thought working for myself would be the best thing ever!

    And now I am my own boss….it kind of is!

    But it may not be quite as glamorous as people may first have expected as it does get a bit lonely being at home by yourself at first…especially if you are used to being surrounded by people in a job.

    And in a weird way sometimes I found (to start with anyway) that you feel slightly isolated from the rest of society and feel plain lazy by not being at work when everyone else is….just takes a bit of getting used to really and now that I have been self employed for a while then it is great to just embrace the random daytime walks and coffee shop visits!

    • You’re right Adam. It does take some adjusting since you absolutely lose the social aspect if you work from home. Seeing people on a day-to-day basis is different than talking to those same people on the phone each day. The connection is different and not as intimate.

      I definitely enjoy being able to get out for long walks whenever I want and it’s fun to explore different coffee shops (as long as they have wifi!). 🙂

  5. I’ve been self-employed for over 15 years (unfortunately, not in writing) and it is a blessing and a supreme struggle. I have at times done everything myself: answer the phone (or call them back), make appointments, do the bookkeeping, the cleaning, IT functions, advertising, billing, customer service–you name it.

    And I’m there again. And I am struggling to get back to that place where it all works.

    I fondly recall things like paid sick time and vacation. Of 401K contributions and benefits I don’t pay for directly.

    My hours look part time, but I put in more hours before opening and after closing than some people spend at their “normal” jobs. But I can’t do what I do and work for someone else, like most entrepreneurs.

    It is definitely not for everyone, but for some it is the only way. There is a sense of autonomy but you are still responsible to your clients–you still have a boss. Even if it is only the one inside your head.

    • There are definitely pluses and minuses to self-employment as well as working for someone else. Thanks for pointing out a few that weren’t in my post. And like everything, each of us has a different experience and focuses on different aspects. What’s in the Plus column for one person may be in the Negative column for another.

  6. No, I’m not self-employee, but I’m looking for this kind of job.
    I’m looking for something that deals with wrting now that I begin to write my first book. I’m loving all this one.

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on that. I am working from home self-employed and these are the exact pro points. 😉 But yes, it’s fun, what family and friends sometimes think. They often think you earn tons of money by sleeping long, having lots of spare time and getting everything for free cause you can offset it against the taxes. What a great life would that be?! 😉

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