If you're interested in a career path where you can be your own boss and set your own hours, then self-employment may be right for you. You may have other reasons for starting your own business - perhaps you're passionate about filling a gap in your market and doing it yourself is the only way you see it happening. Or maybe your life is better when you have a flexible work schedule, and being your own boss is the easiest path to get there.
Whatever your reason for thinking about self-employment, it's not for everyone. Just like with most big changes in our world, there are both good and bad consequences that result. To make an informed decision, you've got to know them all. This post will discuss some of the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of self-employment to help you start your research on whether it's a good choice for you.
One good thing about being self-employed is that you get to make the decisions. You can set your own schedule, choose your rates, and pick where to work. You can build your work around your life, rather than the other way around.
Want to travel more? Spend more time with your family? With careful thought and execution, you can make it happen when you're your own boss.
Another good thing about being self-employed is that you decide where your work is going. Want to expand into a new product market next year? There is no boss telling you it's a bad idea. You're not limited by your job description or the company you work for.
Depending on your work style and personality type, some of the GOOD things I mentioned above might actually be challenges. If you have a difficult time making decisions, having a support system around you (like a financial advisor and business coach) would be important first steps to get your business planned on a solid foundation.
Similarly, if you're the "dreamer" in your family, you may have endless big ideas on where your business should go next. Having a business partner or hiring a consultant to help you decide what is feasible and logical is a good idea.
Other than the bad side of the good, there is another challenge of working for yourself: you may not always have regular income. When you work a 9-5 salaried job, or scheduled hourly shifts at someone else's business, you have a source of income that is steady and predictable (for the most part).
But sometimes when you work for yourself, your income may fluctuate, particularly when you are starting out. That's why it's important to involve experts like a business coach who can help you plan ahead to optimize your income and expenses, and a financial advisor who can help you manage your personal finances.
The ugly side of self-employment is the worse side of the bad.
If you're just starting out with your business, it can be difficult to get services that depend on a reliable source of income, such as renting an apartment or securing optimal mortgage quotes.
The lack of financial security is the counter to the flexibility you get with self-employment. As your business grows in success, these challenges become less and less, and you can even serve as a mentor or coach to others starting their own business. In sum, don't get carried away with the lure of a flexible schedule. Instead, be logical and methodical as you research the pros and cons of your own situation.
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