Self-employment is a dream that many people have. Some people want to be self-employed because they want flexibility in their work hours. Others want to work for themselves because they have a great idea that they want to bring to market. Still others want to become self-employed because they hate their current jobs. I don’t want to crush anyone’s dream, but before you decide to pursue self-employment take a hard look at the reality of working for yourself. Beyond the obvious issues of having to find your own health insurance (in the U.S. anyway) and saying goodbye to filing a simple tax return once a year, there are some other realities of self-employment to consider. That’s what this post is about. Now, don’t get me wrong, working for yourself is great, it’s just not for everyone.
Self-employment does give you some flexibility in your work hours. This is particularly true if your business is based on the web and you don’t have to go to a physical store or office to meet people every day. However, because you’re self-employed the onus is on you to make things happen for you. Especially, early on you won’t have the luxury of calling-out sick when you’re feeling slightly under the weather. And those “mental health days” are going to be a thing of the past too. Consider this too, if you’re truly serious about growing your business you will end up working far more hours per week than you would in a typical full-time job. The trade-off for all of the hours that you work is that, you are working for yourself! That is a great feeling! The only boss that you can complain about is you!
Here is a typical day in my work week as a self-employed person: 6am wake-up, take my dogs out, make coffee and oatmeal. 7:30am – 12pm writing blog posts and social media interactions. 12pm-1pm lunch and walking with my dogs. 1pm-4pm emails, invoices, brainstorming. 4pm-5:30pm outside for some exercise and a walk with dogs, dinner. 5:30pm-9pm working on long-term projects, more email, social media interactions. Throw-in a trip to see my business coach or my accountant and I end up working until 10pm. My weekend schedule is relaxed by comparison as I only work from 7am to 10am on Saturday and 5pm-9pm on Sunday.
Tim Ferris would probably tell me that I’m working too much. I think if you want to build a successful business for yourself, you have to put in the time.