When I joined Lauren and became self-employed, I knew a little bit about what I was getting into, but there are some real advantages and disadvantages to self employment that I hadn't considered.
Lauren has done a fantastic job at being self-employed and helping raise our children. She runs LaurenGreutman.com, a popular Frugal Living website and has learned so much about self-employment over the years. And as a result, I have too.
Self-employment always seems like a dream at first. You might picture yourself lounging on the couch with your laptop, in full control of your destiny and free from the from bosses barking at you to meet your quota. It may seem like the good life – and in many ways it is. But in other ways, you'll find challenges you never saw coming.
So if you're thinking about taking the plunge like I did and becoming self-employed, keep these pros and cons in mind before you pull that trigger.
Let's face it: it isn't always easy having a boss. If you have an autonomous personality type, you might dread having a superior tell you what to do every day. And if you're the creative type working in a structured environment, you might feel like a bird locked in a cage – all you want to do is fly free and see how high you can go!
As a self-employed individual, you'll get to call the shots. No longer will your hands be tied by the orders of bosses. You can design your day the way you want to. Let's take a more precise look at what this means . . . .
Your imagination is the limit as a self-employed individual. You can create your own projects, test new business models, and design a work environment just for you. No longer do you have to fit within the confines of old ways of doing things. You're free from the “system.”
I for one love getting to work on the things I enjoy. When I Joined Lauren on this website, I found myself enjoying many aspects of the business – but my greatest joy is helping people with the subjects I'm proficient in. For example, I enjoy spreadsheets and teaching people how to budget.
What kind of work gives you joy? Once you discover that, ask yourself: “Is there a way I can monetize my passion?”
This one is huge. Think about all the family events you had to miss because you had to work! Think about the time you're missing with your children!
When I quit my day job, I found myself with a great deal of time flexibility. I can work when Lauren is with the children or when they're sleeping. I can take the weekends off if I want to. Every holiday is truly a work holiday, and I can work when it makes the most sense for me and my family.
But with freedom comes responsibilities – and ones you might not expect at first glance. Here are some of the downsides to self-employment.
This might seem identical to the first point – that's because it is. Not having a boss is a double-edged sword. While you don't have to deal with the demands of a superior, you have to be your own boss – and that guy in the mirror isn't always a good one.
When you're used to having your day structured by someone else, and you're suddenly free from those constraints, it might be all-to-easy to sit back and relax. How do you structure your time?
One interesting tip that was recently suggested is to work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes – it was found that some of the most productive people do this. It may seem a little odd, but give it a shot! You need your rest, but you need to work, too.
If you're going to be working from home, like I am, you might find yourself easily distracted. Family can be a distraction, and you're going to have to set some reasonable boundaries.
Explain to your children about the hours you are working and when you'll be available. Intentionally create together time with your spouse. Think about the best way to manage your time when working from home.
You'll also have to think about how to arrange your work environment. It's best to keep it clean, uncluttered, and work-oriented.
You might find that once people discover you're self-employed, they will feel free to call, text, or come over anytime. You're going to have to set boundaries with them, too.
If you can, keeping regular work hours is a good idea. Explain to people that you have self-imposed deadlines you must meet to bring in the money.
Look over the advantages and disadvantages of self employment, it might be right for you if you're ready to deal with the challenges listed above. Over time, you'll become better at it, but it takes self-control. Don't take this decision lightly, and don't quit your job without an income to stand on – you don't want to fail right out of the gate.
Are you ready to become self-employed? If you're having trouble answering that question, ask your family members – they'll likely have some great advice and see your situation from an objective point of view.