Is Being Self-Employed The Right Thing For You?
By: Benedict Rohan
As well as being viable from a business perspective, it's also crucial
that setting up a company is appropriate for your personal needs. It's
a huge commitment that will require a lot of hard work, so you need to
be sure that you're up to it and that your lifestyle can support it.
You also need to examine your skills, experience and attitudes, for
example, can you lead a team or manage accounts, do you know the
industry, and how do you feel about taking risks?
To help you explore whether it's the right thing for you, it's
important to understand your objectives thoroughly both personal and
company goals. Are they achievable and are they compatible with each
other? Consider these objectives in terms of working hours, career
aspirations, personal progression, risk, money and flexibility.
Below are some of the pros and cons of being self-employed:
Independence - your work can be much more flexible so you can
achieve a balance between your job and your home life much more easily.
Of course the business needs will always be a priority, but if these are met
then you can take time off whenever you want.
Control - you're the boss so you're the decision maker.
You can work according to your own plans and goals and you'll of course
have a much greater feeling of responsibility,
which many of us crave in our jobs.
Satisfaction - you always get a greater
sense of pride and achievement when you've done something for
yourself. And there can't be a much greater achievement than making a
success of a business it's not an easy thing to do. It can be a great
way of moving your career up a notch or two and giving yourself a new
challenge Many people find that they arrive a certain point in their
careers where progression seems to level off and their jobs no longer
provide a challenge or allow them to perform to their potential.
Fun - all of the above factors can contribute to making the
running a company a fun and exciting job.
You chose the company business model, objectives and plans and created
your own job role, so in theory it should be just right for you! We all
dream of having the perfect job, but it can be a reality for those who
Money - if all goes to plan and your business becomes a
profit-making success, there's almost no limit to how much money
you could make compared to your earnings potential if you were
employed by someone else.
Running a business isn't all a bed of roses, of course. Not everyone
can make it succeed and even if they do it will always take a great
deal of hard work and persistence.
Longer hours - although it might seem as
if your working week will be more flexible, you will
always be constrained by the needs of the business, which must always
come first. And you're the one who's in charge so it all falls on your
shoulders to make it work which can mean working all the hours
necessary, often evenings and weekends. Don't kid yourself that it will
be an easy life you will inevitably be working more hours than if you
were an employee of a company. Another downside of working long hours
is that it won't just curtail your personal life, but it could also
lead to a confusion between work and home as many small business owners
find themselves working whenever and wherever it is necessary. This can
often cause tension with partners or families.
How much power do you have? most people have to borrow money in some
way or another to allow them to set up their business, which means they
will have responsibilities to their lenders or investors who will no
doubt want to see the business plans and may want to be consulted on
major decisions to ensure that their financial interests are being
taken care of effectively and efficiently.
Stress factor - you have a lot of responsibilities as a
small business owner, and as you're ultimately in charge you may
sometimes find yourself feeling under a lot of pressure,
which can affect both your performance in your job and your
home life. People who are self employed are more likely to take their
worries home with them as they feel a constant pressure.
Failure - we all make mistakes from time to time.
It's just a natural part of the learning process and
even the most successful business owners wouldn't have got where they
did without the odd slip-up or misjudgement here and there. Some of us
are better at dealing with failure than others, though, and your
attitude will have a great impact on the success of your business. If
you take it in your stride when something doesn't go to plan, and just
fix it, get on with it and put it down to experience, you're more
likely to make a success of your business. You must be able to cope
with challenges and failure if you want to become self employed.
Juggling tasks - when you're setting up your business you
may not be able to afford to employ other people to help you
so you'll have to do a lot of different jobs yourself.
If you're not confident in dealing with areas such as
bookkeeping, admin, selling and promotion you may find your business
struggling to survive. You must assess your skills and experience
honestly and think about whether you really will be able to do it.
No more perks - people working for employers,
especially large companies, tend to receive a great deal
of perks and benefits which can often be taken for granted. If you're
considering setting up your own business, think carefully about exactly
what benefits you would be giving up and whether you can afford to, or
are prepared to, make such sacrifices. For a start, you'll lose job
security, and you may also have to give up private health insurance,
pension plan, company car and perhaps company discounts and vouchers.
So there's a lot to think about. You need to ensure that your both
business needs and your personal needs can be met by setting up in
business and that they are not in conflict with each other. You must be
absolutely certain that this is the right decision for you
if you're not fully committed to the idea, you won't have the drive and
motivation to make it work. It may be possible to start off your
business as a trial first, part-time only, while keeping your main job,
in order to assess whether you want to go the whole hog. This will
depend on the needs of your business and the finances needed to start
© 2007 Benedict Rohan. All rights reserved.