Becoming self-employed is a big decision. If you want to be your own boss you should consider carefully the pros and cons of self-employment.
Be your own boss?
Should you work for yourself or for a company? This is one of the most important choices we face as adults. Family, culture, beliefs and personality are some of the variables people take into consideration when making up their mind. Some people have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and like this more "adventurous" lifestyle. Others find themselves better suited to a corporate environment, and even compete to become top managers or directors in big companies. It is not clear whether entrepreneurs are born or made, but entrepreneurship and self-employment brings both advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages of self-employment
Among the main attractions of being your own boss are choice and control. This choice expands from when and where to work to the focus of work. Not being accountable or restrained by an employer means that a self-employed person can work on projects she likes and finds meaningful. This also means that a self-employed can choose which clients to work for instead of having to satisfy clients imposed on her by her employers. Working hours becomes a matter of choice.
Self-employed have a lot of freedom. They are usually in control of their own time and can choose when to work. They can also choose where to work, given that they are not reporting to an office on a daily basis. The freedom and choice associated with self-employment can result in improved working conditions, as well as better work-life balance. You can also escape possible bad managers, difficult colleagues and mobbing with work when you are on your own.
When you work for yourself you learn a lot beyond your own discipline. Since you have to do everything by yourself you end up learning the basics of finance, marketing, customer relationships, etc. These are valuable transferable skills that you may not acquire when working in a bigger company where tasks are allocated to different people.
Moreover, self-employed professionals have often the chance of making a higher income for similar work. There are no intermediaries between the clients and the person providing the services, that means that most of the money paid goes to the account of the independent contractor.
Problems of self-employment
On the other hand, self-employment has some downsides that you need to carefully consider before making that choice. It comes with a lot of responsibility and precarious working conditions when compared with comparable jobs in employment. Often, there is no consistent monthly income, as the workload is not always the same and the number of clients might vary in different periods. This also means that making any income at all is not always guaranteed either. Economic crises may particularly hit those self-employed. Morever, companies and governmental organizations often offer good pension schemes for their employees.
At the same time, being your own boss means that you may end up working harder. Freelancers have to find work and clients on their own, and take the responsibility of networking and creating a name for themselves, which is a given when one works for an established company. If you run your own business, at least at the beginning you may need to do your own accounting, including taxes and pension schemes, things that are usually taken care of by companies and employers. As soon as your business begins grow you may find yourself increasingly involved in managerial duties and not doing what you really like to do.
When you work for a company or government you usually get training and learn from your bosses and peers. Having a previous experience in a company may be extremely helpful. If you are self-employed you often learn on your own. This "hit-and-miss" learning process can be interesting but it is also risky. In business there are not always second chances.
If you change your mind, you can change your vote simply by clicking on another option.
Be your own boss or work for a company? What do you prefer?
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