Why do I want to be self-employed?
Becoming a freelance or setting up your own business is a big decision and needs good planning in order to make it work. Not everyone is ideally suited to the freelance lifestyle and a good way to find out is to run through a few reasons people give for going self employed:
- I think it is better than being employed
- I want to make a lot of money
- I want to be my own boss
- I want more job satisfaction
- I want to build a big company from nothing
- I am about to lose my job in a reorganisation
These are all excellent reasons but sometimes there is a gap between the dreams of independence and the reality of working for yourself. Time spent now sorting out your ideas will save you a lot of heartache later.
Experience is vital
Any accountant will tell you that successful freelances are nearly always those who work in an area where they already have experience. They know the industry and they have contacts. Thatâs why so many restaurants fail – because they are started by people with a dream but no experience.
So, think carefully before working full time at something you have previously enjoyed doing in your spare time. What is fun as a hobby can sometimes be a whole different ball game when done hour after hour and day after day. There is often a huge difference between amateur and professional standards, so what may take you all day, a professional can probably do in a couple of hours. Thatâs fine when you are doing it for pleasure but fatal if you are trying to earn a living.
Long hours and hard work
In practice, whether you are suited to the freelance lifestyle very much depends on how good you are at working very long hours, initially for not very much money, and spending a great deal of your spare time on administration, keeping records, writing letters and preparing quotes.
If you believe that being your own boss is better than being employed remember being your own boss does not necessarily mean that you are Îfreeâ. In fact you will probably end up being more tied to the job than you would be if you took the nine to five option. ÎFreedomâ, at least at the beginning, can mean hardship. Talk to someone who already runs their own business and find out how many evenings and weekends they work. It may surprise you.
Making a packet
If you want to make a lot of money donât expect it to happen in the first few months. Any self employed professional takes time to build up a base of clients. But once your business starts to succeed you will have the satisfaction of being able to sustain yourself and your family as a direct result of your own efforts and your own creativity. There is a wonderful sense of independence if you can live as a result of your own efforts without being a company slave. And if there isnât much money around in the first few months thereâs still the satisfaction of chasing and winning those first few contracts. And generating your own income rewards you doubly because it increases your self-esteem and confidence.
Variety is the spice of life
If you want the satisfaction of doing something different every day then the freelance lifestyle is probably the one for you. But be warned without a secretary and all the back-up of an office you will end up doing some pretty boring tasks such as buying stamps and envelopes and keeping all the records for the tax office.
Going for it
If you want to indulge your competitive streak you will certainly find enough to get excited about. If you believe hard, persistent work will bring you rich rewards youâre already halfway there. But donât expect it to happen overnight. As a self-employed professional it will not be unusual to spend two thirds of your time looking for work and one third actually doing it!
So spend some time thinking about your motivation for wanting to be your own boss. Then sit down and finish this sentence:
I want to be my own boss because············…
You may be surprised at some of the answers!