The following is a guest post from Robert Farrington, who writes at The College Investor, a personal finance blog for young adults. He is starting a new venture to Beat the Nine to Five, where he is chronicling his journey to make the jump to entrepreneurship. You can get a free copy of his Quitters Checklist, the ultimate guide to quitting your job to become an entrepreneur.
However, one question always arises when moving to self-employment. Is it more fun, or is it just going to be more work? The answer isn’t an easy one, but here are some things to consider about leaving your nine to five job and moving out on your own.
The Pros of Self-Employment
The dream: all of the positives of self-employment. Lifestyle engineering… Working from a laptop on the beach… No boss to answer to… Whatever your dream is, there is no doubt there are a lot of positives that come with getting out of the rat race. However, it also depends on what type of business you are in.
I believe the biggest perk is freedom. It’s something that confines you in your day job. You can’t sleep in late – you typically have to follow office time. You have certain tasks you must do, and there is a strict order to operations.
Along the same lines, lack of freedom means rigidity in where you work. You typically have to be in the office. You have set meetings that require your presence. All of these things can potentially disappear with self-employment.
It moves to you setting the terms. Yes, you still have to earn an income, but you have more flexibility in your work hours, your work location, and even when setting up meetings. And while the client comes first, they don’t need to know you’re taking that conference call in your pajamas from your coffee table while catching up on last night’s television shows.
Finally, that freedom of self-employment means that you only report to yourself (and possibly your family). No more boss breathing down you next, no more annoying co-workers chewing gum loudly in the next cubicle. No more decisions you disagree with. It’s just you. If you don’t like something, you can change it.
The Drawbacks of Self-Employment
However, that last part is also the biggest drawback of self-employment. It is just you. That can add a lot of stress to the mix, something that you might not have experienced before at your nine to five job. The buck does stop with you, and your choices can have a profound effect on your success or failure.
And on that note, your freedom will slowly escape you. You have to find clients, build relationships, and complete the work. And while you can do it on your time, if you don’t, you will fail and be back working for a boss again in no time.
That means that you do need to put some structure in place to help you. Not only will it allow you to get more work done, but it will also help your family distinguish between work and play time. Suddenly, this self-employment thing is starting to feel more like a regular job after all.
Figuring Out What Matters to You
The key is figuring out what matters to you. What aspects of your current job do you dislike, and what aspects do you love?
What’s not to say that your current job isn’t a lot of fun? A “real” job can be hugely rewarding and entertaining. It can also be mind-numbing and skull crushing.
When moving to self-employment, the goal is to find the balance – how can you make money, support yourself and your family, and still have fun.
Maybe you learn from your current employer, see what works and what doesn’t, and apply that to your business. If you’re changing careers altogether, maybe the journey is going to be the key factor in deciding what matters and what doesn’t for you.
The fact is that self-employment is naturally more work. You’re suddenly going to be wearing every hat in the office: receptionist, salesman, accountant, tech support, and CEO. Not only are you driven by your vision, but you have to do all the work to support yourself as a whole.
By figuring out what matters and finding a balance, self-employment can be fun, even though it is work. But don’t forget that the same can be true about work itself. There is no need to make a jump to self-employment unless that is your true calling.
What are your thoughts? Do you need to be self-employed to have fun and be happy at work?
Crystal’s Comments: I don’t think self employment means that you will automatically be happy. It really depends on the person. It makes me happy because I’m a stubborn redhead that hates being bossed around and wasting time…that was like the definition of my last job, lol. What makes you happy?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too! Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!