Self-Employment Issues:- The Things Nobody Warns You About

There are a lot of things people think about when they’re considering a move into self-employment. As we hear on the news all the time, self-employment is rapidly becoming a popular career choice. People like setting their own hours, love being their own boss, and like the idea of keeping 100% of the money they make, so it’s not hard to see why. It’s not a decision that people make easily or take lightly, though. For all of the numerous upsides of self-employment, there are also a number of potential pitfalls.

It’s these pitfalls that people focus on when they’re at the planning stage of their self-employed business. People focus on facts and figures; they work out how much money they need to make to stay afloat. They think about marketing, and where they’ll need to work from, and when that work might take place. People spend hours on business plans, and marketing ideas, and all of the other practical steps that go into setting yourself up as a self-employed person from scratch. There are little things that sometimes get missed though – things that you wish someone had told you before you started out. We’re here to bring those little things to you today.

You No Longer Have a Payday

This is a bigger issue than most people assume it is. Newcomers to self-employment often set out with a reasonable degree of confidence about making the amount of money they need to make to survive each week or month, but they forget they no longer have any control over when that money appears in their account. When you were in formal employment, you knew precisely (or at least approximately) how much you were going to get paid, and when you were going to get the money. With self-employment, that isn’t the case.

This makes planning difficult. Having all of your essential bills coming out at the start or end of the month may no longer be a wise idea, because it might take all of the money you have available. Planning nights out, meals, or anything else that involves expense will be difficult. Managing your bank account becomes more akin to playing a mobile slots game on online casinos or their sister sites. Sometimes when you press the ‘spin’ button on mobile slots, nothing happens. Other times, you get paid out. The same will be true of your bank account; although you’re probably doing the same amount of work each week, some days the money will be there, and some days it won’t. You just have to take the same approach as those mobile slots game players do in new slot sites; keep spinning, and hope it will work out in the end!

Vacations No Longer Exist

The big positive of self-employment when it comes to your working pattern is that you can now set your own hours. If you don’t want to start work at 7 in the morning, you no longer have to. You’re on your own clock, and you have full control. The downside is that going on vacation is now almost impossible for you. Many people in their first few years of self-employment take no vacation at all. You’ve taken control of your working life, but you’re working harder and longer than ever before.

The reasons for this are obvious. If you’re a sole trader, then you’re not making any money if you’re not working. If you take two weeks off work, you’re halving your monthly income. That’s unthinkable for the majority of self-employed workers. Even if you’re able to bridge the gap with credit, many self-employed people feel uncomfortable taking a break because they worry that their regular customers will desert them.

People Assume You Don’t Do Any Work

This is one of the largest irritations that self-employed people come across. Other people – even family members, or those who you consider to be your close friends – will assume that you basically spend the day doing nothing at all. This is doubly true if you work from home, as they imagine you sat with your feet up in front of the television with your laptop on your knee. To people who are chained to a desk every day, self-employment look and sounds like freedom.

As the reality of the situation will almost certainly be that you’re working harder than them, and harder than you ever did in the past, this attitude can get on your nerves. People assume you can just ‘pop out’ of work to come and meet them at short notice, or take a phone call in the middle of the working day. You find yourself having to establish boundaries and expectations with people who you expected to be more supportive and understanding. It can be frustrating.

You Miss Having A Boss

There are times when a decision has to be made, and you don’t want to be the person who has to make it. We’re talking decisions about spending, or adjusting our prices, or whether or not to work with a certain individual or company. There will be times when you don’t know what to do for the best, and you wish someone else would take the decision out of your hands. There’s nobody to do that, though, because you don’t have a boss.

If you’ve spent your whole life working for someone else, the sudden absence of an authority figure can be quite a culture shock. You may not always have agreed with the decisions made by your old boss, but you accepted them and followed them anyway. You did a job according to their instructions, and if the instructions were wrong, that was their problem. With self-employment, the buck stops with you on every aspect of your working life. It’s a lot of pressure, and there will be days when you wish someone else would just tell you what to do.

Working Hours Are Irrelevant

Not being stuck to the 9-5 grind is a good thing. Being able to have a lie-in every now and then when you need one is an even better thing. Any self-employed person who’s being honest with you will tell you that they’ve occasionally slept until the afternoon just because they could, and they have no regrets about it. It’s a very liberating feeling – but it doesn’t help much when there’s work still to be done.

A lot of people who take the self-employed route report that they’re at their most productive at night. Before long, they’re up with a coffee way past midnight, hammering away at their keyboard and working on their next order or project. If that works for you that’s fine, but it can really get in the way of your family life. It can also make you completely anti-social – you’re awake when everyone else is asleep, and vice versa. That’s why you might ultimately decide that setting yourself 9-5 hours is a good move after all.

None of the above problems are insurmountable. You get used to telling yourself what to do. You slowly grant yourself permission to take a break occasionally. You get accustomed to squirreling money away to pay for bills. It just isn’t easy, and it takes some getting used to. Don’t let any of the above put you off the idea of going self-employed if you’re considering it; just make sure you’re factoring it all into your plan.