Last week I described several of the benefits of working for yourself.  I don’t want to make it sound too easy, though.  There are several challenges that come with self-employment jobs, just like any job.  You should definitely take these into account if you’re thinking about taking the plunge to self-employment.

  • You are your own boss. You make all the decisions.  Sounds great, right?  Well, sometimes you are going to get stuck making decisions in areas you don’t know much about.  I don’t know much about taxes, so I always have to do a lot of research and I usually get hung up on tax decisions.
  • You make your own schedule. This sounds great too, right?  Well, sometimes it can be hard.  Do you have the self-discipline to make yourself work?  Can you work the long hours that are necessary to succeed, instead of quitting at 5:00 PM every day?  Can you separate your work and play so that you don’t overwork yourself and burn out?  There’s quite a lot of responsibility that comes with making your own schedule.
  • Economic climate. When you run your own business, you’ll have to weather economic recessions and depressions.  In my experience, big companies may lay people off during hard times, but they will do their best to keep their sharpest and hardest workers.  Conversely, if you are self-employed, you might not be able to survive no matter how hard you work.
  • Uncertainty of earnings. When you trade hours for dollars, at least you know exactly how much you are going to earn.  When you are self-employed, your earnings may depend on customers, economic climate, time of year, luck, etc.
  • Wide variety of skills to master. You’re going to have to learn every aspect of business, including budgeting, marketing, legal aspects, taxes, etc.  This is not a problem if you love to learn.  Just be aware that it will be a lot of varied work.
  • No fellow employees. If you work by yourself or work from home, you won’t have any coworkers to talk to when you take a break.  Can you handle the loneliness of working by yourself?
  • You are in control of your success. I listed this as a benefit of self-employment jobs in the last article, but it can also be a disadvantage.  Think about it – your success depends entirely on you and how much hard work you put in to your business.  This is a great deal of responsibility and may be a little scary.  You can’t ever slack off and just “coast” to the weekends.  You must work hard to be successful.

I hope I haven’t scared you away from being self-employed.  These challenges can seem ominous, but in my opinion the benefits outweigh the deficiencies.  I just want to point these out so you consider them when you’re thinking about becoming self-employed.

Personally, I would rather be my own boss, deal with uncertain earnings, master a wide variety of skills, and be in control of my own success.  Despite the huge responsibilities, the path of self-employment is more fulfilling and rewarding for me.

Did I leave anything out?  Are you worried about any of these issues if you’re thinking about becoming self-employed (or if you already are)?  Please post a comment below and let me know what you think!