This is not going to be some deeply controversial rant about why one way of making a salary is better or worse than the other.
This is not a verbose way to toot my own horn and make you spend your time and energy reading about how great I am.
This is not an article filled with cat pictures (sorry).
Because the question of “Which is better?” is an unfair question. The “right” answer is completely subjective.
I am currently self-employed and I love it, though of course there are drawbacks.
I previously worked for 10 years in corporate America and it was also both good and bad.
There are “dream jobs,” of course, but the reality is that even your dream job has drawbacks and days that suck sometimes.
Both self-employment and traditional employment have advantages and disadvantages, it is truly about what is best FOR YOU as an individual and for your family.
As Quora user Kelven Swords points out:
- YOU make the decisions, no one else… and you thus reap the rewards.
- YOU control the finances, no one else… and you thus reap the profits.
- YOU determine who is on staff, no one else… and you thus control the social structure.
- You make the decisions… thus have no one else to blame for your errors.
- You control the finances… thus have no one else to blame for any wasted money.
- You determine who is on staff… thus you have no one else to blame for any parasitic staff members who poison the well.
Let’s take it a step further than what Kelven has described above.
There are obvious advantages to working for yourself.
- You can set your own working hours.
- You choose who to work with…and who NOT to work with.
- You have significantly more control over processes, contracts, clients, work, time, and everything else.
- You can work in your pajamas — and even sleep in!
- You get to build great relationships with your clients because you’re steering the ship and choosing how to cultivate those relationships.
There are some obvious disadvantages, as well.
- You have no one else to rely on.
- You do not have a manager setting tasks or deadlines, so all deadlines are self-imposed, which can be difficult for some to manage and stick to.
- Time management becomes extremely important, which is hard for many.
- No company insurance or other benefits.
- No sick time, paid vacation time, or maternity leave.
- Less stability in terms of income.
- You will find yourself working far more than 40 hours most weeks.
- You do not have coworkers and it can be sometimes lonely and isolating.
- You are probably not an expert in every single thing a business needs: processes, sales, closing sales, marketing, website building and maintenance, creative stuff, contracts, organization, admin work, etc.
- Higher potential for burnout/overworking.
- Doing your taxes is harder.
When it comes to working for a company, you are getting some very specific advantages, in terms of a stable, dependable income, medical and other benefits, having people to ask when you need help, and being told what you should be doing.
Something people rarely think about when dreaming of being self-employed is the lack of structure and organization.
You have to create your own schedule, keep yourself on task, make sure work gets done, track deadlines, invoices, payments, all business expenses, and create a structure to your day.
It is incredibly easy to lose track of time or lose focus and end up spending half your day on social media when no one is watching!
There are many tools out there to help you get organized and create a structure for your day. Some are free and some cost money — which you need to keep track of so that you can make sure to deduct it on your taxes as a business expense.
Taxes are different and a bit more difficult when you work for yourself, and you have to save some of your income to pay it, and it WILL be a difficult check to write.
If you have personal assets, you’ll need to consider if it makes more sense for you to be a sole proprietor, LLC, S-Corp, or several other options, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. There is much research involved in starting your own business!
Being my own boss has been fun, challenging, interesting, and lonely. I love being a writer and being able to choose what I write and who I work with, and I created a business model which works well for me.
I also continuously refine and evolve my business offerings, update my own website, look for clients, maintain my social media accounts, and blog regularly. All of which is part of running my business, but is ultimately unpaid work.
I love my business and what I do, but I also enjoyed my work as a Business Development Director in the recruitment industry. I had a great boss, cool coworkers, a stable and dependable paycheck, and a set end time to my workday, none of which I now have.
However, I have the freedom to do the work I want, charge the rates I want, and am much more flexible with my schedule. I can go to the gym in the middle of the day, run errands whenever I want, work in the middle of the night if I am so inclined, and pet my cat all day.
It’s about what works best for you. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be one way or the other or let people tell you one is “better” or more “right” for you than the other.
Make plans, do research, interview people, and figure out what is best for you and make sure you have a clear idea of both the advantages and disadvantages so you are well informed!
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