Since I left my job back in November, I've written several posts on blogging, life after corporate, etc. Today, I'm going to share with you some perks of working essentially for yourself but also the downsides. The idea of working for yourself sounds like a dream but it's not all late mornings and working when you want. It takes a self-starting personality and the ability to manage yourself, others as well if necessary. You no longer have someone breathing down your neck to get things done and that sense of urgency will start to come from yourself. I find it rewarding to successfully be self-employed simply because I had no idea I'd be here at this stage in my life. I'm only turning 24 on July 1st. Lots of people my age are still figuring out whether they want to stay in school for a masters or join the real world. I've been in the real world since I was 18. I more or less fell into it by accident but since then my only goal was to find success by my mid-twenties. I didn't necessarily know what that meant but let me tell you, I feel pretty darn successful. Anyway, let me get off my soapbox and start talking about the boss life.
Working From HomePro: You get to work in comfy clothes and your dog will become your best friend Con: You will think of a million other things to do besides your actual work. You'll be tempted to lay in bed until noon and you'll eat everything in the kitchen. On the other hand, it can get lonely. You'll start having conversations with yourself, your pet or both and start to think you're going insane. Oh, and the TV is the devil in disguise. Temptation at his best!
Work Hours Pro: You set them. If you don't want to work after 5pm, you don't have to. Con: You think you can start late in the morning but then you get super behind and work till midnight.
Time Management & Productivity Pro: You will become a master of this. You will have to become a master of this because you're the one whose ass is on the line if you screw up. Con: It's a struggle at first. In the beginning you'll think you have all this freedom to realize that you're single-handedly sabotaging your career.
Clients & The Actual Work Pro: You basically get to choose the work you do. For me, I've been able to select my own clients and I enjoy every single one of them. You're not assigned accounts that you're ultimately going to hate. The work you give yourself is work you are interested in and love to do. That helps with the motivation. Con: Because you're self-employed and you don't have that typical 9-5 hour set that larger businesses do, if you allow it, your clients can take advantage of you whether they realize they're doing it or not. Setting boundaries early in client relationships is very important and necessary. There's nothing unprofessional about stopping your workday at a certain time like anyone else. Just be respectful about it. Another con is that because you enjoy the work, you will overwork yourself at times. Remember to take a step back and allow yourself downtime otherwise you'll get burned out.
Co-Workers Pro: If you have them, you're all working on projects you love because you're most likely in similar situations. That's really exciting and always a lot of fun. You also don't have to deal with the drama that comes with working in an office. And there's always something... Con: If you don't have them, you'll miss them. Being able to bounce ideas off of someone is underrated. It really should be appreciated more when it's available.
Being Your Own Boss Pro: This is a great part of being self-employed. Being your own boss allows you to have the freedom that you probably wanted at your last company. You can take a long lunch on Wednesday if you want to. You can go on vacation in April if you feel like it. You're the one running the show. No more asking permission, you have the final say. Con: The smack down is real you guys. Yes, it's fine to take a long lunch on Wednesdays but you have to be concientous of how you spend your time and your clients' time. You also have to realize that even though your'e the one running the show in general, your clients are running it above that. They are paying you for services and you need to uphold that. Just because you have the final say does not mean you can blow a deadline for a two-hour lunch with Jane gossiping about Betty. And don't allow this newfound "freedom" to bury you. Don't slack Monday through Wednesday and kill yourself with assignments Thursday and Friday. I've been there accidentally and just because of circumstance and it's rough.
General Pros - You can literally work from anywhere - You set your own standards for business, work, clients, etc. - Finding success is more rewarding because you most likely did it all on your own - Hooking that first client will feel like a trophy at a 1st grade softball tournament - Hooking the fifth client will feel like you conquered the world (enter high five gif) - Getting positive feedback about your work will be ten times more rewarding - It feels really, really great when you become accomplished in your self-employment because...
General Cons - ...because it can be really hard to get a successful career off the ground in the solo world - You will have slow periods when there's less work coming in than you'd like - You have to provide yourself with insurance (unless you're under 26 like me and still on your parents') - You have to deal with taxes personally and let me tell you, it's not fun. Save money to pay them off because you won't get any back. - Procrastination will make you its bitch. Don't let it!
I love what I do now. Sometimes it can get stressful because I have a lot of pressure on myself to keep succeeding but I know that stress can be minimized with simple changes and modifications in my work process. I know my work will pay off one day. I already feel like it has. Being self-employed has its pros and cons, you just have to decide if 1) it's the right move for you and 2) it's worth it at this point in your life. As a wise man once said, "Success is not final. Failure isn't fatal. It's the courage to continue that counts." It might take a while to get your business off the ground but as long as you stick with it and stay strong, you'll find success.