Be your own boss! Control your own destiny! Freedom! Self-employment often seems glamorous. Shows like Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank promote the possibilities of self-employment. While it has many perks, these come after years of hard work, sacrifice and even more hard work.
My husband and I have both been self-employed most of our working life. As such, we have encountered many “perceptions” of what it is like to be self-employed. This is intended to be light-hearted and hopefully give you a chuckle or two. For those of you who are self-employed, you can probably relate to most of these at one time or another.
Perception: You have the freedom to decide how much and when you work.
Reality: Yes. You decide if you want to work 14 or 16 hour days, at home, at the office, on the weekends and on vacation. Most likely, all of the above.
Perception: You can delegate the jobs you don’t like to do.
Reality: Absolutely. Except you end up delegating them to yourself. From dealing with unhappy customers (there are always a few) to unclogging toilets and cleaning the office. You are customer service, marketing, janitor, human resources, maintenance, etc. It really is a glamorous life.
Perception: Self employment is the road to riches.
Reality: Unfortunately the road is unpaved, unmarked and has many forks along the way. There are no GPS’s or maps to show you the way. But the journey is part of the adventure.
Perception: You don’t have a boss telling you what to do.
Reality: Nope. Instead, it is all on your shoulders. You are responsible not only for yourself but all your employees too. Some days it would be nice to be given direction.
Perception: You get great tax write-offs.
Reality: This one is true! It is a great benefit of being self-employed except when it’s time to get financing. Suddenly, those tax write-offs aren’t so great. (Although a mortgage broker can help…hint, hint)
In all seriousness, I love being self-employed. Certainly it is not for everyone nor should it be. Success is not about “what” you do, rather “how” you do it. Whether you are employed or self-employed, enjoy what you do and give it your best. Success will follow.