Grayson celebrates one year since becoming self-employed and, as you can imagine, self-employment has been both exhilarating and difficult.
The pros of becoming a freelancer are pretty obvious, but there are few setbacks in this new lifestyle and I’d like to address them, as someone who’s been doing this work-from-home thing for almost 8 years:
Income is variable. This is a big one for many. You don’t get a paycheck every two weeks or once a month when you’re self-employed.
A beginner freelancer will probably make little money in the first months. But, as you get more clients, experience and know more about your business, chances are you’ll earn WAY more than you’d have been able to earn as an employee in the same industry.
In all 7 years and a half since losing my job and becoming a freelance web designer, I had one month only when I earned my old salary. I routinely make way more than I could as a web designer in the city and had few months when my income was more than I’d earn IN AN ENTIRE YEAR.
And we’re talking someone who’s also a mother, has traveled a lot etc.
The earning potential for a self-employed professional is sky-high. Sure, it’s not easy to get there, but there’s a lot of money to be made.
After almost a decade of doing this on my own, I’m not practically ‘unemployable‘ in my area, since no one would be willing to pay me this much 🙂
Your benefits package probably sucks!
I’m with you, Grayson, here.
We are paying taxes as a small LLC (both husband and I decided it’s the appropriate route), but we still face a pretty unpleasant surprise as we get older, since the pensions in my country are ludicrous and things will get worse. We’re fighting this problem though by renovating a rural home and preparing to retire there, where living costs are way smaller than in our city.
By renting one of the 2 apartments we have (one will probably be used by our daughter), we’d be able to support ourselves through retirement.
Not to mention we’re both in love with our businesses and are already working as ‘semi-retired’ professionals (few hours/day).
Anyway … look into all your options, save money and get the insurance that will help you through medical problems and getting older.
I have to make all the decisions.
You’ll get used to the thrill.
Responsibility won’t feel as daunting the moment you get some more experience under your belt.
Just read as much as you can about running your small business, take on good courses, get educated. And you’ll soon discover than being in charge is actually the best thing that happened in your life.
No more great ideas turned down, no more resisting bosses or decisions that are taking ages to be made, you call the shots and can grow your business as fast as your skills and experience allow you to.
This is another perk for me, I always found it annoying to have to go through many people just to get something done.
You play every role.
Again, it can turn into a blessing in disguise.
As you grow, you’ll learn to delegate some of the tasks, but, in the beginning, you’ll probably run the entire show. Which is good, since you’ll do EVERYTHING by the book.
This will allow you to get a great start and understand which each role entitles. Knowing the ins and outs of your business will make you a future great ’employer’, even if you’ll just outsource some of the tasks to fellow freelancers.
In time you’ll see which tasks cannot be done by anyone else and which can easily be delegated to someone else. This means that after a while you’ll just manage the ‘show’ and work on the very few things that make your work distinguishable among others.
There is no 40 hour week
Working more hours doesn’t mean getting more done.
Last year, after implementing some better time-management and productivity tactics, I was able, by working about 2 hours/day, to release a successful freelancing course, to work with new clients and also run few profitable websites of my own.
Years ago I’d spend 8-10 hours in a day, doing what I thought it was productive work and getting less results.
So, it’s all in WHAT you do and not just how long you work.
It’s true that, working for your own company keeps you busy all day (since you’ll think about it, even when not working), but a lot can be accomplished in less time, provided you are fiercely productive and focused.
These are few of the issues many freelancers struggle with and how we turned them from problems into perks.
As a final note, just as Grayson noted, self-employment can really open the doors to some amazing achievements and a lifestyle we never dreamt of before.