Working for yourself can be a real pain sometimes, we all know that. But sometimes, those same pain points can be the best part of working for yourself too!
Want to find the silver lining to the things that drive you crazy every day? Read on!
1. The Hours
When you’re self-employed there really isn’t a separation of your personal and professional lives. You work long hours and weird hours. You work on holidays and during vacations. It’s easy to feel like you’re working all the time, because you probably are!
But, at the same time, you get to work on your own schedule. That means you don’t need to get approval for time off for your kid’s big game or recital or to leave early occasionally to simply enjoy the sunshine. You can take a two-hour lunch to hit the gym or run some errands, because you know that you’ll put in the time elsewhere in the day to make up for it and everything will get done. For me, schedule flexibility is the most freeing part of working for myself. You don’t have to play the politics game to get highly coveted time off for holidays, or calculate whether you’ve accrued enough time for the vacation you want to take.
2. The Responsibility
When it’s your own business, you bear all the risk and all the stress. The smaller the business is, the more hats you wear. The burden of this responsibility weighs heavy on business owners because no one is good at everything, which means that in addition to being stretched thin, you’re often involved in areas that aren’t really in your wheelhouse.
If you can look past the stress though, you’ll see that taking on multiple responsibilities is a great opportunity to keep learning! Self-employment pushes you out of your comfort zone and demands that you pursue lifelong education in the areas that don’t come naturally to you.
3. The Blame
When your name is on the business, there’s no one else to blame. You’re solely responsible for the business’s successes and failures. This is in the same vein as the responsibility point above, but it’s deeper. When the business does poorly, it’s often as a direct result of the effort you put in, which means that there’s nowhere to hide when it comes to owning the outcome.
Furthermore, you also can’t hide behind company policies, because you set those policies and can bend or break them as you see fit. That means that when you hear something that pulls at your heartstrings, you must be the bad guy to say no.
But on the upside, you the success of the business is all yours as well! Plus, you have the freedom to make your own decisions. When you have a great month or a great year, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and that’s incredibly rewarding. Also, you can always decide to make a one-time exception to help someone out as you see fit. It’s a kind of power that you’ll just never have working for someone else.
4. The Loneliness
Whether you’re working from home or in a small office, it’s hard to meet people when you don’t have the traditional office setting. The loneliness of isolation can creep in and affect your wok and mental state.
But, what you may come to dread or despise, a lot of regular office employees dream about every day at their desks! I can’t tell you how many times I thought for sure I’d end up stabbing one of my coworkers with a company branded pen because of their lack of consideration or annoying behaviors at my agency job prior to going out on my own. Here’s a short list of things you don’t have to deal with when you’re working alone:
- Loud talkers
- Weird smells coming from the breakroom because of food being heated up in the microwave
- People stopping by your cube to chat casually while you’re trying to stay focused or meet a deadline
- Roving employees conducting calls on wireless headsets
- Having people IM you and then come to talk to you in-person when you don’t respond
- Golf balls being putted under your chair or desk
- Your boss popping up unexpectedly at the least opportune time
- The office politics!
- Listening to your choice of music without the fear of ridicule
- Singing as loudly as you’d like
- Working without pants on
- Being able to eat anything you want without judgement
5. The Money
Working for yourself can be scary because you typically don’t have the same security that you would elsewhere. You don’t usually make as much money at first and the liabilities all fall on you, which means the startup stage is especially nerve-wracking.
But while the beginning can be rocky, your earning potential is higher in the long-run. At the end of the day you’ll always get to take home more than if you were bringing in revenue for someone else and they were giving you your cut, which means that the harder you work, the more you’ll be able to increase that earning potential.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!