If you are serious about starting a home-based business, it is critical for you have a clear understanding of what it means to be self-employed. The bottom line is that you will be working more hours for less money than you made at your job in the brick and mortar world; plus, it is difficult to separate yourself from the business because you are the business. You will be on-call 24/7.
The appeal of being self-employed and working from home sounds glorious and exciting, but many who express that desire have little understanding of what is involved. I have even heard people say, “I want to own my own business so I can work when I want to and play when I want to.” Well, you CAN do that if you choose . . . BUT . . . as a self-employed person you will quickly learn that if you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
There is definitely an upside to being self-employed and there is also a downside. There are dozens of pros and cons, but let’s take a look at some of the big ones on both sides.
[typography font=”Amaranth” size=”20″ size_format=”px”]The Upside (Pros)[/typography]
• No expense for traveling to and from work.
• No expense for keeping your wardrobe up-to-date.
• No expense for day-care.
• No expense for buying lunch every day.
• You are the boss. (No one watching over your shoulder or telling you what to do.)
• You set your own hours. (Just be sure they are regular and that you put in at least 8 hours a day.)
• You have creative freedom.
• If something isn’t working, you can change it without asking anyone.
• There is no glass ceiling (for all you women entrepreneurs)
• You reap the rewards (hopefully there are rewards to reap).
• You learn a lot – and develop new skills as you face the challenges that come with being self-employed.
• Your income is not capped by a salary level, but by what you produce.
• Vacation time is flexible (If you are disciplined and focused, you may choose to work a three or four day week and take the other days off.)
• You can choose who you work with.
• If you don’t want to do business with someone, you don’t have to.
• More relaxed working environment.
• Any attire is acceptable and no makeup or shave is required.
• Eat whatever you want whenever you want.
• Indoor or outdoor office – window/no window – it is your choice
[typography font=”Amaranth” size=”20″ size_format=”px”]The Downside (Cons)[/typography]
• You are the boss – the buck stops with you.
• You take all the risks (personal, mental, emotional, financial).
• The security of the paycheck is gone. (When you are self-employed your income stream can be unpredictable, you must learn to live with that.)
• In the beginning, when you have no staff, you wear all the hats (which can be overwhelming).
• You pay all of your FICA tax (your employer used to pay half). Estimated quarterly taxes are expected.
• You have to buy health insurance, which is typically either very expensive or the coverage is lousy. (If you are lucky, you spouse will still have company coverage.)
• You must be organized and keep very good records.
• You will need an accountant you trust (to do your tax return) and a good attorney – maybe not on retainer, but at least someone you can call when you have questions.
• The working environment can be challenging with continuous distractions and disruptions (Depending on your home situation (family, or not) and your level of self-discipline, you can accomplish a great deal more or a significant amount less in a work day than you would be able to accomplish in a brick and mortar office.)
• You will have to convince your family and friends that you really do have a job.
I have had my own business more years than not over my professional life. Being self-employed and working from home works extremely well for me because I do not do very well working for someone else long-term. I need creative freedom and the ability to make my own decisions – good and bad; and I am willing and able to take the consequences. I have also learned how to manage and live with an erratic income, which is very difficult for some personality types.
Even though I have had my own brick and mortar business in the past, the ideal model for me now is online. I write, self-publish, and market my books, plus manage my Websites. I usually work eight to 10 hours a day, with the best part being that I can work anywhere. All I need is an Internet connection. I also have the flexibility of working through the weekend and taking a day off in the middle of the week to run errands and do my shopping. Having an adjustable schedule is the best!
The online model works for many kinds of business – coaching, marketing, training, retail sales, consulting, editing, speaking, writing, publishing . . . and the list goes on.
Developing a home-based business is not easy. It takes time to grow the business and begin generating a decent income! Things do not happen overnight; but with patience, self-discipline and focus, you can do it and be successful. Even if you have to make several attempts to find the right formula for you, it is worth the effort. If working from home is your dream, you can make it your reality.
But, remember, when you are first starting out – you are a taste temptation for all the lurking tigers and other critters that want to have you for lunch…as the entree. (See the next posting for more on this subject.)
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