If you read my post on 5 reasons to start your own business, you might be wondering what the downside is to self-employment: or if there even IS one.
Well, yes: there IS a downside to being your own boss. In fact, there are quite a few of them. So, if you’re still deciding whether or not to to quit the day job (and just to redress the balance after my last post), here are some reasons self-employment might NOT be the right decision for you…
// LACK OF A REGULAR PAYCHECK
Actually, in my own case, I DO have a regular paycheck: rather than being a sole-trader, like many self-employed people, I have my own limited company, which pays me a salary every month, just as if I was in traditional employment. Of course, the existence of that paycheck depends solely on my own ability to keep bringing in enough work (or, in my case, blog views) to be able to continue to pay myself every month: and for other self-employed workers, the situation can be even more precarious – some months you might make a decent amount of money, while other months you could make next to nothing. That level of uncertainty can be incredibly hard to live with, and while I’d argue that NO job (or very few jobs, anyway) are truly “secure” – you could always be laid off, no matter how safe you think you are – for some people, the extra stress it brings might be enough to outweigh any benefits of self-employment.
// THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A ‘HOLIDAY’
Or there IS… but preparing for it can end up being so stressful you might wonder why you bothered. If I take a day off, there’s no one there to fill-in for me, which means I have no other option than to complete all of my work in advance, before I go. If you’ve ever tried to complete two week’s worth of work, all at the same time, you’ll understand just how stressful that can be: and even once you’ve done it, you should still be prepared to be answering emails/phonecalls while you’re away, and dealing with any urgent issues that come up.
// OR A SICK DAY
Similarly, when you get sick, there’s no one to pick up the slack, and no such thing as “sick pay” – so you’ll frequently find yourself struggling through your workload, when you know perfectly well that you should be in bed. (I also live in fear of being called for jury duty: having to be away from work for an unspecified amount of time could cause serious issues for my business..)
// YOU ALWAYS FEEL GUILTY
Even when you DO get to take some time off, as a self-employed person, it can be pretty hard to enjoy it, because you ALWAYS feel guilty about it – or I do, anyway. No matter how relaxing the vacation, there’s always a tiny part of me feeling like I should be working – and I know from conversations I’ve had with self-employed friends that I’m not the only one! Self-employed people also tend to end up working longer hours, which means there can be a real lack of work-life balance – especially if you work from home, and your desk is always right there in front of you!
// YOU HAVE TO MAKE ALL OF THE DECISIONS
If you’re a naturally decisive person, being in total control of your business/career is definitely one of the upsides of self-employment. If you’re NOT, however, being the sole decision-maker could be incredibly stressful: as is the fact that, unless you have employees, you have to fill every single role in the company by yourself. So, you’re not just the creative force behind the business: you’re also the accountant, marketing manager, PA, and even the cleaner- that’s a LOT of hats to have to wear simultaneously! If you’re a sole-trader, meanwhile, wearing all of those hats on your lonesome can make you feel lonely and isolated: luckily, social media can help with that, and there’s always coffee shops, networking groups, and other ways to make sure you don’t feel like a complete hermit. It’s not everyone who’s suited to this kind of lifestyle, however, so it’s essential to work out whether you are, before you decide to take that leap into the unknown…[Image]