Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Self Employment Fact or Fiction

There is a lot of "common knowledge" things out there about being self-employed. A whole lot of them are absolutely false. I would like to spend a bit of time affirming some and debunking some others.

1) Self employed means you "set your own hours." I could maybe see this for some professions and for some people within those professions. I, however, have NOT found this to be true. Granted, I can schedule stuff whenever I want but I certainly don't set my own hours. I work when my clients want me to work and then some more after that. In my job, I am typically working when others are not. My busiest time of day is lunch and after "work". I know plenty of other people that are self-employed in other lines of work and guess what, they work when there is work to do, not "when they want to."

2) Being self employed means you keep more of what you actually earn. I see the logic in this--you work hard, you bring in the money and you don't have to split it with the employer. You do, however have to split it--a lot of it--with your favorite Uncle. It is surreal the first time you pay in a quarterly tax estimate and you realize just how much goes to the guvment. You never really realize it when you never actually touch it to begin with (i.e. automatically drawn from your paycheck).

3) Being self employed is more risky than a "real job." I love this myth. I had a real job--a real job that allegedly had job security. I got fired. I can't get fired from this job. I could quit. I could get fired by individual clients but I would still have my "job." My job security depends 100% on how well I do it. If I do well, I will never again be unemployed. As long as I do well, I will never have to ask for a raise or promotion. There is real job security in being self employed if you do it well. It's more than self employed, its self sufficient.

4) You are on your own when you are self employed. This could be true but not if you are smart. Almost every profession in the world has some kind of trade association. You would do yourself a huge favor to join that. You would also do yourself a favor to join a networking group of some kind. It can get lonely and kind of depressing to not have at least someone to bounce ideas off of. Surround yourself with good people. People that care about your success, care about you. Get an employee, a good accountant, a networking group or someone that could be your sounding board.

5) You have to have money to start a business or only people that are already rich get to start businesses. Not true. You can definitely do it. You just might have to get creative as to how you start it, how big you are at the beginning, etc. You might not enter the retail store world by opening your first store the size of a super Walmart or something. Start smaller. Stick to something you already know and perhaps you are already doing as a hobby and grow it.

These are just a few. What kinds of things do you believe about being self employed? What have you heard? What are some things you want to know about it? Are you interested in starting a business? Do you dream about being your own boss but don't know how to make the leap?

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