Oh The Joys of Being Self Employed

I’ve been self-employed and working from home for over 12 years now and while I LOVE it… it does have its drawbacks.

For anyone who has never been self-employed, here are just a few of the negatives:

  • You NEVER leave the office. It’s always right there and it takes a whole lot of self-discipline to shut the door and forget about it at night.
  • People find it difficult to think of you as being ‘at work‘ and will call on you at all kinds of inconvenient times – or ask you to help out with things during the day that they’d never ask someone who had a ‘real’ job. Again, a LOT of self-discipline is required to say no!
  • The stress level is often higher. Most people have no idea of their employer’s financial situation and so a missed contract here and there might get them a stern talking to but is no big deal to them. For the self-employed person, every contract, every invoice is money in the bank to help pay the bills at home. If you get lazy for a little while, you don’t earn anything. STRESSFUL!
  • There’s no-one to bounce things off of. One of the biggest benefits I found of working in a large office is that there’s always someone to bounce ideas off of, to strategize with and to give you support when things don’t work out quite right. When you’re on your own, you lose those benefits.
  • There’s no-one to take some of the work off of your shoulders. It’s you. It’s all you. If something needs to get done then you have to do it. There’s no-one to help, no-one to delegate to, no-one else to blame ( 🙂 ) It’s all you!
  • You have to be a jack-of-all-trades. I’m an accountant, website designer, technician and CEO. I’m also the support desk, the advertising department, complaints department, legal department, secretary, sales team, strategist, manager and cleaner.
  • It can be mighty lonely, especially when things aren’t going right. There’s no-one else to take the blame. No-one to field calls from angry customers, no-one to take the weight off your shoulders and no-one to interact with.
  • There’s no real career ladder. If you want to meet a certain target, you’ve got to design it yourself and work out how to meet it yourself. There’s no structure already in place for you to plug into and work your way up.

Despite all this, I LOVE what I do.

I get to help people. I get to charge people nothing if I don’t want to charge them. I get to do what I love to do with no-one telling me to do it differently

I’m unencumbered by the big corporate machine. If I see a niche to move into or find a new way to help people, I can just do it. No questions asked… because there’s no-one to ask any questions!

I am so glad that I am self-employed and can help all the people I help. I just hope that I get to help even more in the future!

Speaking of which, there are two new blog posts over at newbloghosting.com – one on graphics and the other on the iPad and what it means for your blog.

The second, in particular might help quite a few of you bloggers out there!

Thanks for stopping by today.

If you’re thinking of going self-employed, I’d love to chat with you about it, answer any questions you may have and maybe give you some pointers!

About PeterP

I am a blogger, author, stay at home dad, speaker, web hosting trainer and geek (I was so excited to get an iPad that I actually made up a song and dance about it). I am English by birth, but currently live in California with my wife and our three children. I ran a web hosting business for nine years and found that many, if not most of my clients had never learned how to use any of the functions associated with hosting so I wrote a book to try and teach just those skills. I must admit to having fallen in love with WordPress (possibly a little TOO much) and I honestly find it hard to understand why anyone would use anything different to build a site! WordPress is wonderful! My passion is to help others achieve their goals with their websites/blogs. I believe that, with a little help, anyone can have an awesome site.

23 thoughts on “Oh The Joys of Being Self Employed”

  1. Candy says:

    Kudos to your customer service department – they’re awesome! Give them a raise!

    1. PeterP says:

      I wish I could.

      They earned $1.46 an hour last year!

  2. dustin says:

    Not at the point right now, but hopefully one day I’ll be right there with you, Peter. 🙂

    Cheers!

    1. PeterP says:

      Despite the negatives, it’s a great place to be!

      Let me know if I can ever help with it!

  3. I’m sort of self-employed. I work at home, on contract, 200 miles from my employer. I love the flexibility, but summers are hard when my kids are home because they don’t understand that Mom needs to work and not be interrupted for x-amount of time.

    1. PeterP says:

      That’s one I was going to mention but kind of forgot!

      My wife works 3 nights a weeks, but on her days off, it’s often difficult for her to think that I’m ‘at work’ and not free to hold this, carry that and do the other!

  4. Hi Peter,

    Have you read Carol Roth’s Entrepreneur Equation? You are living proof of so much of what she says, except that clearly you are able to roll past the hardships to continue to succeed.

    It’s so important these days to scrape some of the romance away from owning your own company. Yes, it can be wonderful, but it’s not all sunshine and ponies. There is real hard work and even a few disadvantages, as you so well point out.

    Great posts!

    1. PeterP says:

      Hi Margie,

      No, I haven’t read it. It sounds interesting though.

      I wouldn’t ever want to go back to a ‘real’ job now, but there are times when I wish I would!

  5. katdish says:

    You know you are always welcome to bend my ear about stuff or even blow off steam about a particularly difficult client. Unless that client is me, of course…

    1. PeterP says:

      … and therein lies the problem….

      🙂

      Seriously though, Thanks, Katdish!

  6. Robin Arnold says:

    I think the other negatives are the open kitchen, and the impact on the household budget, and the house in general. I under appreciated my custodians in the past, and whoever shopped for & stocked the TP.

    1. PeterP says:

      Open kitchen is a HUGE one for me!

      … and when you work for someone else you never quite fully realize the cost of running a business.

      It’s only when you have to decide between quilted TP and some business expenses that it hits home!

  7. Duane Scott says:

    I’m self-employed, but the our company has an office outside the house. 🙂

    If you have questions, feel free to hit me up. I’m young, but I do give good advice sometimes. 🙂

    1. PeterP says:

      Thanks, Duane.

      I appreciate you!

  8. Adam says:

    Right now I am working for the man. However, I would love to be self employees someday. It has always been a dream of mine.. Thanks for sharing.

    1. PeterP says:

      Go for it, Adam!

      Self Employment is awesome, despite the few disadvantages!

  9. karenzach says:

    There are definite advantages and disadvantages to both. For me, it’s hard not to feel like I need to be doing 30 things at once, no matter whether I’m in a newsroom or in my home.

    1. PeterP says:

      Yeah, we take our personalities with us wherever we go… which is actually a big thing to take into account when thinking of going self-employed!

  10. Tara Burgi says:

    Hi Peter, my name is Tara and I recently became self-employed(I think) as a personal assistant. I say I think because the lady that I work for and I have recently submitted an IRS form to her attorney & accountant that will identify me (in the eyes of the gov) as either independent or her employee. I came across your page while looking for info on “how to be” self-employed (if it turns out I am). I am concerned about how I invoice my hours and taxes (teeth chattering). Feeling a bit lost … can you share any wisdom ?? I LOVELOVELOVE working from home … I have encountered some of the obstacles but will never return to corporate life. Keep up the good work!! Thanks.

    Tara

    1. PeterP says:

      Hi Tara,

      Thanks for coming by!

      I’m no accountant, so I really can’t give firm advice on this.

      A lot of it depends on what your arrangement with her is. If you get to set your own hours and invoice her for them and she pays those invoices but doesn’t pay you a wage as such then I believe (and I could be wrong) that makes you self employed.

      You have to, at tax time, complete the section of the tax return that is for businesses (your business is YOU, unless you registered another name) and pay any taxes due.

      You can also claim legitimate expenses incurred in the running of your business as tax deductions but you need to keep all receipts etc.

      I don’t know all the rules, but if you’re sure you are going to owe taxes at the end of the year, I believe you are supposed to make payments every quarter.

      Again, you can’t take my word on this, I’m not qualified to answer your question, it’s just my personal understanding.

      I would be careful though because the IRS doesn’t like tax avoidance schemes and if you’re for all intents and purposes an employee, you just invoice for your pay instead of being on payroll, they may see that as tax avoidance!

      Being self employed is the BEST though! I love it!

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