Top 10 Benefits of Being Self-Employed
Updated 21 February 2023
Being self-employed requires many different skills, including the ability to plan ahead and to manage your own time. Self-employment allows complete flexibility and control over every penny that you earn. Working for yourself can also be an enormously valuable career, as the effort you put in directly affects the results you see. In this article, we discuss the top benefits of being self-employed and the skills you may need to succeed.
What are the benefits of being self-employed?
If you're interested in managing your own time, you might be thinking, 'what are the benefits of being self-employed?'. Here are ten top benefits of being self-employed:
1. Creative freedom
When you work for an employer, you can't always work exactly as you'd like to. Even if they respect your opinions, ultimately, they have the final say. When you're self-employed, however, you have total freedom to decide on your ways of working, policies, branding, clients, and every other aspect of your business. You don't have to accept work you don't want to do, so you can focus on only working on projects that interest you.
2. A better work-life balance
Along with creative control over your business, you also get to decide exactly how you want to operate, which means you can work the hours you choose. For many people, this means that they can better fit their work around their other commitments, and they end up having a much healthier work-life balance.
3. High potential for earning
Although your income is not guaranteed if you're self-employed, most hourly and day rates for freelancers are higher than full-time positions. Since you get to decide exactly how much time and effort to put into your business, and because you can often set your own prices, you have the potential to make more money when self-employed than when working for an employer.
4. Better job satisfaction
If you're self-employed, you set your own goals and are the only one responsible for working towards them. Achieving a self-imposed goal through hard work alone is very satisfying. Everything you put into your business has the potential to result in more earnings, new clients and other positive results for your company, which means that working for yourself can be very rewarding.
5. You can work where you want
When you set up your business, you may choose to rent an office space to work in. However, many self-employed people choose to work from home, which can help with improving your work-life balance since you won't have to spend time commuting. Other freelancers also set up their businesses in such a way that means they're able to work on the move, which is particularly attractive for those who want to be able to travel without sacrificing their work or losing income.
6. No day is the same
In many jobs, you do the same thing every day, which many people find boring. One of the main benefits of being self-employed is that every day is different. You might work with numerous clients at once, which means that you can switch between projects. You may also have to spend time doing work that isn't directly for clients, such as marketing your business and keeping financial records. This means that working life for self-employed people is often very varied, which can be a big advantage if you like to keep things fresh.
7. You have the opportunity to learn new skills
Being self-employed isn't just about the work that you do for your clients. You also have to learn how to run a business, which includes getting stuck into tasks such as accounting and bookkeeping, marketing, networking, and many others. Unless you have run a business before, this can be an exciting opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge.
8. You only work with the people you want to
If you're self-employed, you work for yourself. However, this doesn't mean that you always be working alone. Self-employed people spend time interacting with clients and may even have employees, colleagues or partners. The advantage of being self-employed is that you can choose to only work with people who understand your values.
Related: 14 Self-Employed Jobs in the UK
9. Financial advantages
If you're self-employed, you may be eligible for certain financial benefits. For example, you can write off certain business-related expenses, such as travel and a portion of your utility bills if you work from home. If you're just starting in your self-employed venture and not making much money yet, you may be entitled to certain benefits. There are also grants available for those setting up new businesses.
10. Turn your passion projects into income
By becoming self-employed, you can earn money doing the things you already love. For example, if you love words and spend time writing, you may be able to find work as a freelance writer. If you're more interested in numbers, many small businesses hire freelance accountants to help them with their accounts. Whatever your passion, look into whether there's a way to turn it into an income.
Are there any downsides?
While being self-employed can be very rewarding, there are some disadvantages compared to traditional employment. If you decide to go self-employed, bear in mind that:
You might need some time to start making money. Setting up a business can take time, so it's a good idea to make sure you have enough money for the first few months.
You might have to get through low-income periods. Even after your business is up and running, your income may fluctuate each month. Plan for this by putting money aside so you can always support yourself if your income drops for a while.
You need to adjust to working alone. Going from chatting with colleagues in the office every day to working alone can require some adjustment. Focus on building a network of clients, colleagues and collaborators that you enjoy working with.
You won't have employee benefits. If you're self-employed, you need to plan your own holiday leave, a private pension and savings for any time off sick. All of this is manageable if you plan ahead to take time off while managing your finances—it just requires some thought.
You may have to work long hours. While you're establishing yourself as a business, you might have to put in long hours to see results and spend more time than usual working. Usually, this gets better as your business starts to gain traction and you get better at managing your time.
It could be harder to qualify for mortgages or loans. When you apply for a loan, the bank wants to see evidence that you can pay it back, which can be harder to prove when you're self-employed. After the first year or so of self-employment, this gets easier, as you can prove you can earn a consistent income.
What skills do I need to be self-employed?
There are also some universal skills that are necessary to succeed in self-employment, no matter the industry you work in. For example:
Creativity: Being self-employed means troubleshooting, thinking outside the box and finding creative solutions to problems.
The ability to focus: One of the biggest benefits of being self-employed for most people is that you have nobody telling you what to do. However, this can also be a disadvantage. To succeed, you need to be able to focus on your work without getting distracted or procrastinating.
Organisation: If you're self-employed, you may work with several different clients at a time, all of whom have their own projects, deadlines and requirements, which requires organisation.
Business skills: As a freelancer, you're responsible for every aspect of your business. This means that you may need to brush up on business skills such as marketing, finances and keeping detailed records.
Market knowledge: You don't need to be an expert, but you definitely need good knowledge of your market before beginning your self-employed career.
Self-belief: To succeed in business, you need to be determined and believe that you can do it.
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