Everybody has dreams of being self-employed at one point or another. The idea of being your own boss and doing the things you love are a tantalising prospect. However, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. If you don’t do some research beforehand, the realities of being self-employed can be tough.

You need to be motivated

This goes without saying, if you want to succeed, you need to push yourself. One of the joys of being self-employed is that you have a flexible timetable. While this is great at first, once you find yourself doing work for more and more clients you may feel like your shiny new job feels the same as a standard office job.

Being motivated to hit targets, having some kind of plan and still loving the work you do, can be tough. It will be stressful at times but remember, you’re doing all this on your own, and there is something very fulfilling about that.

You’ll need to become a ‘jack of all trades’

Alongside your main job, you’ll find numerous new responsibilities start to crop up. You now need to communicate with your clients directly and these clients may be directors of large corporations. It’s normal to be nervous about this!

As well as being a project manager of sorts you will also need to step into the role of accountant every now and then – unless you outsource of course. Getting your books correct and ensuring you pay your taxes correctly can be daunting at first, especially if you aren’t used to it.

It might feel like a step down at first

When starting out on your path to self-employment, you’ll probably be leaving behind the safety of a stable, predictable wage each month.

Now that you are the manager of your own little setup, you may be earning less than before. Obviously, the aim now is to steadily increase your earnings and work-load but this won’t happen overnight – you may need to budget for an unstable income for a while.

Self-employment may be hard for some people to understand

Now that you aren’t working ‘for a boss’ every day, your friends and family may believe that you have unlimited hours of free time. It can be hard to convince people that you can’t just drop work and socialise at any given opportunity. What you are doing takes a great deal of commitment and focus to succeed in.

Having a stable work routine can help mitigate this. If you manage to schedule your work efficiently, you will find yourself starting to make time for extra activities that you wouldn’t be able to do in the past. This is what makes self-employment so appealing – once you have cracked it, it’s perfect.


Have you embarked on the road to full-time self-employment? Have you encountered any of these ‘harsh realities’? Leave us a comment below.


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