By Greg Walker
Ah, the self-employed life. What a way to live! The freedom, the enjoyment, the unlimited earning potential. Who could fault it?
One of the reasons why being self-employed is so often seen as the solution for anyone who is unhappy in their mundane 9-to-5 is because many self-employed people have a habit of regularly promulgating a number of its key benefits in articles very much like this one.
These said benefits are then lapped up by those considering going self-employed and are used as the fuel to propel their headlong charge into independence and liberty and escape their current existence.
However, I’m not so sure that some of these widely-promoted benefits are as common as is sometimes suggested.
In fact, I know that they are not because in my own self-employed position I find them completely lacking.
I think it’s time we took a closer look at some of these benefits, not to disprove that they exist, but rather to highlight the fact that they should not always be taken as guaranteed bonuses of being your own boss.
1. Working Any Hours of the Day You Please
I’ve been a self-employed writer for four years now, and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier or more content with my career. However, this ‘work any time you want’ line is, unfortunately, not my experience at all.
You see, I work a more-or-less nine-to-five existence. I sometimes work a seven-to-eight existence or a six-to-nine existence, but the one standard is that I always have to incorporate the working hours of my clients.
I have emails to answer and phone calls to make, and because most of my clients work a standard working day, that means I invariably have to do the same.
I’m not saying that working any hours is not a potential benefit of being your own boss: I’m sure millions of people work afternoons, nights, or whenever else they want to and love the freedom that it brings.
It just bears mentioning that your working hours will not always be a result of personal choice and are more likely to be dictated by the type of work you do, the location of your clients and how often you need to communicate with them.
2. Working Anywhere You Want
With many self-employed jobs, it is true that you can work from wherever you want. And on paper, my job is the same. After all, the only thing I really need is an internet connection and a laptop, so the options are potentially limitless.
But this has not been the reality of my experience.
I’ve tried working in cafés, restaurants, on the beach, in the park, and in many other locations, but the fact remains that I only seem to work well when I am sitting on my chair, at my desk, in my office.
Everything in my office is designed for my own personal comfort. The laptop is propped up at the right height, my chair is adjusted to the right setting, I have my phone at arm’s length, and the internet connection always works.
As soon as I venture out to a cafe, the Wi-Fi connection is too slow or non-existent, a happy couple with a screaming baby decide to sit down next to me, the customer before left the remains of their donut on the table surface, and I have to crouch down over my laptop to type which always gives me a terrible crick in the neck.
That’s not to say your experience will be the same. But for me, the ‘work anywhere you want’ benefit is nothing more than a beautiful dream.
3. Working in Your Pajamas
This is one of those classic bonuses included in all those ‘Top 10 Benefits of Being Your Own Boss’ articles that you see everywhere.
For some reason, people automatically assume that as soon as they stop working for someone else they can ditch their shirts and remain living in their pajamas for the rest of their lives.
But whilst it’s certainly possible for you to do this if you want to, in my case I simply cannot get into the right frame of mind needed to work unless I am dressed for the job.
That may sound strange to you, and it came as a bit of a surprise to me as well. But the fact is, a few months after going self-employed full-time I realized that I simply could not focus on my work properly if I was not washed, dressed, and prepared to work just as I would have done if I were going into a job.
And then of course there’s the whole problem of video conferences. Have you ever held a video conference with your clients in your pajamas? Didn’t think so.
Some Benefits Are Not For Everyone
You may well be able to take advantage of the above benefits when you become self-employed, or you may be enjoying them already. However, I think it deserves reiterating that you should not simply assume that you will be able to take advantage of these (or any other potential benefits) automatically when you become self-employed.
The truth is, although you may love the idea of working from a café or taking mornings off and working evenings instead, when it actually comes to it you may realize that it is not practical.
But even if you do not get to take advantage of the above benefits, there are always other bonuses when you go self-employed. For example, I have found greater job security than I ever had before through working for myself.
In this day and age where unemployment figures are rising and people are getting made redundant all over the place, knowing that I have a large network of clients providing me work gives me the security that I will never get sacked.
And for me, whether I get to enjoy any other self-employed benefits or not, this makes it all worthwhile.
Fancy going self-employed yourself? You may not be able to take advantage of every benefit going, but you’ll never want to go back to your old job! Visit http://prowebwriting.com to find out more about being a freelance writer and get your free ebook from Greg Walker while you’re there!