Sometimes, when things go wrong, it’s nice to know that there’s always someone else to tackle things when they get out of hand. Those nights when you have to work late and cancel your dinner dates are much easier when you can roll your eyes and blame your boss, aren’t they? And, when you need to call in sick, you’ll always know that there’ll be a sympathetic(ish) ear on the end of the phone…. All this isn’t so easy if you are the boss.
A new study, released this week, shows that since the economic downturn has begun, the number of self employed people has risen significantly. Figures show that since 2008, the number of people doing it alone has risen by 367,000 to 4.2 million. That’s a lot of people bossing themselves around! But why do people decide to become self employed?
For young professionals, self employment offers a lot of freedom. You can work your own hours, set your own goals and, if your work permits it, spend the occasional day working from beneath your duvet. For some, particularly those in the arts industry, freelance work is a given way to work. And it makes sense! For an enthusiastic, go-getting Journalist, the prospect of being stuck behind a desk and churning out endless stories for a basic salary can be somewhat dry. A freelancer, however, is able to write what they want to write, and sell each article individually (often for a far higher fee). All this, as well as variety and flexibility makes for a very attractive package – it’s easy to see why self-employment is on the rise.
It’s not all plain sailing, however. In the current climate, many people make the choice not out of passion, but due to sudden unemployment and a feeling that there is no-where left to turn. This can be a lethal cocktail, when mixed with the many pitfalls of self-employment; the first being that with small businesses, there is no guaranteed income, particularly in the early days. Many find the stress of being directly responsible for their pay packet very difficult to cope with, which often has a domino effect on the output of the business. As a result, it’s also sometimes necessary to take a second job to supplement income and, let’s face it, being a Saturday girl at Starbucks isn’t quite the epitome of ‘the high life’ people come to expect when setting-up their own business.
There’s also the fact that, while working from the comfort of your sofa may sound appealing, it is you and only you who can motivate yourself to turn off the endless ‘SATC’ repeats and do some work! Plus, you’d be whole-heartedly breaking the age-old rule of never bringing the office home.
Fear not, though, bossy ladies! If you’re keen to join the army of self-employers, there are plenty of bonuses. Without having to split your earnings with colleagues or owners, you’re far more likely to win financially, in the long-run. As long as you consider the pitfalls, being your own boss can be a great career choice. Plus, self-employment often offers some quite pretty tax relief! And, by the way, your favourite Hollywood actor? I’m willing to bet that he or she is self-employed, too! Need I say more..?