Contact Me: 904-536-0340

The Pros and Cons of Self-Employment

Now that I am closing in on my first year of being in business for myself, I have been reflecting on my future. I have been taking a hard look at the pros and cons of being self-employed, and while, ultimately (spoiler alert!) I can’t ever see myself going back to working for someone else now, it has been an interesting last year, to say the least.

First, let’s look at the pros, since this is why I get up every morning.
1. The Home Office. Being able to roll out of bed, make a cup of coffee and wander into the office in my slippers has been a revelation. I used to spend an average of three hours a day commuting to and from the office, and now all that wasted time is spent being productive. I can structure my day according to what I have going on, and given the nature of my business, I can – and have – work almost anywhere I can plug in the laptop and get a WiFi signal.

2. Variety of Work. Don’t get me wrong, I loved what I did for the past decade working on B2B publications. It is still work I enjoy, and I am actively either working on or courting clients in that arena. I love sinking my teeth into the kinds of articles B2B thrives on, and that hasn’t changed. But now, I can do other types of writing at the same time. I can ghost write articles that appear in major consumer publications. I can manage blogs and social media accounts for multiple clients. I can write and edit books full-length novels. Anything and everything having to do with the written word is fair game, and I love that no client and no job is exactly the same.

3. Wide range of subjects. Like number two, I love that now, rather than just writing about one industry at a time, I have clients across multiple industries, with multiple topics. I can be writing a story for a consumer business magazine, articles for B2B publications in the automotive and graphic arts worlds, managing social media for a hair salon and editing a children’s book – all at the same time. It is challenging me to expand what and who I know, and I am loving every second of it.

4. Time for myself. As anyone who works full time in publishing knows, deadlines reign supreme. And they still do – when I’m on deadline for something, all bets are off. But the combination of working from home and having a wide range of projects on different deadlines means that I can balance my time a bit more effectively. For example, I’ve started walking every day, something I’ve said for years I wanted to do. Having the flexibility to take a little bit of time for myself every day without impacting my work has been something I never thought was possible, and I’m a little amazed to be experiencing it now.

And now to take a look at a few of the cons. Although, to be fair, I don’t know that they’re “cons” so much as things I didn’t necessarily consider when I started this journey.
1. The Home Office. But, wait, wasn’t this my first “pro”? Yes! And it is also, occasionally, a con as well. Working from home means I don’t have an office with co-workers to go to every day, so I have to work harder not to become a total hermit. And while petting my cats is a great stress reliever, when they want to sit on the computer it can cause problems. So while working from home is fantastic, it does have a few downsides that I’ve had to learn to juggle.

2. Payments. When I worked for someone else, I just did the writing and editing, and someone else handled the billing. Now, I have to do both. I got QuickBooks, which helps, but I now have to make sure I’m on top of invoicing and tracking income and expenses. I also have to be the one who (gently… most of the time) pokes clients when they go past the 30 day mark. Because my entire income now comes in piecemeal instead of at regular monthly intervals, it has taken a lot more involvement on my part to manage the bills, as well. It is a skill set I have had to really learn – and that I am still learning – to be successful.

3. Downtime. Because my clients and the work I do for them is so variable, it means that there are times I have several projects all due around the same time, and I am scrambling to get it all done, while there are other times I am twiddling my thumbs. This is something that, as my business continues to grow, I anticipate will be less of an issue (the goal, after all, is to fill all my available capacity with work, but I’m not there yet), right now I find myself with empty time. It can be hard not to feel anxious, since I want and need to be working, so I’ve had to remind myself that my business is, after all, less than a year old. And in that year, I’ve more than doubled the amount of work coming in, with time and energy to triple – or more – that volume still. Having time means I still have lots of room to grow, and that is a good thing, if a bit disconcerting at times.

At the end of the day, as I said up front, the pros FAR outweigh the cons. I get to be my own boss, decide what work I want to do and when I want to do it, and I rediscovered how passionate I really am about my profession in all its various forms. I adore what I do, and that I can do it for myself is a blessing I never thought I would be able to enjoy. It was a fantastically frightening leap off a cliff who’s heights I had no clue about, but I don’t regret a single minute, and I plan to continue to grow this business well into the future.

Share This Post:
Leave a Reply