Thanks to the accessibility of the internet, more of us than ever are able to take control of our jobs and work from home- for ourselves. While quitting your day job and spending time at home (by far the comfiest and best place to be) sounds tempting, there are two sides to the coin. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider.
The thing about regular work as an employee is there’s generally no flexibility whatsoever. If you’re just a few minutes late on a couple of occasions, it could be grounds for dismissal. So if your bus doesn’t turn up, your car doesn’t start, or one of your kids is unwell in the morning you’re basically stuffed. Self-employment, on the other hand, allows you to be far more flexible. Because you choose the projects you want to complete, you get full control over the workflow and the hours too. While each piece will still have a deadline, but whether you want to work on it morning, noon or night is up to you. If you’re particularly busy, you can simply take on less work, meaning it’s perfect for those with other commitments (or who just prefer a flexible working day). If you want to set regular nine to five working hours most of the time, that’s fine too. The point is, you have control. Whether you do a lot of work or just fit it in where you can, it can be adapted to your personal circumstances.
Cons: Irregular Work and Money
When you work as an employee for a set wage, you know exactly how much money you will be earning each week or month. This allows you to plan for bills and other expenses accordingly. However, when you’re self-employed, money can be far more irregular. If you have a freelancing company or a client that you get regular work from, this can help you bring in a regular source of income. Otherwise, unpredictable money can come with the territory. Your best bet is to have your fingers in a number of different pies, so to speak. For example, if you’re a writer and you earn most of your money from writing projects on a freelancing site, how about setting up your own blog too? In time it will become another source of income and give you more stability with money. You could look into online tutoring and other options to earn money too during quieter times.
Pros: No Commute
When you work from home, you have the shortest commute in the world. There’s no messing around with public transport or wasting your life in rush hour traffic. When it’s cold in winter you can stay warm at home, it really is fantastic! Ideally though, you will have your own home office or at least a desk where you can work from. This allows you to get up and get into ‘work mode’, rather than staying in bed or lounging on the sofa. While this sounds great, it’s actually better to have a designated working area so that you can keep it separate from the rest of your life. This allows you to properly ‘switch off’ when you’re done for the day, and allow to maintain a proper work/ life balance.
Cons: Everything Is Riding on You
There’s no boss to give you a kick up the rear if you’re slacking off, and no colleagues to give you a pep talk when you’re struggling. When you work for yourself, you have to find the motivation to get up and work every day off your own back. You have to do all of your own taxes, sort out data recovery if your computer breaks down and chase up money and invoices- all things you wouldn’t be responsible for as a regular employee of a company. This is more of a challenge for some people more than others, so before taking the leap into self-employment have a really good think about whether it’s for you
For some people, self-employment can massively improve their quality of life. It can give busy parents a source of income while children are at school. It can be useful for those with mental or physical disabilities which mean getting out to a regular workplace is difficult. It can give back control to anyone who’s sick of being micromanaged, or working in an environment with unpleasant colleagues. Have a think and ask yourself, could it be for you?