Self employment is often thought of as the ultimate working goal. However, the halo around self employment often hides a realistic understanding of what it takes. It's not necessarily the working person's heaven that we all dream it to be.
Just to be perfectly clear, my intention is not to drag people away from self employment or to throw shade on those looking in from the outside. This post exists, amongst all the others, because there are many misconceptions both from those who are considering self employment or from the loved ones of those who are working from themselves.
To be perfectly honest, I'm guilty of believing and perpetuating any of these myths from time to time! The point is, it's best to recognize them for what they are - falsehoods through and through.
A couple caveats: My experiences are with small businesses, usually sole proprietorships and LLCs of 3 employees or less and therefore the myths below often apply to them.
You don't have a boss.
Welp, this is true in a way. You don't have just one person labeled "boss" to answer to. Instead you have MANY to answer to. You are just as accountable to your clients, business partners, not to mention everything else that affects your livelihood - marketing, taxes, sales, just to name a few. Having experienced both, I have to say, it's much easier with just the one.
You have more free time.
Many self employed persons set up their businesses to only get paid when they are working. AKA their presence is needed for most aspects of income generation. Think of a photographer, a CPA that charges by the hour, or a realtor. There is plenty of "on" time and "off" time. As such our days don't have more free time (usually a lot less!) but our work days generally do look VERY different from the normal 9-5!
Do what you love and the money will follow.
The truth is not every risk pays off. In fact, I'ld say at least half of the major risks I've taken in my business have FAILED. That's right. Completely failed. When you work for yourself you have to learn that risk does not always equal reward. Most successful people who work for themselves know that big payoffs come with a lot of trial and error. I guess you could say that you have to be willing to take risks AND willing to see some of them flop!
If you are strong, you can do it on your own.
This is hard, especially for me, the autonomous introvert. While I once thought I could sit at home, never leave my workspace, and be perfectly happy, it actually comes at a big price. The struggles of running your own business often leave you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and the lows are much harder when you are carrying them on your own, and the highs not so high. I know that I couldn't do it without my support networks including family, friends, and other business owners who are hustling alongside me. I cannot sing their praises enough!
Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.
Ha. If you assume that people who work for themselves are frolicking around, doing nothing but what makes them happy, with money flying at them from all directions, you are wrong. Unfortunately doing what you love often involves also doing many more things that you don't love - just ask ANYONE how much they like keeping their books. Further, doing what you love does not mean it isn't work - just ask a wedding planner how "good" their feet feel at the end of a 14 hour wedding day!
Luckily, most will agree that the parts that they truly love make all the rest worth the hard work that they put in!
That was a lot of heaviness thrown at you all at once! Please know that despite the hardships, the lows, the long days, the added responsibilities, most agree that it is the best decision they could have ever made - I certainly do! Even though it's not always a blissful dream, the hardships actually make it much more rewarding. If you are considering self employment and are willing to hustle, to put in the hours, and to be ready for the highs and lows, I've laid out the realisms and want to do nothing but cheer you on!
Ok all, what have I missed? Drop a line in the comments and let me know what myths that YOU have found with self employment!