Are you right for self-employment?

The idea of having your own business may be appealing to many, but self-employment is not for everyone. It demands hard work and 100% commitment from you.

One of your first steps is to weigh up the pros and cons of self-employment to determine if running your own business is what you’re really looking for.

The Pros:

  1. You are your own boss
  2. Financial and tax benefits
  3. Freedom and flexibility, such as working from home, working around family commitments and ability to choose who to work with and what projects to work on
  4. Financial reward of a successful business

The Cons:

  1. Lack of financial security, i.e. no guaranteed monthly salary and a lack of earnings early on as the business is starting up
  2. The personal demands on you, such as longer working hours
  3. Depending on how the business is set up, you may be at risk of liability for costs if the business fails
  4. Lack of company benefits, such as sick pay, employer contributions to pensions and paid holidays

Once you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and decided running your own business feels right for you, determine if you are right for self-employment. According to research, certain qualities are regularly found in individuals most successful in business. 

The Qualities:

1. The ability to commit

Successfully running your own business demands full commitment from you. Expect to work longer hours and spend less time with family and friends and in recreational pursuits, especially in the early stages.

2. Drive and determination

There will be no-one to push you; YOU need to have the drive to work on your own and make things happen. It’s up to you to make contacts, make the decisions and develop the business. You will also need the strength to push on and persevere when the business struggles.

3. Self-belief and influence

If you and the business are to be taken seriously, you need to have belief in yourself and what your business has to offer and you need the ability to convince others to believe too.

4. The ability to multi-task

You will often be working on many projects at once, having to complete many tasks from business decisions to filing paperwork, whilst coping with frequent interruptions.

5. The desire for self-development

To remain ahead of the competition, you’ll need to continually develop your skills and knowledge. You’ll need to be proactive about research and knowing your industry inside out.

6. Networking skills

Businesses need to build networks and develop relationships for long-term success. You need the ability to meet new people, make contacts, build rapport and sustain relationships, and never burn any bridges.

Running your own business is a huge commitment, but it can also be one of the most rewarding ways to work. Before you leap, make sure it's the right direction for and that you are the right person to take it on.

Visit our Consultants Special Interest Group for self-employed fundraisers.