Something the Pandemic of 2020 created for many was the urge to work for themselves.
After experiencing a sense of flexibility and pseudo-freedom, many working adults started contemplating the idea of starting their own business or freelancing full-time. The idea of, “Being their own boss,” suddenly seemed more attractive than working for someone else all the time.
Hence why you’re currently exploring the topic for yourself. Knowing how to work for yourself is the first step in making it happen, which is why today we will spend time reviewing the pros and cons of working for yourself, while also exploring all the topics related that you should consider before taking the plunge!
How to Work for Yourself: Pros and Cons
With anything in life, there are pros and cons to working for yourself. On one hand, you have flexibility, but on the other you have uncertainty.
Before going through the process of figuring out how to work for yourself, take a quick look at this complete list of the pros and cons of working for yourself:
- No commute and if you do drive it is on your time
- No employee or political work drama
- Can save money and time (you’re typically more efficient with your own time)
- Get do jobs and work you enjoy (think photographer, small business owner, dog walker)
- Tax advantages available to business owners
- No BOSS! Means no one to report to every day
- You might love being self-employed more than you think
- Motivation issues working from home (some people need a boss)
- Uncertainty (benefits, no consistent salary schedule, everything on your shoulders)
- Can be economy dependent
- Dealing with employees, workers, and finances owed to you
- May not like your partner (if you have a partner)
- Might find yourself in your own head
- Need to always think about the worst-case scenario
- Work never seems to be complete
- Longer hours
- No one to report to can mean you find yourself distracted with tedious tasks
Things to Consider If You Want to Be Self Employed
For many considering the entrepreneurial or self-employment leap, they’re giving up security and consistency for the unknown. In that case, you know you’re ready to start working for yourself when you don’t mind the risk. If you have saved, planned, and got yourself ready – then you MIGHT be ready!
There are things to consider before going down the road of being your own boss, starting with these questions to answer:
- Do you have money saved? Emergency funds are a must!
- How much debt do you have? Student loans, mortgage, car.
- Who is relying on you? Kids, spouse, etc.
- Do you like working by yourself?
- Can you stay focused on your own?
- Are you willing to work hard and for longer?
- Can you wear multiple hats?
- Business ideas, will yours work?
- How do you get started? Are there ways to make it happen fast?
- Will you start part-time or full-time before you get free?
- Products, what products will you offer?
- What if you lose your income, will you be ok?
How to Know if You’re Ready to Start Working for Yourself
There is a really simple litmus test to see if you’re ready to work for yourself and it starts with the following:
- You got money saved. If you have tons of debt or can’t afford the jump, you might not be ready to start working for yourself. You don’t care about losing some income for a period of time.
- You have a plan. To make the leap, be sure you have a business plan that has looked at all the possible scenarios as well as an escape plan!
- You’re self-disciplined. Working for yourself means you don’t have a boss standing over your shoulder, but that also means no one is standing over your shoulder! You will need to be self-disciplined with your time and energy to make it work!
- You like learning. Continual learning is a must for self-employment. From email marketing to taking courses, you have to stay up with trends!
- You don’t mind taking a risk. Going from full-time employee to business owner means you don’t care about taking risks.
9 Jobs that Let You Work for Yourself
Can you do any of the following:
- Build websites
- Offer SEO consulting
If so, you can offer these very services (one or all) in the form of freelancing. From freelance web design to freelance writing, freelancing is one of the most popular ways to work for yourself in 2021.
Flexibility, the ability to work where and when you want makes offering freelance services one of the best side hustles, but also work for yourself jobs! If you happen to be new to the idea of freelancing, consider our course, Fire Up Freelance, which teaches you how to freelance after escaping your 9 to 5 job.
You can work for yourself and wherever when you tutor online. Whether you tutor your own students or decide to tutor English online with platforms such as Wyzant, VIPKid, or Chegg – the options to tutor on your own exist (especially after the 2020 Pandemic).
Most online tutors bring in about $20 per hour. Those who tutor on their own can command more per hour as they usually meet with their students 1-2x per week in person.
Sell Things Online
Start a business and you will quickly find out you have to sell a product or service. The “I don’t like selling” phrase is commonly used by many, but it’s not a good one if you want to make money on your own accord.
Selling your services, your skills, or product is how you make money on your own. So whether you sell used things online with platforms like;
- Facebook Marketplace
- Craig’s List
Or you decided to flip items, create your own Etsy store, you name it – selling things is how you can work for yourself and work from your house. You just may need a little help so don’t be afraid to do a little research ahead of time!
Own an Online Store (E-Commerce)
Similar to selling things online, only this time it’s an e-commerce store you own, you can make a living selling things online thanks to the likes of Shopify and Woo Commerce.
Granted, starting a store goes beyond just signing up, in most cases, you will want to investigate, plan, launch, and market accordingly. First, you will want to identify your product or service and put together a marketing plan.
Online businesses are simple, but not easy. There is a learning curve involved when you start your own online business so keep reading to see how you can get one started prior to making the full plunge!
Social Media Manager
All small businesses have social media and many need help with their accounts. They think simply posting a “We Do This Service” post every day is social media management. While they couldn’t be further from the truth, this is where you come in.
Knowing how to work for yourself means knowing what to offer. Many companies need social media help and are willing to pay someone to do it. You can easily charge $150 per month for social media management for one client, making it a great do-it-yourself job!
Writing e-books is a surefire way to work from home and for yourself, so long as you know how to write, get your product out, and don’t necessarily want a job!
Perhaps you have some technical knowledge or experience that is worth sharing. Writing an e-book and selling it on Amazon or online elsewhere, is a great way to work for yourself. Keep in mind, you do need to know how to write. But if you can’t write, you can always type and work as a transcriptionist.
Do you like typing?
If you can type 70 words per minute, then consider becoming a transcriptionist which also means you can be your own boss! A transcriptionist is someone who listens to audios or even live meetings, and transcribes (writes) the spoken word!
You can check out our review of TranscribeMe here to learn more.
Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is one of the go-to jobs for someone who wants to work under their own rules. While you will need to hang your hat with some type of brokerage in most states, selling houses is a flexible and fun way to work for yourself that can also be lucrative!
After procuring your real estate license, you will have to grind to create a network and get your name out. But if you have grit, determination, and people skills – working for yourself in the real estate industry is a great idea.
Start a Blog
The ultimate work for yourself anywhere (and growing like crazy) niche is blogging. Starting a blog is a great way to make money, but also to create a viable business that offers you flexibility, time, leisure, and passion.
Now, blogging isn’t as easy as just slapping together some words on a post. Technical knowledge is necessary and learning how to monetize your blog is key. Starting a blog doesn’t mean you just quit your job, but if you want to learn about blogging start here.
How to Work for Yourself: A Tested Strategy
Working for yourself might seem scary. Self-employment means it falls on your shoulders, that is why you need to follow these proven steps before getting started:
Business Idea or Side Hustle
There are countless real ways to work from home and for yourself, but not all are created equal. If you plan on working for yourself, you will want to make sure you first test the waters with your side hustle or business idea.
With the internet, social media, and countless online resources such as the Fire Up Freelance course, you can educate yourself on your own time and slowly roll out your idea to test the waters, prior to jumping all in! Usually, it’s not a lack of ideas that holds most back, it’s following through on their ideas and making it happen.
That is why it’s not a bad idea to ease into things in your spare time and grow into them!
After you have your feet wet as far as working on your own goes, you will want to start to devise your escape plan, aka “Exit Strategy.” This can vary for everyone, but your exit plan could include:
- A specific 3-6 month monetary average
- The appropriate amount of clients deemed necessary to quit your job
- Enough saved up to take the leap (one-year expenses)
Whatever metric you decide to leverage to see when it’s appropriate to say deuces to your manager make sure you have a plan on how you will spend your days working as an entrepreneur.
Proof of Concept
Similar to your escape plan, proof of concept is a fancy of way saying your business idea works or is well on its way to working. The idea of freedom and working from a bench sounds great, heck even being a freelance sounds great, but you need to make sure it will work for you.
There should be some sort of proof whether it’s an email sub list, page views, or money that allows you to step back from your 9-5.
Robert Kiyosaki has a great book, “Before You Quit Your Job” in which he details the steps to take before you up and leave your place of work. One of those being in a good financial situation.
If you have tons of debt, it might be harder to quit your job vs. if you have at least 6 months in a savings account. Lessening the demand for finances is going to be needed when you first start out on your own!
Many people who work from home have the same complaint – it gets lonely. Even as a blogger, blogging can be very lonely at times and even boring. You will want to join networking groups to help your business venture, but also to help yourself with support.
Be it online groups, courses, continuing education – be sure you get support and don’t think you won’t need any!
Motivation and Belief in Yourself
Belief in yourself is a must to make anything great happen, including firing your superior! If you don’t think you can cut the mustard, chances are you won’t. You will have to grow yourself continually to stay motivated and keep the faith!
Determination and Grit
It won’t be easy working solo and for yourself. You will need to be determined, mindful of your weaknesses, and unshakable in the face of distractions. As a business owner, possessing the ability to stay focused even when things don’t seem to be going well is a must.
Tips for Succeeding as Your Own Boss
Stick to a Schedule
This should go without saying, but being your own boss means you get to make your own schedule yes, but you have to start by at least having a schedule! Many new business owners quickly find out that a business owner’s day is longer than the employee’s day.
You have more things to do, tasks to accomplish, and items that need to be done when you work for yourself, so creating and sticking to a schedule is vital!
You need to stay organized if you want to know how to work for yourself. Organization might actually be the number one piece of advice we can offer. From making your schedule (above) to delegating tasks (below), you will want to stay organized.
Staying organized goes beyond just filing papers and having your pens color-coded though. In fact, this is not really what an organization is. Being organized as an entrepreneur/business owner means you spend the majority of your time doing the most important tasks.
It can not be overcommunicated that it’s very simple to get caught in a rut of doing tedious tasks over and over again because there is always something to do! Consider using some of the following techniques to help you stay organized and efficient:
- Use the Eisenhower box
- Make a list of your Top 3 Daily items
- Read 12 Week Year
- Use the 80/20 rule
Have a Dedicated Workspace
Most small business owners and those working from home do it from the comfort of their home office or lack thereof. In other words, be sure to have a dedicated workspace so you can separate work and home life.
Working solo has its pros, but one of the cons is that it can sometimes follow you everywhere you go. From your phone to your laptop, be sure to do your best to have a designated workspace so you can focus, be productive, and when it’s time to call it quits – be done with your work!
Parents know this, but you want to make sure you plan for anything and everything, which is also why having a designated workspace can make planning easier, mitigating distractions possible, and getting things done.
Entrepreneurs that succeed are great at delegating. Those who fail tend to have issues letting go of control and they quickly overwhelm themselves. It takes a special person to be a business owner and self-employment isn’t for anyone.
A great business idea is just a start, as being successful as a business owner means landing clients, promoting services, or leveraging your skills. This also means learning how to delegate tedious tasks like email, web design, invoicing, and other items to someone else like a virtual assistant.
In your day job, you don’t delegate, but a successful business owner does.
Give Yourself Breaks
Whether it’s a five-minute break every hour or you use something like the tomato timer, be sure you give yourself breaks when you work for yourself. The slippery slope of overworking becomes very real when you are your own manager, so it’s a great habit to plan in breaks and make use of efficiently chunking your time.
Don’t forget a break also means a few days off, heck even a week from time to time! Many self-employed persons and entrepreneurs find themselves coveting freedom and flexibility by getting out from under a boss/job, only to become consumed by their own business/job. If you started your own business to have more freedom, don’t forget that, and be sure to take time for yourself in the form of travel and leisure and completely disconnect!
Health is wealth, but it’s also productivity, energy, and long term. When you make the jump to being your own boss, it’s easy to get bogged down with all the things you need to get done. Quickly, health can fall further and further down the totem pole.
Do your best to have a consistent workout schedule and consider breaking up work stretches with a quick walk. Exercise will release endorphins that make you feel energized and when you feel better, you will perform better.
Keep in mind that what you eat and drink matters too! A few too many sodas working on your home can become an issue, so be mindful of your intake.
How to Work For Yourself: Final Snapshot
Author and former NYT Journalist Malcolm Gladwell wrote an interesting piece back in 2009 in which he discussed the similarities between predicting a teacher’s success and an NFL Quarterback. At first, you may be surprised by the comparison, but as Gladwell so eloquently states in his conclusion:
You just don’t know until they get in the classroom and teach, or on the game field and play quarterback.
The same logic should be considered when approaching the thought of working for yourself. While making the successful leap from employed to self-employed, numerous questions will arise in addition to thoughts of indecision.
Chances are, you will find yourself weighing the pros and cons of working for yourself over and over again, worry about finances and money, factoring in the costs of not having benefits, all the while asking yourself, “Am I really made to work for myself?”
Yet, on the other hand, you have time, freedom, choice, flexibility, options, and the ability to earn more than you could ever imagine if you take the risk to start a business and/or work on your own. That said, it’s vital to take these four lessons with you:
- Consider an exit plan
- Weigh all the scenarios of working for yourself (both good and bad)
- Consider taking a course prior to making the leap
- Have adequate financial means to make it happen
Ultimately, as Gladwell states, you won’t know how much you love (or don’t like) working for yourself until you try it. Just like the teachers and quarterbacks of the world!
Ready to work for yourself? We’ll lead the way in Fire Up Freelance.
Samantha uses her BS in Finance and MBA to help others control their finances through budgeting, saving, investing, side hustles, and travel hacking. Due to following the FIRE Movement’s principles, she was able to quit her high-stress job in the financial services industry in July 2019 to pursue her side hustles. She is now a full-time entrepreneur, freelancing coach, and blogger.