More people in the UK are self-employed now than ever before. The number of people of self-employed workers in the UK increased from 3.8 million in 2008 to 4.6 million in 2015, an increasing trend started in the early 2000's.
Making the choice to become self-employed is a gamble however. While there are advantages to working for an employer, for some people, the advantages of self-employment make it the right choice for them.
If you're thinking of making the move to self-employment, this article will help lay out some of the key benefits and downsides:
#1 More Independence
Noone likes being told what to do. While being your own boss isn't easy, if you can make a good name for yourself in your trade, being self-employed can give you much more flexibility and freedom than working under someone else. In fact, 87% of self-employed people say they have more freedom to do the things they want to at work.
#2 Flexible Working Hours
While tradesmen often end up working a lot of hours (especially during busy seasons), the ability to choose when you work is invaluable. If you need to drop the kids off at school that day or need to take the dog to the vets, you can easily work this into your schedule a lot easier than trying to get the time off when working for someone else.
#3 Choose Better Jobs
Not answering to a boss also means you can sometimes afford to turn down work you don't like the look/sound of. There will be times when you're short of cash and will have to take on work you don't like, so bear in mind that while beggers can't be choosers, smart workers can.
#1 No Guarantee of Work
When working for someone else, a 9-5 job is pretty consistent. Going self-employed doesn't always have this advantage. It's a bit like London buses, you could be waiting around for work for ages then one day 3 jobs come out of nowhere. While you don't work for an employer, your customers ultimately end up becoming your boss in a way.
#2 Extra (Unpaid) Work
Becoming your own boss is a big challenge. Not only do you have to continue to work hard and leave the customer satisfied, you also have to take on other peoples' jobs. On top of the work you're used to, you need to be able to:
- Fill out legal paperwork
- Deal with finances
- Create marketing material
- Keep on top of the latest developments and standards in your trade
- Project manage
- Provide great customer service from start to finish
- Manage your reputation and more.
#3 The Lonely Times
One of the best things about work is working alongside people you can have a laugh with. One of the biggest complaints from self-employed workers is the lack of social life. Expanding your business to the point where you can hire other people is the ideal situation to be in, but getting to that point requires a lot of hard work, and for much of it, without coworkers to discuss the work with.
Too much paperwork has been shown to make people pull this face: