Skip to Navigation

Is working for yourself all it’s cracked up to be? Many people believe it is, but as a self-employed person from a long line of self-employed people I’d say “Maybe”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love working for myself and wouldn’t have it any other way. It works for me and always has done, but it is not a recipe for freedom that many people aspire to, and if you are not careful leaving your job and becoming self-employed simply substitutes one set of problems (having to go to work, disliking your manager or boss, constant deadlines, mounting pressure, change upon change…) for others (paying the bills, generating business, overheads and running costs…).

But, for me, working for myself as a freelancer brings so many benefits that they easily outweigh the ‘real life’ aspects of paying bills (and taxes), being solely responsible for my success or failure, finding enough business, and all the rest.

I have had proper jobs, some good ones, and although I really enjoyed most of these stints in salary-land, ultimately I prefer being on my own with the freedom to do whatever I choose, and bear the consequences, good and bad.

It’s about mindset

Once you’ve understood that working for yourself means a totally new mindset and – at first at least working much harder – as long as you are the ‘self-employed type’ (see below), you’ll be on the road to success… maybe.

In the distant past I used to run workshops on making the move to self-employment, and more recently people have started to ask about this again, so I have been looking into it to see what’s available by way of guidance and advice. It’s been disappointing because, given that so many people aspire to creating a ‘lifestyle business’, there is precious little out there to help with the personal development aspects of making the shift.

What I’ve found in my research is that while there is plenty of information on the business aspects of working for yourself (banks, business plans, taxes and the rest), there is virtually nothing on the personal transformation needed for success. By ‘personal transformation’ I mean the psychological and emotional aspects of working for yourself, the practical considerations of managing your own time and the discipline and motivation needed when you work by yourself, particularly from home.

I am re-writing the workshop so sign up for my newsletter to find out when and how to join when I run on-line events. In the meantime, here are some considerations to check if self-employment would suit you.

  • Do you have an idea, concept or passion that you could build a business around?
  • Can you keep the ideas coming so that any failures can be replaced by new potential successes?
  • Can you get up and get on with your work, even on the days when you don’t want to?
  • Can you work on your own initiative, day after day, with no-one to guide you but yourself?
  • Are you prepared to commit to up to two years ‘learning the ropes’?
  • Can you survive on fluctuating income for a similar period?
  • Do you like your own company?
  • Do you have faith in your ideas, the confidence to apply them, and the initiative to ask for help when you get stuck?
  • Do you have the unstinting support of your spouse or partner?
  • Do you accept that failure, rejection and learning are as much a part of the process as earning, succeeding and recognition?

If you can answer “Yes” to half or more of these than I’d say go for it. Give yourself a time-limit and have a back-up plan. Part of succeeding in self-employment is understanding when to abandon or change an idea that isn’t working, so it’s about flexibility and open-mindedness as much as it is about dogged persistence and determination.

I hope this gives you food for thought, and if it does, sign up here to keep up to date with my free training events.


Latest from the blog

Stop trying and start doing

Do you ever catch yourself prefacing your good intentions with “I’ll try…”?

We all have lists of things we haven’t got round to doing anything about yet. It doesn’t matter how important these are or how serious you are, if you are not making anything happen they mean nothing.

If you are really serious about making things happen for yourself this post tells you one really vital thing you must do.

Continue reading

Walking on eggshells, how to discuss sensitive issues

Difficult conversations

Most of us are careful about how we tackle sensitive issues with colleagues and family members. This article provides some pointers on how to go about raising a subject you have been avoiding, to help tackle delicate matters in a productive, fair and balanced way, and to be sure of getting the results you need. Getting the other person’s attention, striking the right note and ensuring that something changes is the challenge.

Continue reading

More Is Not Necessarily Better

Is choice good for us?
When I was a kid crisps (chips if you are outside the UK), came in one variety, ready-salted. Now we have thirty-six varieties and counting.

Having many options is not necessarily better for us, in fact it can distract and limit us. Some say that limiting choice could actually make our lives better.

Continue reading
FREE DOWNLOAD - Get it now.

How to be more Resilient

Get my super-helpful guide '9 Steps to Resilience' absolutely FREE, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Understand the steps to resilience and you can develop the ability to cope with problems and setbacks with less stress and more confidence.
%d bloggers like this: