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The life of the self-employed – what is it really like?

We all have that idealistic image of self employed workers. They wake up at midday, check their emails from bed, boss a few people around, spend the rest of the day engaged indulging in their passion and hobby that they’ve somehow managed to turn into a business, and rake in a whole lot of money doing it. But in reality, for most people, being self-employed is a long way from the dream. Here are some of the working-for-yourself truths:

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More flexibility…

It’s true that the self employed can work when and where they choose. For those with other commitments, such as looking after family, this is one of the greatest parts of being your own boss. However, if anything is ever to get done, the self-employed have to develop some serious self-discipline to stop them abusing their own flexibility.

Less authority…

…or, in other words, no one bossing you around. This is many employees’ dream, but there are side effects to having no boss. Apart from having to enforce self discipline, anyone who is their own boss also has to learn to be accountable for any and all decisions and errors that they make.

Increased responsibility…

…which means increased liability. If things go wrong and you’re self employed, it’s your neck on the line. Liability insurance for the self employed is absolutely crucial for the protection of the individual and their company.

Greater scope for change…

If you’re in charge of your own company, you have the power to do with it, your time, and your energy as you please. This is great for the energetic entrepreneur, or the careful analyst who can always see what improvements need to be made. However, it also requires clear decision making abilities. When the possibilities are endless, indecisiveness can be the death of a perfectly feasible company, and a hazy outlook can ruin its effectiveness.

More direct financial results…

If you’re self employed, and your company does well, you’ll get direct financial benefit. However, the financial risks involved in being self-employed are greatly increased. You’ll feel any losses personally, and, if the worst comes to the worst and things don’t work out, there won’t be anyone paying you a tidy severance package.

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