There is an attraction to some people of going self-employed. However, it is something which should be done with caution. There are lots of advantages but there are also disadvantages too. We need to consider both so that we are sure that it is the right decision for us.


If you are self-employed you are your own boss, you may freelance and work for other people, but at the end of the day it is up to you what you do. This means that you can choose your working hours, how hard you work and what you do. This gives you an element of freedom that you do not get with employment.

You are also able to charge what you wish for the goods or services that you provide. This means that you will be able to potentially get more money than you would if you were doing the same thing from an employer.

You could potentially do work as self-employed alongside your normal job and you might therefore be able to make some additional money.


Unfortunately, there are rather more disadvantages than advantages. Firstly, although you can choose your own hours, you will probably find that you will have to work more hours than in a conventional job. This is because you will not only be providing the good or service, but you will also be having to do the accounts, marketing and other paperwork that perhaps other people would do when you were employed. You also have to find the work, so either that means that you have to find people that are happy to pay for your services or buy the goods that you are selling.

If you can charge more then you will get more income but you will also have to potentially pay out more too. You may need premises, you may have transport costs, you might have to buy stock, employ people and you will have to save money up so that you can pay your tax at the end of the year. You will also not get paid holidays, or if you are unwell or for appointments either so you will need that extra money to cover those things too.

You have to be really motivated and driven as well. If you are the sort of person that needs someone to constantly nag you to get on with your work, then this will not work for you. If you are the only person responsible for doing anything, you will need to make sure that you get on with it. You might think you will be motivated, but it can be tricky to keep plugging away, especially if you are doing things like accounts, ordering stock, website design or promotion which may just not be something you are that interested in.

If you want to be self-employed alongside your regular job, you will have to check with your employer. Some companies do not allow this at all and some will allow it only if what you are doing is very different to what you do when you are employed. It is a risk going self-employed. There are many things that you will have to learn and it is a good idea to learn all of these before you start up. This is because once you get going, you could find that you will be really busy and there will not be time to be thinking about the new skills that you need to learn. This could mean that you make mistakes which could be costly. The freedom that you get with regards to what jobs you take on and what hours you work could be offset by the lack of stability that not having a guaranteed income can bring. It is therefore, well worth thinking hard about whether this will be the right thing for you. 

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