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Is self-employment a holiday?

Number of self employed workers in the UK has recently soared to a 20-year high

Gulf News

Many of you may dream about being self-employed, being independent, not being answerable to anyone, deciding your own working hours and taking as many holidays as you want. However, that may not be the reality of the self-employed person’s work/life balance!

The number of self employed workers in the UK has recently soared to a 20-year high of 4.1 million [which is 12% of the population] according to the Office for National Statistics.

However, when the self-employed person does eventually get away from work, the chances are they can’t switch-off because they are worried about their business, concerned in case they miss that big order they have been chasing for months and the loss of earnings associated with it. They may actually miss being in front of the computer screen!

So is being self-employed the rosy picture it is sometimes painted? Well, for many it is but those are individuals who are disciplined, organised and are resilient to the knocks when they inevitably take place.

An increasing number of the population are choosing to become self-employed for many reasons – they could be disillusioned working for someone else and never seeing the rewards themselves, or feeling insecure in their job and they don’t want to be called into the office to be told they have been made redundant!

However, self-employment is not right for everyone and, as with any decision that you make in life, you have to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages.

Personality

Are you right person to go solo? Do you have the right character and personality?

Can you get up in the morning and motivate yourself to start work or will you get caught up with coffee and the morning newspaper before you even get moving. If this sounds like you, then you can probably kiss goodbye to getting your own business off the ground by working from home.

Networking

When you are working in a company or public organisation, networking was probably not an essential activity, unless perhaps you were in sales. However, when running a business from home, networking, either face to face or via the professional business network LinkedIn is an essential component to growing your business.

Being resilient

Not every quotation or tender for a contract is going to win. You may have spent hours writing a proposal, formatting it beautifully and costing it competitively. You then receive an email asking you to present your proposal before the client. Two weeks go by and then you receive a short, cursory email to say that your proposal was unsuccessful. No reason was given and you feel really disappointed and depressed. When that happens, do you have what it takes to pick yourself up and dust yourself down and move on or are you going to wish you had never given up your nice comfortable job with a monthly salary?

Working when you please

Sounds great doesn’t it? But being self-employed may mean that you work longer hours, not shorter. You work at weekends. You get up at 6am to take an international skype call. When you have finished, you have clients to see, meetings to attend, emails to answer and phone calls to return. In fact, you don’t start ‘actual work’ until after lunch and then you have to leave to collect your daughter from school and as you drive there, you wonder where the day went!

Work wherever you like

Well, in theory you can. You can pick up your laptop and work in the park, on the beach or in your car. But in reality, you will probably need your office and a seat that is adjusted to the right setting – plus having that internet connection working immediately!

So if all of the above hasn’t put you off becoming self-employed, then maybe you are the right calibre of person to go for it! I personally love it. I know I work very hard – probably harder than if I worked for someone else. But despite all the challenges, I could not imagine working in any other way and I love it.

So if this is the way you really want to go but are not sure, then drop me an email and let’s chat about it.

The author is a BBC Guest-Broadcaster and Motivational Speaker. She is CEO of an international Stress Management consultancy and her new book, ‘Show Stress Who’s Boss!’ is available in all good bookshops

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