I’ve been working for myself for almost six months now, I almost can’t believe it. It’s been a whirlwhind of an adventure, and though it sounds a little cliche, I really couldn’t be happier. I wish I could tell all you full time 9-5ers that quitting your job and working for yourself isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but in fact it is! I love everything about it. But I guess, to be fair, there are a few cons to being your own boss. And just so those of you who haven’t taken the plunge yet can get a good picture of what it’s really like, here are both the pros and cons of being your own boss.
Lots of Time
One amazing thing about working for yourself is all the time you have. If you stay out late on a weeknight and need to sleep in the next day to get some time back, you can. If you need to wake up really early to catch a yoga class, you can. If you need to take an entire day off to take a break and get back some mental clarity, you can (though don’t say I told you so). The best thing about being your own boss is that you are in charge of your schedule. You can devote as much or as little time to every task as you’d like.
One not so amazing thing about working for yourself is all the time you have. It’s hard to stay productive and stick to a schedule when you have no one checking on on your or tracking your progress. In my first few months as a freelancer I slept in too late, started working way too slowly, and lost motivation far too early in the day. But, now that I’ve been at it a little while I’m out of the honeymoon stage and I’m getting used to waking up at the same time every day, setting a schedule, and getting things done (though my schedule is still super flexible when it needs to be).
One of the best things about working for yourself is that there is no commute. You roll out of bed and you’re already at the office. You don’t need to waste time getting dressed up or doing your hair for work. You can take breaks when you want to, and work late if you have to, without ever having to worry about the commute or getting home late or any of the stuff normal people have to worry about.
One of the worst things about working for yourself is that there is no commute. You roll out of bed and you’re already at the office, and this makes it really hard to separate your work and home life. For me, I don’t even have a separate room for my office, my bed and desk are a few feet from eachother. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my work space, but it does get pretty hard to stay focused. Working from home means that I get dangerously distracted by awful daytime TV, and I can jam out to the same song on repeat for hours. It also means that I end up wearing the same comfy clothes for days at a time when I don’t leave the house. Though, as of late I’ve been making an effort to go out of the house and work in a coffee shop or something like that when I can. This changes things up and makes me feel like I actually have to get some work done.
Set Your Own Schedule
One of my favourite parts about working from home is that I can set my own schedule. I know this is very similar to having lots of time, but I mean it in the sense that you get to decide what you work on, when you work on it. Sure you have to prioritize certain jobs over others, but you get to choose what you’re feeling inspired by on that day, and then do it.
One of my least favourite parts about working from home is that I can set my own schedule. It’s a bit dangerous, because I really do like to be inspired when I work on something. This means that if I’m not feeling inspired, I just procrastinate doing it until the last minute when I don’t have a choice. Setting your own schedule is great, but it also means that there is no one else to set your schedule for you and prioritize your task list. Recently I’ve started trying to get things done way ahead of time and never waiting until the last minute.
You’re the Entire Company
A great part about working for yourself is that (in some cases) you’re the entire company. You are secretary, worker bee, CEO, accountant, business manager, and so much more. This means that you get to deal with the entire work process from start to finish. You get to choose your clients, and work with them all the way through, then you get to see the finished product and celebrate with them.
A not so great part about working for yourself is that (in some cases) you’re the entire company. Sometimes when I get going I just want to keep designing and work through a project all day long. But, since I don’t have anyone else on my team I also have to answer emails and do other administrative things. I can’t just stay in design mode like I want to, there are other things I have to think about. But lately I’ve started to prioritize and make sure I block out periods of time so I can get inspired, and work through a project when I want to, without having to take breaks to answer emails or do anything else.
The truth is that every element of entrepreneurship and working for yourself has its pros and cons, and you just have to learn how to manage your time and work through your issues. Being your own boss can be scary, but it can also be amazing. I worked at a grocery store for eight years, hating my job more and more every day, until one day I took the plunge and started working for myself. I’ve never looked back. I love what I do and I love doing it for myself. Though being your boss certainly isn’t for everyone, if you feel like it’s for you the try it out. Work towards it and do whatever it takes to take a chance on happiness – you won’t regret it.