Working from home isn’t for everyone, but for those of us who do, it is hard to ever thing of going back to working a 9 to 5 job. There are so many benefits on either side of this question, for sure. And to be even handed, I wanted to talk about both sides of the coin.
A friend of mine, Peter Beckenham, put it this way:
The entrepreneur’s journey...
Work while they sleep
Learn while they party
Invest while they spend
Live like they dream
The cons of working for yourself:
- You don’t have anyone to blame when things go wrong. Since you are making your own decisions and setting your own schedule, when things go wrong (and they will) you can’t point the finger at anyone but yourself. (By the same token, you get to take all the credit too).
- Your income tomorrow depends on your activity today. You can’t just “set it and forget it”. Regardless of the business you chose to do, automation can do just so much. Even when you have a business where you get recurring fees from your customers, you have to keep them happy and keep them motivated to continue to make that payment each month. So, even though you can control your schedule and choose your hours, what you do determines your next check.
- People don’t see your work as a “real job”. For this reason, even though they would never call you when you were working for someone else, they say to themselves, “I can call Bonnie. She works from home so she isn’t doing anything important.” I know it doesn’t come out that way, but the prevailing attitude seems to be that somehow someone who works from home doesn’t mind being interrupted to chat or the like. For this reason, it’s important to set regular business hours and let your friends and family know when you need to be uninterrrupted. The corollary to this attitude is that they say things like “his little business” or “that business you work on”. (Sigh. Even making a good income that shows you are doing well, this attitude doesn’t seem to change.
- You may find it difficult to stay motivated some days. Even when you know there are bills to pay, even when you know you have work to be done, there is no one “cracking the whip” to keep you going. People who work for themselves may find there are days when you just want to play hookey. The danger here is when it becomes a habit. Staying motivated and keeping yourself at the top of your game can be draining. For this reason, owning your own business requires some self-discipline that can be difficult to maintain.
The pros of working for yourself:
- You get to call the shots. One of the frustrations of working for other people is that you can often see things that should be done differently and you have no power to implement them. When you own your own business and work for yourself, you make all the decisions. Of course this means you are responsible for the outcome. (See the first “con”._
- You get to set your schedule. This is important for a number of reasons. Depending on the type of business you own, it means you can possibly work outside of “normal” business hours. If you are an insomniac, as I am, it means you can work at 4 am, if you’d like. It also means you can be there for all of your kid’s softball games or recitals and can take your vacations when and for however long you wish, as long as you have all your bases covered.
- You never have to ask for a raise. You determine how much you make and there are no “glass ceilings” in a business you own. It all depends on the work you are willing to put in and how good you are at it. When you want a raise, you add a new client or launch a new product, with all the appropriate activity that entails. You are in control of your income based on the effort and time you invest (and the know how it takes to make it happen.)
- You can wear what you want. Although this isn’t necessarily true for all self-owned businesses, those of us who work from home, can choose to be as informal as we choose. The old “make money in your pajamas” cliche isn’t too far from wrong. I get dressed up when I need to, but mostly I hang out in my sweats and a tshirt when I’m working. The only “dress code” is the one you set for yourself.
I know there are more in both the pro and the cons column, but these are my favorites. What about you? What do you consider the pros and cons of owning your own business? I’d love t ohear from you in the comments. In closing, this pretty much sums the whole working for someone else thing. I saw the video below and it made me remember how much I appreciate working for myself from my home: