On being self-employed

I came across this old Entrepreneur article about Top 10 Reasons to Start a Business in a Recession. If you are considering going solo, it’s worth a read. I’ve been self-employed since 2007. I will say it was one of the best (but difficult) decision I’ve ever made. After 4 years, I know that I can never go back to working for someone again. (Okay, so I do have a price, but no one would ever pay me that much so I’ll stick with self-employment.)

Wickipedia defines Self-employment as “working for one’s self.” It distinguishes self-employment and being a business owner.

“To be self-employed is not the same as being a business owner: A business owner is not required to be hands-on with the day-to-day operations of his or her company, while self-employed person has to utilize a very hands-on approach in order to survive.”

Using that definition, I am in the crossroad of self-employment and business owner.

Being self-employed means you not only have to be good at your craft, but also at running a successful business. It’s simply not enough to be a brilliant writer, photographer, lawyer, accountant, hair dresser, or financial advisor. You also have to master things like marketing, business licenses, taxes, payroll, reconciling your bank account – you get the idea. The list is endless.

The past 4 years has been a grueling experience and I’ve learned so much. I’m also very grateful that we beat the odds* and have managed to stay afloat and grow our practice.  *According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 44% of businesses survive the first 4 years in business.

So, for those of you who have also beat the odds, what have you learned from self-employment? Why did you decide to fly solo? What’s the best and worst part of being self-employed?


Image credit: Shorts and Longs | The Both And

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily Suess August 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I think the best part of being self-employed (part-time, in my case) is the opportunity to focus on goals that are truly mine. Not the goals of my boss, department, or the goals of the company. It’s fulfilling. And that makes up for all the grueling hard work involved. 🙂


Jeena Cho August 4, 2011 at 12:18 am

I agree. For me, it’s having control over my own destiny (and not relying on anyone else to sign my paycheck).


jessica August 4, 2011 at 1:08 am

Great post, as you know I am on the journey towards self-employment so appreciate your thoughts!


Jeena Cho August 4, 2011 at 2:01 am

Stay tuned. I’ve got some great tips from my favorite self-employed people coming up. I think by sharing the journey towards self-employment, all of us benefit.


Grumpy Grateful Mom August 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm

My husband is self-employed for his main job and s there have been a lot of ups and downs, I think he would have a difficult time working in a regular job. It’s definitely nice to make the decisions, so long as you are disciplined enough to do the work. 😉


Liz August 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm

While my husband works for a large corporation, he works out of the home and has for 8 years. He has said many a time that he can never imagine going back into an office and working in that situation. So I *get* why you say that you can’t imagine working for someone else again.


Jeena Cho August 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm

My husband and I have a business together and we jokingly talk about what our “price” is (to go back into corporate world). And there is a $ figure we have in mind but no one would ever pay us that much. So, we stick with self-employment. I’m sitting in my PJ’s reading blogs, sipping coffee and listening to music at 9:17 AM. That’s *almost* priceless. 🙂


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