Being self-employed is great. It’s liberating and empowering and convenient and just all-round brilliant but that doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games. In many ways, being self-employed is extremely difficult (at least to start with); much more challenging than working a conventional 9-5 job at least. There are countless questions you need to ask yourself and many more worries about how to make the most of your time and your product or service.
To help those of you considering whether to go self-employed or not, here are three of the most important questions that any self-employed individual will need to consider.
What Happens if it All Goes Wrong?
Since 2013, Ireland has seen a very gentle decrease in the percentage of the labour force who are self-employed. There are so many different variables involved that it’s impossible to know what has caused this decrease, though a good part of those people who stop being self-employed tried it but simply couldn’t make it work.
Whilst being negative never helped anyone, it’s still important to have a backup plan prepared just in case your self-employment business venture doesn’t work out. There is much less of a safety net when you’re running your own business, particularly if that business is just you. From a blogger’s perspective, what happens if tomorrow there’s a technological advancement that makes blogs defunct? What if the internet becomes outdated by something even more impressive and blogs just instantaneously die out? Not all bloggers have partners or family that can support them, so they would be in real trouble if something like this happened.
This example is an extreme one but in certain industries, all it takes is one discovery to revolutionise how things are done and destroy businesses. When you’re going to become self-employed, you simply must create some form of safety net for yourself, either through storing some savings or having family who are willing to help if it doesn’t work out.
How Do I Manage My Finances?
Not all of us are educated in common business practices and even fewer have ever been trained in how to keep business accounts. Becoming self-employed means that you have to take your finance and money management knowledge from “I should save some money here and there,” to “I should budget, prepare my taxes, learn loan legislation, track expenditure, regularly review my transactions, track changes to supply prices…” and the list goes on.
When you invest in your skills and start a small business or engage in self-employment, these financial skills aren’t taught to you. You have to learn them in your own time without a teacher and that’s a challenge! If anything, the best advice is to try and learn the basics before you leave your current employment, preparing you for the future. There’s nothing worse than diving in head first and realising you haven’t learnt how to swim yet.
For Irish government self-employment tax guidelines click here.
Rent an Office or Work from Home?
Depending on your business, this question might not be relevant but for many it’s very important. There are a variety of different factors to consider when deciding to invest in an office. Firstly, will you need to work with staff or meet customers on a regular basis? Collaboration with team members can be very difficult over the internet and you want a professional setting for meetings with customers. Similarly, your home can be full of distractions that make focusing on work much more difficult. A dedicated office can give you a huge boost to productivity, though it really depends on your business and your needs. There are countless office spaces available in all sorts of styles and you can see more here.
If you’re thinking about self-employment (or even if you already are self-employed), these questions should help you prepare for the future and succeed. Be sure to research more before settling on a business strategy! There’s no such thing as being overprepared with this sort of thing.