Making the choice to be self-employed

Self-employment is where you are your own boss, you do all or most of the work yourself and you decide how you want to do things in your business.

Being self-employed is not right for everyone. It can be hard work. Sometimes it can mean working long hours, although you may be able to choose when to work those hours.  Some things you may find hard include:

  • No-one to manage you or provide motivation or moral support unless you have a business mentor.
  • If you work alone, it may be lonely at times.
  • It may be more stressful as you have more responsibility.
  • You will have to undertake all aspects of running a business, including financial considerations such as cash flow, tax, and pension arrangements.

There are lots of good things about being self-employed or running your own small business though. Including:

  • Flexibility and choice to work the way you want to.
  • Independence and freedom.
  • Increased job satisfaction because you are doing something you are passionate about.
  • A better fit if you are unable to stick to a rigid routine.

Most people start by thinking about what they are good at or what they are interested in. Thinking about it and talking to people about what ideas they have can also help. Knowing who your support circle is can help. Hear the artist Robin Meader talk about working within his support circle.

It is really important to know that lots of businesses are not successful. Even if you plan your business idea really well things could still go wrong. People who set up a business often have to try some different ideas before they find the right one for them.

One of the most important parts of a business is to make sure it earns enough money to pay the bills, and to buy new products or materials.

If you are worried you may need help with your business, there are organisations that can advise and help you; see the links in Other information.


Last reviewed: October 6, 2023 by Sophie

Next review due: April 6, 2024

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