AFRICANGLOBE – There is an obvious appeal to being your own boss.
You can decide not only what you do but also how, when and where you do it running your own firm – at least in theory.
Adrian Ellis, start up manager at business group St Helens Chamber, shared his tips on the ups and downs of being freelance.
He said a key attraction for some is flexibility – as it can often give more freedom to manage your time as you wish.
Many people also want to found a business that means something to them, building on a great idea or unique set of skills.
Running it yourself can mean there is no need to align your work with what your boss wants, or to get things signed off by people who might not share your vision or approach.
Mr Ellis suggested self-employed people’s earnings are also usually – but certainly not always – higher than people doing the same job for someone else.
But there are often clear drawbacks too.
Mr Ellis said: “One of the first things we do with anyone who comes to see us about starting a business is give them a reality check.
“There can be a lot of financial instability when you first start and you may not always get a regular income, so you have to make sure you can plan for this.”
Working to meet the needs of customers, clients, suppliers and others may also limit your actual choice about when, where and what you do.
He said fewer than half of start-ups survive their first five years of trading – so a strong business plan and unique selling point are crucial.
He added: “The other big factor is that you’re ‘it’. You have to be all things in all departments.
“There is often no-one else there to run decisions past, no one to delegate to, and no one to cover for you when you’re ill.”
He said this can be hard work, and working on your own can also lead to loneliness.
But he said: “Moving into self-employment can be hugely beneficial. It gives you the autonomy to do things your way, which can be a huge bonus for people who have spent years working for others.
“My advice would be to make sure you don’t go it alone. There is lots of expert support available locally through a European project called the Enterprise Hub.”
By: Tom Belger