Are You Ready to Be Self-Employed? Let’s Figure It Out

Maybe you’re tired of the long commute, or you’ve had it up to here with your grumpy boss and weekend overtime. Perhaps some of your friends are self-employed and speak highly of it, or maybe you are ready for something new in your work life. No matter what your reasons may be, if you’re thinking seriously about taking the plunge into the world of self-employment, make sure you weigh the pros and cons before making the leap. Here are a few things you should consider before starting your own business:

Your time is your own…most of the time

One of the main plusses of being your own boss is setting your own hours and even your own location to work. If you need an afternoon off to tackle some of your holiday shopping, it’s usually pretty easy to schedule your work in the morning and night. Moms and dads who don’t want to miss out on their kids’ field trips can typically schedule these fun activities around deadlines and work phone calls, and if you have a hankering to work at your local Starbucks on your laptop, have at it.

To be fair, these flexible hours come with a price — usually in the form of working really early in the morning or late at night to catch up on your projects. And while people who work for another person can often leave work behind when they are done for the day, self-employed people may have difficulty turning their work buttons off. You’ll find yourself looking for pockets of time to send a few emails or call a new client.

Tax time can be tricky

While most people who work at traditional jobs get a W-2 form that reports their wages, self-employed and contractor folks either have to keep track of their own earnings or receive a 1099 form. The main drawback of 1099s is that taxes are not withheld, so you have to be highly disciplined throughout the year and set money aside to pay the tax man come April.

Another thing that makes self-employed taxes tricky is the deductions you might be able to claim, especially for a home office. Most people are not familiar with the complicated tax laws and might be missing out on helpful deductions. Your best bet is to ask around and hire an accountant who is experienced with self-employed people to do your taxes for you.

How to get started in the world of self-employment

A great way to transition between your current job and self-employment is to keep your full-time position until your new business gets off the ground. Granted, this will require some long days and working on the weekend, but it will also eliminate the worry that you won’t have enough money to pay your bills.

If you are not sure exactly what you want to do, you can always test the waters to see if entrepreneurship is right for you. You could get your self-employed feet wet working for Amway, which Forbes notes is the 30th largest private company in the U.S. You should also think about any talents or interests you have that you can turn into a successful business venture. For example, with the right talents you could launch a freelance career as a writer, photographer or graphic designer. Catering and event planning make for good solo careers, too.


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