10 Reasons You Should Not Be Self-Employed

The idea of being self-employed is appealing to a lot of people. I mean look at how quickly the industry is growing. Unfortunately, for every successful business owner there are 100 more that fail. This isn’t a post to discourage anyone from pursuing a career in self-employment. This is me waving around the red flags for some to see that this way of life might not be in their best interest. Seriously, not everyone is cut out to work on their own. Not sure if that’s you? Well keep reading. You probably shouldn’t be self-employed if:

1. You still have an employee mindset.

As a business owner, you should always see yourself as such. Those who are or are looking to become self-employed should be thinking like they’re in charge, because they are. While it’s okay to consult others on ideas, you have to remember you make the ultimate decision. If you’re still stuck on having an overseer, a supervisor of any sort, you might not be ready to venture out on your own.

2. You think it’ll be easy

Sometimes people go into self-employment because they think it’ll be easier than holding a full-time job. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While it can be 300% more fulfilling than full-time employment, it comes at a hefty price. Blood, sweat, and tears go into running your own business. (For me it’s primarily tears, but I’ve digressed.)

3. You lack time-management skills

This is a very big deal when you’re self-employed. It’s nearly impossible to gauge your success without keeping track of the time you’re spending in all areas of your business. It goes way beyond tracking time spent working for clients, which is arguably the most important time to be tracked. You also have to consider time spent on marketing, social media, blogging, and whatever else is necessary to move your business forward. Most times it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and that’s primarily because on those days you didn’t manage your time properly. Sorry to be the one to break it to you.

4. You have no self-discipline

When I think of self-discipline, my first thought goes to social media. Maybe it’s because I’m young, or maybe it’s because I know just how much time people waste on Facebook. In either regard, when you’re self-employed, you absolutely, positively have to be able to control yourself. Once you deviate from your day’s plans, it’s hard to get yourself back on track. If you’re consistently finding yourself stepping away from your desk for snack breaks or that 3-day-long Law & Order binge-a-thon, this might be your downfall.

5. Not self-motived OR you’re a workaholic

These are two sides of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, lacking the ability to motivate yourself is absolutely one of the worst traits you could have while being self-employed. If you can’t push yourself to make things happen, you won’t grow in your business.

Alternatively, being a workaholic is far from a better option. Although as a business owner all of your time is valuable, you have to be able to get out of work mode. You can’t run yourself ragged by working 24/7. After a while, it becomes counterproductive. It’s kind of like using too much hand sanitizer. If you use too much of it, it stops working.

6. You’re a “Yes Man”

I’m sure we’ve all seen “Yes Man,” the glorious comedy starring Jim Carrey (who happens to be the love of my life). In case you haven’t, it’s all about one poor sap who usually finds himself saying no to just about everything. One day he challenges himself to say “yes” to everything for an entire year. Not such a smart idea. Unlike the movie, being a “Yes Man” in the self-employment world will not always work out for the best. An inability to say no to certain things, i.e. troublesome clients, could pose a huge problem. Sometimes saying no is the only option if you want to keep your business (and your sanity) functioning. This is actually a problem I had when I first started and I quickly realized “no” had to be added to my vocabulary. If it’s not in yours, reconsider working for yourself.

7. You can’t handle rejection

Rejection is not uncommon in this line of work. Leads don’t fall into your lap as soon as you declare that you’re self-employed. Once you do get your hands on a few solid leads, it’s not a guaranteed contract right off the bat. Hard work goes into sealing the deal. Oftentimes there will be quite a few phone interviews, follow-up emails, and contract revisions. Even with all this, a client may still decide to go with someone else. This is a huge blow for many, myself included. No one likes to hear “no” from a potential client, but you should still be able to pick yourself up and keep chugging along. We all hear it every once in a while. If you don’t think you can take that, self-employment isn’t for you.

8. The thought of fickle pay periods frightens you

Every self-employed person knows that paychecks aren’t always a sure thing. Unlike being employed full time, you don’t get a check every two weeks on the dot. Sometimes clients pay late or don’t pay in full. Some months you may not have any work at all. Trust me, no one likes a dry spell, but they happen nonetheless. This is definitely a big problem for some of those looking to become self-employed. I’m telling you, turn around and don’t look back if this is something you’re not ready to handle.

9. You don’t manage stress well (or at all)

Self-employment will inevitably come with a shitload of stress. There’s no question about that. You’re responsible for making all of the key decisions regarding your business. You take care of your marketing. You have to make all the right connections. You have to bring in clients. It sits heavy on your shoulders for a while until business really picks up. And even then there comes another bout of stress. You have to manage your clients, keep them happy, keep them paying, and all sorts of other headaches. I can feel your bodies tensing up while you’re reading this. That’s a bad sign right there. Stress management is a mandatory skill if you’re going into business for yourself.

10. You don’t love your work

You have to love your work to run your own business. I mean really love your work. It’s easy to be employed by a company and not love your job. You get paid, right? Well take a look at all the things I just listed. If you don’t love your work to the moon and back, there’s no way in hell you’ll be willing to put up with everything else involved with running your own business.

Being self-employed is a big deal. There’s a lot of work involved, and if you’re not willing to get your hands dirty and gain a few gray hairs from it, you should stick to being on payroll.


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