In my career life I have changed many paths: I have been independent and I have been employed and I have been both at the same time. What are the benefits of going solo? Sure, there is security in knowing for sure where your next paycheck is coming from and how much it will be. Plus the comforts of a safety net if something goes wrong, with a company’s team of lawyers and HR department meant to keep you safe from any disputes.
But on the downside, you are working for someone else. You could lose your job at any time, due either to your own error or downsizing. There is a set of rules and standards that you may not agree with that have to be followed. You lack any flexibility in your life as you conform to their schedule. These are just a few cons to weigh against the pros of having a 9 – 5 job working for someone else.
Most of us have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, or at least taking things into our own hands and freelancing full time. But so few of us actually take the step to do it. Why? Generally, it is fear of failure or the risk involved in getting started. What if it doesn’t work out? How will you support yourself or your family? Will that failed attempt look bad if you actually decide to go back to a regular job in the future? Will you know what you are doing?
This is totally understandable. Even I am not immune to this thinking, and one big reason that I got started in freelancing was that I was already out of work at the time. There was nothing for me to do as I sent out my resume and filled in applications. So I started doing work on the side and before I knew it, I didn’t need those interviews.
But taking that first step you have something tangible to lose, like a steady salary, is certainly daunting. Let’s address some of those common fears.
Losing The Security of a Paycheck
When you go out on your own you will probably have a fluctuating income. Some months you will make more, and some months you won’t. Because of this, many people are discouraged from getting started. What if they have a bad month and can’t afford to pay their bills?
A simple way to get over this obstacle is through simple planning. Have a budget that shows everything you will spend, including allotted amounts for things like recreation and entertainment. Any month you have more left over, put it right into savings. Not as part of your general savings, but as a separate amount there for months you don’t get as much work.
Fluctuating income doesn’t have to hold you back from having your own business or going freelance. Here also a great and very personal advice from DirJournal writer on getting prepared for retirement as a freelancer.
Losing The Safety Net
I am going to speak frankly: you don’t have much of a safety net at a company. Sure, there is a certain amount of protection if it is in the company’s best interest to give it to you. But a mistake is just as likely to cost you your job as it is to be resolved while keeping your position. Much of the safety net is an illusion.
Working on your own, you will be on your own it is true. But you will also be more aware of your actions and how they represent you, not a logo.
But what if you try and fail? Well, this one is just a part of life. There is a lot of truth to the adage of ‘nothing risked, nothing gained’. You will never know if you can make it unless you set out and try. Is it really worth the regret of staying in your safety bubble and never attempting to be successful?
The good news is that proper planning can lower your risks of failure. Do what you know, do it well and you should be fine. In many cases, you will be better than fine.
Fear over venturing out on your own for a business or freelancing career is understandable and natural. Freelancing is not easy: You have to count on yourself, deal with failure and lack of motivation as well as organize yourself.But it doesn’t have to rule you, or keep you in a job you want to move forward from. Everyone is afraid of change, but overcoming it is very rewarding.
So if you have been yearning to do things your own way, gather up that courage and do it. You will be glad you did.