The pros and cons of being a sole proprietor
Becoming a sole trader/entrepreneur has become more and more trendy since the start of the decade. Research in 2015 revealed that 40% of the new jobs in the early-2010s were classed as self-employed. Sole proprietorship is an exciting possibility. Who doesn’t want to work for themselves and test their entrepreneurship skills, working how they want to work? However, a sudden change in working patterns comes at a price, so be prepared to face new challenges, different from those posed by your current job.
But let’s start on a positive note and talk about some of the pros of starting your own company.
Work when you want, where you want
This is one of the most obvious advantages of working for yourself. You are the boss and can work whenever you want. Chances are that you will be putting in a lot of lonely hours to develop your new venture until you make it big. Yet, being on your own relieves you of the pressure to follow your boss’ instructions and stay in line with your company’s business development vision. You are free to experiment and mould your enterprise according to your own taste. Moreover, there are no limitations as of where you can run your business from. If you want to be a freelance writer, you can spend your days in your favourite café surrounded by the aroma and smoke of fresh coffee. Or if you don’t get distracted by noises around you, and the weather allows it, you can make money for yourself from a public park on a sunny day. Your home is always an option to work from too, especially if you’ve turned it into a fortress where you feel in your element.
Be accessible 24/7
We admit it could be risky to have no opening, but also no closing hours. You may occasionally receive calls in unsocial hours or during the weekend but if you are in the right state of mind, you should appreciate acquiring business out of standard working hours. For example, if you are a sole-trading plumber, you can get emergency calls from a household whose residents are at work during the day, and come back only after 5pm. You won’t decline the opportunity to fix their problem at a short notice in the evening, will you?
Alas, sole working isn’t a bed of roses, or if it is, mind the thorns. Here are some of the cons you should consider.
Say goodbye to structured daily routine
The lack of defined working hours can turn your daily schedule upside down. You will experience that especially in the first weeks or months of trading. You will feel a surge of productivity and your mind will be occupied with thoughts on one subject only – how to build your business and how to advertise what it does in the best possible way. The excitement of starting something new could swallow the time you would normally dedicate to your family, friends, or hobbies. Working alone frees you from the responsibilities you previously had to your employer and company, but soon you may find yourself under the attack of a different type of stress. The anxiety to never stop working on your new business, might negatively affect your personal relationships and you have to ask yourself if the cost is worth paying.
Health issues and burnout could befall you
It’s not a pretty topic but working too hard may take its toll at the expense of your health. Studies have found that out-of-hours working could result in increased blood pressure, mental issues and overall burnout. This could be true when running your own business alone. Along with the logistics of the service, you will need to take care of all the paperwork, and work hard to form a string of loyal customers you can rely on. No matter what you have dreamed about sole trading, there will always be unforeseen obstacles coming your way and some ideas will be temporarily shelved or completely ditched. Let alone the doubts of whether you will succeed. Get ready to wreck your nerves until you get the ball rolling.
We had to mention some of the gloomier sides of sole trading but those weren’t meant to put you off. If you believe that safety is in numbers, then the stats from the beginning of this article should calm you down. If more and more people opt to be self-employed, then it is worth trying your luck. We believe that the success of sole proprietorship is determined by the trader and what they are made of, and not by the hardness of the circumstances. If you possess strong self-control and business agility, there is no reason why you should not succeed. It’s how efficiently you plan and spread your workload, not necessarily how hard you work. If you are smart enough to know that work is important but not everything, and you love what you will be doing, go for it.
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