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Being Self Employed Is Not For Everyone

May 25, 2008
Do you know how hard it is to be self employed? Do you have what it takes? There are many advantages to being self employed such as being your own boss and having the ability to set your own hours but overall being self employed is not easy. There are many downsides that people might overlook when they are contemplating making a career job decision. If you decide to become truly self employed it means that:

1) You will have to pay 100% of your own health care and sometimes it is even hard to find companies that are willing to give you health care. If you are lucky enough to find affordable health care, then you will have to send them a check (or have it automatically withdrawn from your checking account) every month to pay for it. You won't have the luxury of a paycheck for it to be magically deducted from.

2) You will have to pay your own taxes every quarter. This is often overlooked. If everyone had to get out their own checkbook and write a check to the IRS every month there would be a lot fewer fiscal liberals in the world. Writing a check to the IRS is one heck of a lot more eye opening than having it deducted from your paycheck.

3) You will have to be able to save enough to pay your taxes every quarter. You had better be able to have some self control because those checks you get from your clients or wherever are not all yours. Some of it belongs to the government and you better not need their share for the rent. The government doesn't care about your rent, food, or that XBox you want - they want their share and you better have it for them.

4) You better be able to keep very detailed records. In order to pay your taxes you are going to have to be able to figure out how much you owe. That means you need to keep daily records of everything and be able to prove your income if you ever get audited.

5) You will need to figure out how to do your taxes or find someone trustworthy who does. The more money you make in life the more complicated your taxes become. That is a fact. I do my own taxes but then I am lucky and have spent the time to learn how. Without that, I would have to pay to have it done which is another expense if you are successful in life.

6) You will have to have saved up enough money to get started. It is hard to transition from a regular job to being self employed. That day when you make the switch and realize you are totally on your own is a scary one. There is no more safety net of that regular paycheck coming in. You will need to be darn sure you have enough money to keep you going for 6 months to a year just in case things don't work out quite like you planned.

7) Depending on what you do, you may be alone all day. There may be no water coolers and co workers if you are self employed. If you are a social person, you might want to have a regular job where you can leave the house everyday and be out in the world amongst people.

8) You will need to be inwardly driven and a "self starter". Wow, I hate those two words as they are on almost every job posting you will ever see. But in this case they are valid. Some people need a boss to look over them, give them work, and push them. If you are one of these people, you will never be able to be self employed.

I'm sure there are a lot more than this but these are some of the important ones and you will face most of these challenges right in the beginning. I have been successfully self employed for ten years now but it has not always been easy. Can you do it too? Do you really want to?
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