If you are looking for a new job, you might be considering self-employment. This is a growing option in the past decade. Companies are much more willing to hire outside consultants and advisors, because it is often easier for them than having you on their payroll. Before you launch yourself into a new business venture, there are a few things to consider.
The major difference between being self-employed and working for someone else is the paycheck factor. When you are employed by a company, you are guaranteed a paycheck; when you are self-employed, your payments might be more sporadic. Just as you might have a dry spell in your business, when you are employed by a company, you might also run the risk of being downsized or laid-off.
Being self-employed takes strategy. You need to come up with a business plan, and then find out ways to finance that business plan. The initial start-up cost might be prohibitive to many people, but there is always the possibility of getting a bank loan for your new business. The danger with this bank loan is that you are personally responsible for paying the money back, and so if the business flops, you will still have to pay the bank back.
Working for a boss, however, might not be challenging enough for you. You might have plans for how to improve the business in many ways, and these ideas are never respected. Conversely, you might have a great idea, but then that idea becomes no longer yours when the company takes the credit and the copyright. Working for yourself might be easier for an independent thinker or problem-solver.
Beginning a business of your own not only takes start-up cash and a business strategy, it also requires a major time commitment. You will probably find yourself working much more than the normal forty hour work week as you begin your job. Later, however, you will be able to plan your own vacation time and take the occasional four-day weekend if you have the time or money available for this.
Where do the benefits come from when you are self-employed? I don’t just mean positives; I mean benefits as in dental and medical. When you work for an employer, you have benefits from the company. When you are self-employed, you don’t have benefits. It is strongly encouraged that you find an insurance company to provide for the what-if scenarios. You can often find a plan that suits your needs better (at a higher price, sometimes) when you are shopping for individual benefits.
Just as you would need to find your own benefits if you were self-employed, you would also need to provide your own insurance. People who work for themselves should consider getting insurance for more areas than you might need if you were employed at a company. When you are self-employed you don’t give money from your paycheck to Employment Insurance, and so you can never collect Employment Insurance. Consider hospitalization insurance and other forms of insurance if you are planning on becoming self-employed.
It can be hard for expectant mothers to be self-employed. Being self-employed means that you don’t have maternity leave pay, and so women often work during pregnancy. With no means of paying for a newborn infant, more than half of self-employed women resume work within a month of the baby’s birth, compared to only 16% of salaried employees. In Quebec, a new program has started where all self-employed people contribute to a maternity leave fund, and they can then go on maternity leave. Discover your local maternity rules for self-employment to see what possible benefits you could have. If you are not planning on having kids, perhaps you would prefer to live someplace without extra taxation on the money you have worked so hard to earn.
If you do have kids, being self-employed allows you to make your own schedule. This way, you can more easily co-ordinate with your children’s schedule, and you would rarely find yourself missing important events (like that recorder concert at the Christmas assembly). Unfortunately, however, you need to consider your children with respect to your health care benefits. As children are often covered on their parents’ plans, if you are self-employed, you should be sure to get a benefit plan that suits your needs if you are a parent.
Working for yourself and working for a company each have pros and cons. Regardless of how you choose to work, knowing your benefits, insurance, and scheduling can help you maximize your job satisfaction.