What Really Sucks About Being Self Employed

Hey everyone, Bridget from Money After
Graduation here to tell you about the things that really suck about being
self-employed. For those of you that don’t know, I am self-employed and have
been for two-and-a-half years now. Money After Graduation is my full-time job and
it consists of a blog, this YouTube channel, eCourse sales, as well as paid speaking engagements and other brand partnerships that I do. My first year of self-employment was pretty rough. The
second year was better but then I went on maternity leave. And now that I’m in
my third year, things are going really well, I’ve learned a lot, but I’ve also
learned some of the things that are not ideal. When most people think about being
self-employed, they think entirely of the upsides. You get to work for yourself, you
make your own hours, you work from wherever you want, you’re totally in
control of your income, and you have nothing but freedom to do what you want,
when you want to, and so on. And while all of that is true, there are
obviously some downsides, but the ones people will think about most often are
things like being isolated or having an inconsistent income, when truthfully those
things are the easiest ones to fix. I had a hard time with the isolation when I
first started my business and I worked primarily from home, but I remedied
that by getting some office space in downtown Calgary and now I have a real
community that I get to interact with other entrepreneurs on a regular basis.
Likewise, the inconsistent pay was very easy to fix.
I now pay myself bi-weekly, I get the same amount every two weeks and that’s
been true for this whole year so far. The real downsides are actually much
bigger and here’s what they are. The first is you have to do all the #$&*@ work.
What I mean by that, is you have to do all the menial tasks that are like, way
below your pay grade so to speak. There is no Karen from Accounting, there is no
intern to do all the orders. You have to do all the boring things from invoices
and taxes to ordering paper and office supplies. The worst part: a shocking
amount of time is spent just keeping your business running with these little
tasks. You will spend a whole lot of time scheduling phone calls, answering emails,
checking orders, invoicing, doing taxes, going to boring meetings. The real glam
life of running your own business of following
your dreams and being creative all the time is not really true. That does happen
some of the time, but all the grunt work needs to be done by you and there is a
lot of it. The second downside about being self-employed is you have no one
to ask for help. This is something I really struggled with in my first year
of self-employment because I was unsure of what direction to take my business. I
didn’t know how to grow it and I had no one to ask for guidance. When you’re
working a traditional nine-to-five job, you typically have a boss or a
supervisor that’s grooming you for your next role in the company, and their
guidance is really invaluable in developing your skills and so on. When
you’re self-employed, there’s no one to do that for you, you have to figure out
which skills are important and how to build them and so on. It’s really, really
difficult to do. There’s no one to ask that’s been there before you, and if there is, they’re a little bit hard to get a hold of. My baby is making noise in the background of
this video as usual. Hi hunny! That would be another one of the minor downsides of
being self-employed, is there’s always a racket in the background.
The third downside to being self-employed is people seem to think
you’re either broke or a millionaire and never anything in between. I don’t know
if this is just because I run an online business and people aren’t really sure
how those earn income and so on, but I found that people don’t really
understand how I make money and don’t understand how much money I make. They tend to think that I’m either a starving creative or that I’m one of
those like super YouTube stars earning seven figures. Neither of those are true.
The reality is actually much more in the middle and I make a very average
income to afford a very average lifestyle. I mean, obviously I get all the
perks of self-employment plus the struggles that I’ve just mentioned but
the income is pretty good but not amazing but it also doesn’t suck. So I
find it kind of annoying to always have to explain myself, defend myself, or you
know, just pretend that I do make seven figures. Just kidding, I never do that. I
can’t afford it. Finally, the last downside of being self-employed and the
one that’s bugging me the most lately is you don’t get to be part of a company
you can’t build. Personally, I’m really interested in a lot of technology
companies but I don’t have the skillset to actually grow
one of those businesses myself. Or maybe I do, but it would take me much longer
than it would to actually get a job at one of these businesses. The downsides to
being self-employed is you’re really limited by your own abilities and your
own industry and what you can do with the resources around you. Some people are
really talented at scaling companies and building teams and some people can
really only work for themselves and run a 1 or 2 or 3 person business and
if you want to be part of a mega corporation that does a lot of cool and
innovative things, then it might be easier to actually go work for that
company, rather than trying to build something. I personally love being
self-employed because I like the flexibility, particularly right now when
I have a small baby at home, but going forward I am a little intrigued at the
opportunity of working for a bigger tech company and applying the skills that
I’ve learned as a self-employed entrepreneur to a role in that capacity
and working for a company that I can’t actually build myself. Whether
you’re thinking of becoming self-employed or you already are and
you’re struggling with it, I totally feel exactly where you are. I’ve been there myself
and I would love to hear about your experience in the comments if you want
to share with me what you’re doing for work, if you wish you were working on
your own business, or if there’s a reason why you would never leave your
nine-to-five. If you enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe
to my channel and I will be back with more personal finance wisdom next week!

11 thoughts on “What Really Sucks About Being Self Employed

  • Thank you for sharing your experience Bridget. I'm trying to start my own business and it was great to hear your perspective on the subject. All the best to you in continuing to successfully grow yours. Cheers.

  • Oh God I can so relate! What I find so frustrating about people who encourage entrepreneurship is that skills that made you a star a work won't help near as much as you'd think. The big issue for me was the hassle and cost of going online. I'm on my third website, struggling to understand FB ads (hat tip I do have the pixel installed) Google Analytics WTF why is it all in German #"*+#§ Grrrr. it seems you're endlessness spending money. Just signed up for Office 365 paid for a year and realized that I need the business version, can't upgrade, now have to pay twice

  • Thanks for the video! I've been running my own online business for a couple years now and I can totally relate to this. I think the hardest part is the inconsistency in income (at least initially) and the lack of direction, especially starting out. Keep up the great work.

  • Bridget you have only likes for this vid, it may not last but that is amazing! I have never seen that on a video ever, not even on videos of kittens and puppies play-fighting. I mean seriously who dislikes adorable little animals rolling around on the ground?

    ps Interesting insights on being your own boss.

  • I did my own contract work for a while when I was younger, which is about as close to being self-employed as I've gotten, and I absolutely HATED it. I'm the type of person who likes schedules, structure, and security, which I didn't feel I had when I was just contracting. Self-employment may be an option for me later in life when I have more of that sense of safety and security – I have so much respect for anyone who chooses to build a business from the ground-up, or chooses self-employment. Thanks so much for sharing Bridget – you make the process seem much less intimidating.

  • Here's another, spending all day on support with Microsoft trying to get your email moved over as you bought the wrong office 365 plan GRRRR

  • Good summary of all the ups and downs. I was employed full time and working on a few side hustles which gave me great joy. Now, recently downsized out of full time work, I'm loving the shift to full time focus on my entrepreneurial passions. Loving the freedom and ownership of decisions, direction and dreams!

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