Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be your own boss by being self-employed. But your dream took a backseat after you met the love of your life, got married and had children.
Well, it’s still not too late to get started. But the question is, should you? Here are pros and cons of self-employment to help you decide.
Pros of Self-Employment
- You can set your own schedule
If you’re your own boss, you get to decide your own schedule. No more being tied to the 9-to-5 just because someone else makes you do so! For example, if you do your best work at night after putting your kids to bed, go for it.
Being self-employed also allows you to plan your work around your family’s schedules. If, say, you know you’ll need to pick up your kids from school after lunch, you can avoid scheduling phone calls with clients during that hour.
- You get to spend more time with your children
This is probably the best part of being self-employed if you have children. Kids grow up way too fast, but your flexible schedule (see previous point) will allow you to be with them every step of the way. This is also great for building bonds that will last a lifetime.
For example, instead of delegating the daytime child-minding to a helper, you can set aside time to play with your children yourself! You’ll have more energy to interact with your children too, compared to if you were to only see them after a long day in the office.
- You can instil an entrepreneurial mindset in your children
To develop a successful self-employed career, you’ll need to have an entrepreneurial mindset. This means daring to pursue worthwhile opportunities, being self-motivated to succeed and having the capability to deal with rejection, among other qualities.
And these qualities may just rub off on your children along the way. After all, children learn by observing and emulating the behaviour of people around them. With the obvious choice of role model being you, their parent.
Your kids may not end up becoming entrepreneurs themselves, but the mindset and qualities they pick up from you will serve them very well in life.
Cons of Self-Employment
- Your income may vary from month to month
It’s no secret that self-employment can be a bit of a gamble, income-wise. One month, you could be earning a cool $7,000 while the next month, you could earn only $700.
As a result, self-employment becomes riskier if you have large debts to repay, such as a mortgage. It’s best if your spouse is earning a steady paycheck to ensure the bills can continue to be paid.
But if you’re currently a stay-at-home mum (SAHM), self-employment may be a good way to supplement the family income while taking care of the kids. Because hey, earning some income is better than earning no income at all right?
- You won’t have paid annual or sick leave
Unlike employees, self-employed persons aren’t entitled to paid annual or sick leave. This means that if you’re planning a family trip to Japan, you won’t be paid for the duration that you’re away from your business. The same goes for if you fall ill.
To mitigate such risks, factor in off days when deciding how much to charge for your services. The more paid time off you want for yourself, the higher your rate should be. Check out how to do this when calculating freelance photographer rates, for example.
Side note: While self-employed persons aren’t entitled to paid annual or sick leave, the Singapore government will sponsor your maternity and childcare leave if you’ve been self-employed for at least 3 months!
- You may feel lonely
Self-employment can be an isolating venture as you may have limited interaction with people outside of your clients.
That doesn’t mean you’re destined to become a hermit though – seek out like-minded peers who are in the same industry or even do the same jobs as you!
Not only can they serve as your support group in times of difficulty, you may even be able to refer each other clients. This equals more work and more $$.
And even if currently you don’t have many of such peers, rest assured that you’re not truly alone! You’ve got a loving spouse and kids who have your back.
This article is contributed by Tan Siew Ann. Siew Ann is the founder of lancerX, a blog that aims to empower Singapore’s freelance community to streamline their business and focus on their craft.
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