Self-Employment - Benefits and Challenges

Self-employment seems to be in the air! I have recently been meeting self-employed portfolio careerists who are working as solopreneurs or entrepreneurs, income streaming from various entrepreneurial ventures. I am so intrigued by their work lives that I have decided to spend the next few months covering self-employed solopreneurs like Kym Keith (recent June article) and Brad Hussey (future August article) who work on their own providing a service or selling a product without hiring staff. They are flying solo in their business and are streaming income from multiple directions.

Others like Ryan Corry (this month's July article) are entrepreneurs; the term used for self-employed individuals who hire staff to help them with their business. Entrepreneurs, like Ryan, who are also portfolio careerists may stream income from more than one entrepreneurial venture or they may run a business and possibly work in a salaried job or do contract work.

Whether they are flying solo or hiring staff, there are definite benefits to operating a branch on our portfolio tree that is completely donated to self-employment. Portfolio careerists who are opting for self-employment tend to like the freedom to create, innovate and control the work being done. They like the ability to take charge of marketing, networking and the growth of their venture. Their entrepreneurial project gives them an outlet for their creativity and business savvy, and also provides them with a sense of pride and ownership.

There are certainly advantages to having a self-employment branch to our portfolio tree. However, as I've said before nothing is perfect. The ability to start a small business that will make and not lose money is a difficult endeavour. It requires doing our homework, learning how to write a business plan and coming up with an idea that will be marketable. As mentioned by Kym Keith, she went through an intense business planning course to come up with a marketable plan.

A good business plan is just the beginning. Just like hard work without a plan can lead to business failure, a well-done business plan won't be executed without hard work. Launching and running a business is exceedingly time consuming and most business owners work long hours, which for some people may be a disadvantage. Another disadvantage is that many businesses don't make money right away and, hence, streaming income from other directions will be necessary. This is the juggling act that can become tiresome because there are only so many hours in a day.

However, I enjoy being a self-employed solopreneur who primarily works on contract. I have an incorporated career services business as part of my portfolio career and I like the freedom self-employment gives me to create my own work life. There are downsides. If I don't work, I don't get paid. I don't have paid vacation or benefits. I have to come up with my own retirement plan and I often have no idea how much money I will make in a month.

When I read the above paragraph, I realize self-employment is not for the faint of heart. I tend to have a higher than average risk and uncertainty tolerance, but being comfortable with risk isn't the key ingredient of a self-employed person. I have met people who have a lower tolerance for risk, yet they choose self-employment because they prefer to be in control of their work life rather than leave it up to someone else who has the power to lay them off, leaving them with no income at all. I have learned through meeting various entrepreneurial portfolio careerists that everyone is different. No two are alike in their approach and their level of risk.

In the articles to come, I will feature some of the inspiring people I have met who are streaming income from various self-employed ventures and are, in a sense, paving some interesting pathways that may change the way we all work in the future.

The following link solopreneurs has more information on the differences between the two self-employment approaches.