Self Made: NASE's Blog

5 Tips To Avoid The Self-Employment Trap

Friday, July 22, 2016

Part of the thrill of owning a business or working as a freelancer is the control it seems to offer.  You don’t answer to anyone but yourself; the growth of your capital depends on your hard work, and you’re the one who reaps the satisfaction and the financial rewards of a job well done.

Unfortunately, many self-employed folks find themselves subject to another boss: their work.  They find that they and their families have become slaves to the unbelievable effort it takes to maintain a business. Sure, they have the ability to excel in their field, but they’re drowning in their own business.

It’s a hard balance: After all, the business wouldn’t have a chance of being successful unless the owner invested his or her life into it, at least at the beginning.  But as the business grows, the owner must release some control, or they will find themselves trapped.

Finding Freedom from your Own Business

The following are 5 tips to avoid this common trap experienced by many self-employed men and women.  Use these great tips to make sure you make the most of your work time and don’t end up a slave to your office.

1.  Give yourself structure.  Your business started with a dream – a vision.  And vision is crucial in order for you to keep up your motivation.  But dreams don’t like to be subject to structure, which is crucial in business.  The self-employed man or woman must be disciplined enough to pace themselves at a reasonable level in order to avoid burning out.  But the great thing about being self-employed is that you get to develop the structure that works for you to your own personality and habits!

NASE_Computer

The first way to employ structure is to implement a schedule.  Plan which hours and which days you plan to work (and when you’re not working, you’re not working.)  Then plan what you will be doing.  Integrate breaks; schedule lunch.  Have a big project?  Space it out so you won’t be up all night the day before the deadline.  You never intended your work to be drudgery, so shape it into something manageable!

2.  Train employees to work without you.   You can accomplish this by doing two things: Develop a written manual to answer questions, and allow your employees some autonomy to make their own decisions.  This will raise the confidence of your staff and improve the employee-employer relationship as they realize that you trust them.  Best of all, you’ll be able to go away for the weekend without constantly monitoring your phone!

3.  Record what you’re doing.  Or at least make sure someone else knows what you’re working on, the current status, and the future plan.  If you become ill or have to take an emergency trip, you’ll be able to let someone take over with minimal guidance.

4.  Say “no” sometimesYou chose self-employment because you are passionate about your abilities.  So when you’re bombarded with exciting opportunities to share your talent, it’s tempting to accept every offer.  Develop the practice of occasionally saying “no.”

One of the hardest times to say “no” is when a friend or family member wants to utilize your abilities for free.   If this happens, you can give a gentle reason for your “no.”  Say something like, “I can’t afford to help you – I really want to, but financially I need to be pursuing paying clients.”  Hopefully they’ll get the hint and offer to compensate you.

5.  Have a life.  It’s true that being self-employed can mean investing every element of your life to growing your business.  And there’s a practical reason you’re doing it: You need to make money.  If you have a family, they need a relationship with you.   So occasionally step back and ask yourself what’s really important.  Prioritizing work over relationships won’t benefit you in the long run.

NASE_Family

The main reason you’re self-employed is because you can do it.  You have the experience, the training, the talent to do what you love, so why not get paid to do it?

Follow your dream.  Invest in your passion.  Be excited.  But you need to harness that energy into a reasonably structured plan that works with life, and these tips are a great way to start.  You’ll use your time more efficiently.  You’ll own your business instead of letting it own you.  And ultimately, your entire self-employment experience will be more satisfying!

Guest blog post by Jonathon Ohayon.  He is the COO of Brilliance.com and has been managing companies and motivating people since the 6th grade. As a proven business leader and gemologist, he is uniquely skilled in navigating the ever changing e-commerce landscape. When he is not answering emails into the wee hours of the night, he can be found spending time with his wife and three children.

6 Comments

  1. 6 Noah Tanner 08 Aug
    An incredible article you write, very very interesting and informative.  I hope you will keep writing articles as good as this. I gained extensive insight ... thanks.
  2. 5 Paul Sims 02 Sep
    Obviously, this post is an excellent guide for the begginners and who are in a development stage. Apart from a guide, you have incorporated some motivating ideas for people who are self-employed. Most part of the people are trying to own a business these days and hence this one is valuable to all. I really appreciate your writing and I looking forward to more articles to aid those who need it.

    Thanks again for sharing these ideas.
  3. 4 Gerald 12 Sep
    Nice Article!
  4. 3 Andy 04 Oct
    Awesome article, thanks for sharing.
  5. 2 Tareq 08 Jan
    Nice content.
  6. 1 Sarah Hope 14 Mar
    Clearly, this post is a great guide for the beginners.  You have consolidated some rousing thoughts for individuals who are independently employed.  I truly value your composition and I anticipating more articles to help individuals who need it.

Comment

  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
       
    Toolbar's wrapper 
     
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
      
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.
       

 

Subscribe to RSS Feed

Self Made

A blog on the self-employed and micro-business

Meet the NASE Staff Bloggers


Katie Vlietstra - As Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs, I work to explain how actions on Capitol Hill can impact the self-employed. I love D.C. and have made my home in Capitol Hill, where I live with my husband and black Labrador, Coltrane. We love playing volleyball and softball on the National Mall. 

 Katie on Twitter
 Katie on LinkedIn