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Challenges Unique to Being Self-Employed (And How to Overcome Them)

Challenges Unique to Being Self-Employed (And How to Overcome Them)

The rest of the world seems to look at those of us who are self-employed as being fortunate. And, for the most part, we are. Certainly, we have more control over the levels we are able to reach professionally, we can dictate our schedules more freely, and we are more able to determine how much money we make more so than if we work for a regular, hourly wage. However, self-employment certainly doesn’t come without its pitfalls.

Here are just a few of them, as well as ways to overcome their potentially negative effects:

The Not-So-Regular Paycheck

This is probably the most notable challenge that self-employed people face, as you no longer have the security of getting a predetermined paycheck each and every week. This can make paying your mortgage, rent, and utilities harder, especially when you’re unsure of how much money you’re going to be bringing in.

If you’re new to self-employment, ideally you want to have enough money stashed away to support you until you can get your business off the ground. Also, budgeting and saving both become important as time goes on so that you don’t find yourself in a position where you can’t pay your bills during your slower seasons.

The Lengthened Working Hours

Even though you aren’t reporting to a job for preset hours, like you would if you were working for someone else, being self-employed often means working more hours than ever. Most entrepreneurs find that they start their work days very early in the morning and generally stay working until well past dinner, which leaves limited time and energy to deal with much else.

To help ease this impact, it is important to schedule some off time in which you either focus on yourself or spend some much needed time with family and friends. Take yourself off the clock occasionally so that you don’t wake up one day and wonder where all of the years went with no pleasurable memories to account for them.

The Higher Levels of Stress

Travis Swoish, owner and founder of Swoish Soil Services, LLC, says that one of his biggest challenges when it comes to being self-employed is handling the stress of knowing that everything lies on your shoulders. Your success rests solely with you and, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”

Swoish suggests having hobbies, or something to do in off seasons to reset your mind and body and lower the amount of stress you feel. Massages help as well, as they can help reduce the knots in your muscles and rejuvenate your mental status. Exercising also serves an important purpose in the less-stress equation, which is why he likes to start his days by going for a run.

Finding Reliable Help

Because most small businesses have employees, some self-employed entrepreneurs report that finding reliable help can be a huge problem area. Certainly, there are lots of great unemployed people out there who are willing to put 100 percent into their work, but finding them isn’t always easy.

Overcoming this self-employment obstacle means doing your due diligence when it comes to the hiring process. Take the time to get to know your applicants and call their references, checking with past employers to see what others have to say about them. The more work you do up front, the more likely it is you will hire the right person for the job.

Limited Access to Resources

Steven Levin, founder of Spending Plan Advisors, LLC, points out how, as a self-employed small business owner, you still need the same things as large businesses, such as a website and marketing, yet you don’t have the unlimited budget that a lot of large companies have for obtaining these items. Additionally, these tasks are often more challenging because they are non-revenue producing, at least initially, potentially reducing the time you could be earning actual income.

One way to overcome this pitfall is to plan your expenses in a way that allows you to take care of the things you need for your small business as you can afford them. By budgeting for these types of items, you can keep adding to your business without it doing too much damage to your bottom line.

What are some challenges you’ve noticed as a self-employed small business owner? Feel free to share them below so that others can learn from you!



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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.