You graduate from university, you treat yourself to a week, (or month), of travelling and all of a sudden you are a grown up. You have to make a decision and you know it will have an impact on your entire life, from that point onwards. Being self-employed can be perceived in so many different ways. Some people might see you as someone who is living out his/her dreams, as someone, creative, free and special. Others might take a totally different view: you are self-employed because you don’t want to or can’t, find a ‘proper’ job. What’s more, how often do we even hear the following: ‘so you work from home, that’s great, you can look after your kids’.
The reality of self-employment is probably somewhere in the middle. Starting your own business is, undoubtedly, one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things you can do. Nevertheless, being self-employed is also a huge challenge. When you run your own business, you need to think of everything: managing your time, meeting deadlines, taking care of your business insurance; you are responsible for everything.
Running your own business is also really hard work. Apart from bureaucratic questions such as ‘how many taxes will I pay?’ and ‘what is business insurance from Hiscox?’ you might experience more subtle challenges. When you run a company from home you don’t have ‘office hours’, so, of course, that means that you could go on a 6 weeks holiday without asking anyone, however, that also means 6 weeks without income.
Whilst it’s true that being self-employed can be very rewarding, it is far from glamorous. It is difficult to fathom how people can expect someone working from home to take full time care of children. With more people taking the plunge and starting their own businesses, everyone else will hopefully start realising that working from home ; means just that, that it is work, and hard work at that!. Comments like ‘you are at home, so why do you send your children to kinder garden’ simply show a lack of respect to those people who take on this feat and a great deal of ignorance as regards what it actually means to be self-employed and to work from home! Our mission should be to inform people about what working from home really entails, and about all of the additional challenges that come with it. At the same time, however, we shouldn’t even have to go down that line, because everyone should know that working from home is hard work and being respected for doing so, should really be a given!