self-employed

Many people working today share the same ambition of being self-employed. The appeal is obvious as being your own boss gives you the opportunity to work on your own terms and leaves you answerable to no one.

By Chris Smith

A significant percentage of workers, particularly young people, say that they would like to take the plunge and go it alone. There are downsides to being self-employed, however. Having only yourself to be accountable to can put people under a considerable amount of pressure.

Many self-employed people also have to spin plates with regards to accounting, logistics, and the aspects of a business that wouldn’t normally fall at the feet of one employee in a large business. Because of this, the life of a self-employed worker can leave you with little time to look after yourself. If you feel you fit into this category, read on for some advice to help you look after yourself, while continuing to grow your own business.

Create a Separation Between Work and Home

In the early days of building a business, many entrepreneurs can be left working all hours of the day to get the wheels turning. While working hard is always a necessity in the early days, you begin to become subject to the law of diminishing returns when the 80-hour workweeks stack up. For your own mental well-being, you must create a separation between your home life and your work life.

Many Scandinavian businesses have started to opt for 6 hour working days and four-day working weeks as studies have shown that people aren’t more productive as they work for endless hours, day after day. When your own business is at its vital stages of growth, it can be difficult to walk away and relax, especially when there’s so much to do. Creating that separation between work and home relaxation is vital, as failing to do so can lead to you making mistakes in your work and even puts you at the risk of suffering burnout.

Keeping yourself working to a regular schedule and clocking off at an appropriate time will do wonders for your own well-being in the long-term. Your business is only as strong as your health and working towards a fair work-life balance will help to build your own resilience. This will help to give you the quality of life necessary to take your business to the next level.

Take the Time Off You Deserve

Another issue that is commonly faced by those who are self-employed relates to the frequency with which they take holidays if any at all. Research has shown that many self-employed workers insist that they don’t need to take a break. As we discussed with regards to a lack of separation between work life and home life, keeping in the same routine can be detrimental to your physical and mental health.

People who work for established corporations are rightfully allocated paid holidays by law, and for the self-employed, it should be no different. Unfortunately, every person’s circumstances are unique, and some people will find that taking time off will be near impossible, especially in the early days.

We all have peaks and troughs that we have to work through, but if you find that everything grinds to a halt the second you take your eyes off the ball, then it’s time to get a helping hand involved in your business. This will give you the opportunity to take the time off that you deserve and recharge your batteries, making you ready to take on the next challenge.

Bring in help Where Necessary

When you look at the statistics relating to the numbers of new businesses starting, and the percentage that fail within the first few years of operation, the numbers tell us an interesting story. The majority of new enterprises are ultimately unsuccessful because they struggle to overcome the next stages of growth. With so many small businesses being staffed with the one person who started it, it’s easy to see where the problem lies.

A lot of people are hesitant about the idea of employing people to join their new business. The extra level of responsibility that comes with being someone’s boss can prove too much, especially when you tie in the legal and tax implications of becoming an employer. The truth is that you can’t look after yourself and grow your business without help from somewhere. Letting someone else take the reigns on specific aspects of your company is the first step to bringing that home balance back into your life.

Luckily, there are plenty of resources available online to help you understand the responsibilities you will have as a manager. Growing into this role is a natural progression of anyone wanting to succeed in business, and you will only be able to look after yourself as an individual once you have delegated to other people who can help you on the road to success.

Chris Smith is an independent writer and blogger at Spend It Like Beckham. His blog mainly focuses on business, finance and sports, and he’s had features about a variety of topics published on sites including the Huffington PostGoDaddyThe Guardian and The Telegraph. @officialsilb

Self-employed stock photo by Artie Medvedev/Shutterstock