It was a dream come true with I left my job in the hotel business to become a self-employed freelance writer. A wave of relief initially swept over me as I enjoyed working for myself. However, over time I began to realize that there were things that I missed about my previous work. And now that I’ve been on my own for over six years, I can pinpoint certain aspects that I miss the most about that work…especially certain financial and career-related aspects.
There are all kinds of perks that can come with a job and that could be taken for granted before leaving that role. In my previous work, things like free downtown parking, free lunches from the hotel kitchen, free dry cleaning, and a variety of other little perks were “just part of the job”…until I left.
Now I realize just how valuable such benefits really were. Add in bonuses, employee parties, travel benefits, and even on-the-job training for new skills and technology were all perks that I miss out on now as a self-employed individual.
A stable income
While I love being my own boss as a self-employed individual, I have to say that the instability that a freelance income breeds is something that has its downsides. Having to act as my own accounts payable and receivable department is one thing, but not knowing for sure what income will be year-to-year, and even month-to-month can make forecasting and budgeting much more difficult.
There is an upside to this income instability though. Not having a guaranteed paycheck means that I watch costs much more closely, which often means I spend less. This helps keep costs under control, and means that when there is a little extra income left over at the end of the month, it’s easier to save for a rainy day – potentially next month if income isn’t there – than run out and spend.
Annual reviews and career progress
Some people might dread annual reviews, but I typically found them helpful not only in seeing where others thought I could improve, but in laying out future goals and directives. Sometimes it’s just easier having someone else tell you what to do than to come up with your own career goals and have to pinpoint strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement on your own.
Socialization and networking
Working as a self-employed individual might give me the freedom to be my own boss and work as I see fit, but it is also a lonely existence at times. Not only this, but without those work connections made in the regular workplace as well as workplace resources, it can be harder to build and maintain business networks.
It’s now up to me to find and make contacts whether it’s new business or as potential resources for furthering my business and career. While the internet can be an instrumental tool in this process, it isn’t always a substitute for an employer workplace.
Therefore, if you’re thinking about jumping ship to try your hand at self-employment, just remember, there may be things about your current employer that you’re taking for granted now and won’t truly recognize the value of until you’re gone.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.