It occurred to me recently that I should offer a counter-point to my previous post on the joys of working for oneself; detailing the not so great stuff about being self-employed (and the pleasure of referring to oneself as "oneself").
I hereby present to you the downsides.
1. Work dreams (in which your clients refuse to return your calls/you miss an important deadline/your mac dies). Yep, you're involved in your work in a very personal way - it's hard to leave it behind when you're utterly immersed in it.
Speaking of which:
2. It's always there. The work, that is. You find yourself tinkering into the evening, sending emails at all hours and working in spare time at weekends. This doesn't bother me so much, as I tend to have plenty of downtime throughout the week in which to do my laundry/go to zumba/meet friends for coffee.
3. If you don't work, you don't get paid. No sick leave, no holiday leave, no public holiday pay, no super or benefits. Be sure to take this into consideration when setting your rate.
4. You're on your own. This hasn't affected me too much yet, as I've been spending a fair bit of time working with a bunch of lovely people. But I am aware that I could quite happily slide into hermit-ville if I was working from home more often, so I have been making a concerted effort to get out and about in my spare time. Meetup has been a great forum for social events, and the dating has been keeping me busy (if driving me crazy). In fact, my social calendar is more crammed than ever.
Apparently there are places where you can rent some studio space with other freelancers. I haven't looked into this but it's a great option for those more in need of regular social contact than myself.
5. Oh, the irregularity! It's hard to make plans when you don't know what tomorrow is going to look like, let alone next week. You just have to take each week as it comes, and make/change plans on the fly.
6. It's all down to you, baby. I have had moments of mini-panic at the thought that soon, I will be solely responsible for paying a mortgage out of my piecemeal income. It's up to me to find work, keep my clients happy, get paid. There's no back-up or Plan B, it's just one chick at her computer. That's f*cking scary, let me tell you.
I find it's best not to dwell on this one, for reasons involving my sanity.
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Taking into account all of the above however, the pros definitely outweigh the cons for me right now.