So You Want to Be Your Own Boss? (Or: the Rewards and Challenges of Self-Employment)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 10 million self-employed workers in the United States and that number is increasing - for good reason. Being your own boss means not worrying you'll be laid off or fired. It allows you to create your own work schedule. It holds out the promise of great financial reward. It frees you from having to attend mind-numbing staff meetings. In short, self-employment lets you call the shots.

Being your own boss is not, however, without significant challenges. Potential concerns include, but are not limited to:

  • Lack of financial security or predictability

  • Isolation from peers or co-workers

  • Lack of clarity about job demands and expectations.
Related social and emotional challenges include:

  • Tolerating financial uncertainty

  • Finding the right balance between business and leisure

  • Obtaining much-needed support and encouragement from friends, family and peers

  • Combating those feelings of loneliness and isolation that can lead to depression and anxiety.
The following can help maximize your chances for success and satisfaction:

  • Look to your support network for encouragement, constructive feedback and companionship.

  • Have a financial backup plan.

  • Have a well-thought-out, written business plan. The more planning you do with respect to short- and long-term goals and tasks, financial expectations and daily work routines, the less vulnerable you are to stress, anxiety and depression.

  • Implement your plans. Be flexible where needed. Successful self-employment requires openness to learning, growing and adapting to changing needs and conditions.

  • Make it a priority to strike a healthy work/life balance. Regularly set aside time for social activities, your family and yourself. Each day should leave some room for non-work related activities.

  • Don't ignore the basics! Sit down to a healthy breakfast and lunch. Get dressed for work every morning. Don't lounge around in your pajamas, as that can easily detract from viewing yourself as a vibrant, productive, successful business owner.