There are so many advantages to being a self-employed business owner that it’s not hard to see why a lot of people are starting to take this route. However, although being your boss, having the freedom to work your own hours, and having control over how you run your business is great, there are also challenges that come with being self-employed, and it’s important to know what they are, so you can put plans in place to overcome them. Read on to find out what some of the major challenges are about being a self-employed business owner and what to do about them, and you’ll be much more prepared for whatever the future throws at you.
One of the biggest problems that a lot of self-employed business owners come across is linked to finances. Because it can be hard to determine exactly how much money you’ll make each month, it can also be hard to budget effectively. One month you might make a lot, and the next could be much slower, for example. This can be particularly troubling when you need to borrow money personally (rather than for the business) as lenders like to see that you have a stable income before they’ll consider lending a lot of the time.
One way to get past this specific issue is to wait until you’ve been in business for longer so you’ve got evidence to show the average amount of money you’re making each month. Alternatively, you might need to go to specialist lenders, especially if you need a mortgage. Certain brokers have access to specialist lenders, so if you’re self-employed, have bad credit, or even both of these things, you may well still find options out there.
At home, it’s wise to create a budget that accounts for both your business and personal expenses so you don’t overspend, and make sure you put as much money aside each month as you can for when the leaner periods come, as this will help you hugely. If you can stay as disciplined as possible when it comes to money, you should be fine.
Another problem that some self-employed business owners can suffer from is burnout. This essentially means you’ve been working too hard for too long without a break, and you’re stressed and exhausted. You’ll reach a point where you just can’t go on, and that’s when you’re ‘burned out’. After this, you’ll have to take time away from the business, and some people never actually go back as they have entirely fallen out of love with the whole thing.
To avoid burnout, stay healthy, and stick with your business, you need to pay attention to what your body (and, to some extent, your mind) is telling you. When you’re feeling tired, you need to rest, when you’re hungry, you need to eat, when you’re thirsty, you need to drink (and ideally you should be constantly sipping water, as this is better than getting thirsty and drinking lots at once).
Although it might seem like a waste of time to take a break when you’re trying to get things done, it’s much better for you - it means you can regroup and go back to your project in a much stronger way, hopefully with a clearer head and more ideas about how to tackle it. Although you would have taken time away to rest or eat, you’ll actually get much further than if you just try to push on and end up having to step away entirely.
Make sure you have the best work-life balance you can, and draw a line between mixing your personal life with your business one. This will definitely be hard at the start, but even a little break is better than nothing.
Running a business can sometimes feel very isolating, especially when self-employed. To overcome this challenge, it’s important to have a strong support network around you. Make sure you find time to connect with other self-employed business owners, join networking groups or industry associations, and attend interesting conferences and events.
If you can surround yourself with like-minded individuals who understand the challenges you face by being a self-employed business owner, you can share problems, get answers, and receive useful insights about how to move forward or make changes. Sometimes just being able to talk to someone who knows how you feel can be enough to de-stress you and give you the motivation you need to keep going. Finding good support can be an invaluable tool to help you achieve your goals.