The days of the workforce going in nine to five every day is becoming a thing of the past. More and more people are taking matters into their own hands and becoming their own boss. Whether they decide to take on a freelance career or launch their own business, the idea of working for themselves has the biggest appeal.
This trend is especially popular amongst the younger demographic. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 50% of millennials are already freelancing. The same study also estimates that the majority of workers will be freelancing by 2027.
There are a lot of reasons why this career path is so enticing. For one, you get to make your own schedule. But most of all it puts you in charge of your own destiny. As corny as that does sound, it’s one of the main reasons why people decide to make the leap. The thing many people don’t think about are the struggles freelancers and entrepreneurs face on a daily basis. These hurdles will ultimately make you more successful, but you need to be prepared to learn from them.
If you’re ready to become your own boss, here are five lessons you need to be prepared to learn.
You’re probably going to work much longer than nine to five
Time freedom, picking your own schedule, these are all aspects of freelancing that draw many of us in. The problem is there’s a misconception around how much time you actually need to put in.
In regards to your time, yes you do have more flexibility. You aren’t required to work a rigid schedule like that of a standard employee. However, the amount of time you put in will correlate to what you’ll get out. The point is, if you want to make the “solopreneur” lifestyle work for you it’s going to require a ton of work. When you add up all the hours worked during the nighttime, weekends, non-paid vacations, etc… you’ll probably exceed 40 hours per week by a large amount.
You need to emphasize daily exercise
Most freelancers and entrepreneurs getting started on their journey will most likely work from home. The great thing about heading into an office every day is it requires you to get up and get active, at least for your commute. Since many office employees are already heading out for the day to go to work, they often include a workout during one leg of the commute.
When you work from home every day it becomes easy to slip out of a workout routine. Not to mention, your fridge is probably just a few steps away from where you’re working. Because of this, a lot of freelancers struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If your daily routine doesn’t involve leaving the house to go to work, it’s easy to fall into this trap. One solution is to work out of a co-working space every day. Then you can easily factor in a workout either on your way to the space or on your way back home.
You need to be your own back-office
When you’re an employee of a company you’ve probably never had to worry about standard back office duties. You do the work you’re asked to do and collect a paycheck with taxes already deducted. If you’re a freelancer you’re most likely working for clients as an independent contractor. As an entrepreneur you have a whole mess of back office responsibilities to worry about. For now we can cover the basics.
Unlike employees, freelancers pay taxes quarterly or yearly. That means you need to be on top of your spending so you save enough money to pay your quarterly taxes. The best way to stay on top of your finances is to use digital payment solutions that track all accounts payable and receivable. Most of the solutions allow you to automatically set aside a percentage of your earnings for taxes. Then when it comes time to put together your tax reports, you don’t have to waste time sifting through bank statements.
You may not always be “doing what you love”
Taking the leap to start your own career as an entrepreneur or freelancer is often driven by passion. The passion to build something you care about, to do something you truly love and enjoy doing. This is the dream right?
The greatest thing about entrepreneurship is definitely being able to do what you love. The problem is that 95% of the time you won’t be doing things you necessarily love. When we celebrate the most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders we tend to only celebrate the victories. What people don’t see is the thousands of hours they spent grinding and struggling doing the trivial tasks that most people despise. What every entrepreneur needs to understand is that you won’t be doing what you love for the vast majority of the time. And that’s the sacrifice you need to take if you want to be successful.
You’re going to struggle financially
Building a sustainable business or sustainable income stream from solo work is far from easy. Sure there is the potential of a huge payout at the end of the road. But you need to understand that nine out of ten business fail, and the majority of freelancers struggle to make as much as standard employees. Especially when you’re just getting started you need to understand that you will struggle financially.
The best way to avoid going under is to be very frugal and save. After you’ve put some money away into savings, then you need to save some more. In addition you should put aside an emergency fund for yourself. General rule of thumb suggests you should have at least 6-months of “operating expenses” in your emergency fund. If you’re a freelancer, your operating expenses are your living expenses.
If you’re ready to become your own boss it’s important to recognize what you’re getting yourself into. And most of all, be prepared to learn the five lessons listed above.