The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Employed
When we tell peers, acquaintances, or random strangers about Coast to Coast Studio, the first question we always hear is, “Do you like working for yourself?”
For those of you who don’t know, the two of us had our fair share working in corporate America. When we were done with school, we both dove into careers and worked the ol’ nine to five. These jobs certainly had their perks! We were exposed to the industry we wanted to work in, we received the same predicted paycheck every two weeks, and we learned a boatload about client relations, marketing, and digital design. Yet somehow, we still dreaded Monday mornings, couldn’t picture ourselves there for a long period of time, and we felt like creativity was slowly draining out of our bodies. What gives?
Eventually, we ended up leaving our stable jobs and started Coast to Coast Studio shortly after (we’ll share how exactly our little graphic design studio was born in a future blog post.) So, how is being self-employed different from our past jobs? What are the joys and sorrows of working for yourself? In this blog, we’re going to go over the pros and cons of being self-employed.
Designing Your Own Work Environment
When we settled into our self-designed office, it was so much easier to get work done. Our favorite art was on the walls, the coffee pot was readily available for refills, and our design books were all lined up and ready to inspire us. Going into the office everyday is an absolute treat when you love the space you’ve created.
Choosing Which Clients to Work With
Have you ever worked a job where you had an unbearable client and there’s nothing you can do? We sure have. At Coast to Coast Studio, it’s so important that we are choosing clients that will result in a fruitful relationship for both parties. We feel lucky to have worked with so many wonderful, inspiring clients. It’s because we make it a priority to only take on projects that won’t completely stress us out and take away valuable time from our other clients.
Control Over Income
Is your boss not giving you a well-deserved raise? That won’t ever be a problem when you work for yourself. If you want a raise, put in those extra hours to find a few more clients or save up a portion of your income to give yourself a nice Christmas/Hanukkah bonus at the end of the year. You’re in complete control of how much you pay yourself.
Setting Your Own Schedule
Though we hardly ever want to dip out of a workday, we always have the opportunity to. When you’re self-employed, you have an unlimited amount of sick and mental health days. You also can shutdown your computer at 3 PM and head home if you’ve finished your work for the day! Setting your own schedule really gives you the freedom to live a purposeful life.
You Can Work From Anywhere
This may be the best perk of them all. We adore our office, but some days you just want to work from home with your dog in your pajamas OR you want to work beachside with your toes in the sand. The beauty of this digital age is the opportunity to work from anywhere. Traveling can be so difficult when you’re leaving your nine to five. When you’re self-employed, you can travel for longer, live in different places for a few months, or go into the office everyday. The choice is yours!
The Dreaded Self-Employment Taxes
Taxes are no joke. Taking control of your finances is vital when running your own business. Along with being graphic designers, we are spending a big chunk of our week accounting. Self-employment taxes are something you’ll want to prep for. With every paycheck, make sure to set aside a decent amount to prep for the joyous tax day. Also, find an accountant who likes beer – it makes going through a million invoices and receipts slightly more enjoyable.
Responsibility for All Problems Big or Small
Have a slow month? Did a client just hate everything you presented to them? You simply have to accept the fact that it’s probably your fault. When being faced with the issues of self-employment, the only thing you can do is to take all responsibility and develop a way to prevent the same thing from happening in the future. It’s never easy, but completely necessary.
Some Days Require Long Hours
Here at Coast to Coast Studio, we take deadlines extremely seriously. We pride ourselves on never missing deadlines, but that means working a few late nights or going into the office on the weekend. Instead of clocking out at five everyday, we will work until the project is complete. Usually, we stay on schedule which doesn’t require any overtime, but there are definitely times where we have to stay at the office until six or seven.
Where’s the Next Client?
This is the question every business owner asks themselves at one point or another. Even when we’re at our busiest, we still worry that we won’t have an upcoming project lined up for when we’re finished. It’s important that during our busy months, we’re prepping for the slower months that may come ahead. When slow times do arise, it’s a great time to refine your business, update your website, and set goals for the future.
One of the drawbacks of being self-employed is working out your own benefits. There are plenty of options for getting your own health insurance plan. If you’re younger and fairly healthy, a good option is to do a high deductible plan for major emergencies. Call a local health insurance agent to work out the best plan for you and your family!
For us, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. There’s really no better feeling than fully enjoying Sunday nights, instead of dreading the upcoming work week. If you’re loving your nine to five job and absolutely thriving, that’s fantastic, don’t change a thing! If your job is the bane of your existence, don’t be afraid to switch careers or make the leap into self-employment. Look out for our upcoming blog, where we go over some (not-so-easy) steps to get prepared to quit your job and start your own business.